Considering that the user wouldn't likely have equations, glossary, index, bibliography or double columns (but would perhaps need insets for monologues), and considering the popular novel formats of the best sellers, what are the chief advantages of using Memoir Class over the standard book class in LaTeX.

I'm considering the following (please correct me if I'm wrong)

  • No need to use Geometry for standard Novel Dimensions (about 8.5in X 5.5in)
  • More fonts to choose from
  • More customization of the Table of Contents
  • More ability to have unnumbered, untitled sections within Chapters, known as "Scenes"
  • 4
    the standard book class is styled very much for a computer science or other technical environment. (there's even sentiment that is isn't really appropriate for straight math.) memoir is much more flexible in its ability to "look like" a novel, and shouldn't need as much adjustment as book would to keep from screaming "technical textbook". Sep 26, 2013 at 16:33
  • 1
    In its current form as you are more or less answering your question yourself it is quite unclear what exactly you are asking of hoping to find. Sep 26, 2013 at 20:16
  • I'm trying to not spend extra time learning something that turns out to be unnecessary for me. I wasn't entirely convinced that memoir was worth effort for a novel. I figured that Geometry could create the proper dimensions I want and that everything else would look artistic enough for a novel, rather than a manual. I thinking that memoir is worth the time investment, but still have a lot of learning left, and the fear that afterwards someone would say, "but you could have just done all that with the standard book class" And so, an alternate question is "Is memoir better for a novel?"
    – user12711
    Sep 26, 2013 at 21:11

3 Answers 3


memoir is better for this sort of thing insofar as it has a lot of built-in stuff that a novel(ist) might want to make use of. Some of the more obvious things in addition to your list:

  • 'plain' and 'fancy' anonymous text breaks (ch. 6);
  • facilities for styling quotations (ch. 8);
  • facilities for changing margins for stretches of text (ch. 8)
  • a different assortment of 'page' notes: \sidenote, \sidebars, \sidefootnotes (ch. 12);
  • epigraphs (ch. 13);
  • various facilities for styling poetry (ch. 14);
  • 'editing' markup (ch. 18);
  • and, most importantly: the class provides many 'hooks' for you to access the class commands and make minor adjustments to them without needing to reinvent the wheel.

Now, you don't need memoir to do any of this, but using a feature-rich class like this makes it easier to do most of these things unless you already know the equivalent packages and their commands. And since memoir incorporates many of these packages anyway (and were initially written by the same person), the gain is not always there to be had. (The same is true of the KOMA-Script universe, but it was designed with different principles in mind; you really need to pick one or the other for a given project.)

In my experience, memoir can just about do it all, which makes it very convenient. That said, however, you may find that you prefer to use some particular package to the built-in commands memoir provides. (E.g., I sometimes use geometry in this way; and I often load enumitem if I'm using any lists.) You can do this, of course: if you couldn't, memoir would not be nearly so popular. In fact, if you'd rather use one of the packages the class emulates (or need to fix some kind of package option clash), you can use the command:

\DisemulatePackage{<package name>}
\usepackage{<package name>}%
% an example can be seen here:
% http://tex.stackexchange.com/a/134913/8528

But this is likely to be a very rare problem. I myself have never had to worry about it, and I use memoir much more than any other class.


For me the time is most crucial. With Memoir I can do things quicker and somehow easier. Memoir is intuitive to use.


I have recently placed a new document class on GitHub, specifically designed for the needs of printed fiction (as with print-on-demand). Its name is novel. Not yet on CTAN at the time I write this. If you are comfortable with manually installing LaTeX files in your local document tree, you can try it.

It does not do more than memoir. Actually, it does less, by design.

It comes with detailed documentation, and a demonstration file.

Link: https://github.com/rallg/novel

EDIT: The novel document class is now on CTAN. Get version 1.0.6 or later.

Link: https://ctan.org/pkg/novel

  • It would be useful to say why you wrote novel. When should one prefer it over memoir?
    – divenex
    May 5, 2023 at 9:27
  • 1
    Actually, novel was uploaded to CTAN not long after I wrote the above answer. It has been part of TeXlive for years now. Why I did it: The novel class is directed toward writers of novels, such as myself. I have used it for that purpose. So have others. Its documentation is written using "writing terms" wherever possible, instead of "TeX terms". Also, it is pre-configured for a standard 5.5inX8.5in softcover novel, using print on demand technology. Note: I was "user103221" years ago.
    – user287367
    May 5, 2023 at 16:50

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