I am wondering if one can use TeX/LaTeX to typeset a full-fledged fiction book i.e. a prose, literature (not poetry) e.g. if Conan Doyle wished to write his Sherlock using TeX, what would you have in mind for him? Is TeX even right for writing a book (non-mathematical, I repeat)? I have used TeX and still am using for Math, Physics and Economics to produce articles, monograph and theses but never a fiction/literature book. Naturally, I want to have a ready-to-go template adapted for the leading world publishers style, requirements etc.

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    You should look into using the memoir document class. Its motto is, "Typeset fiction, non-fiction and mathematical books".
    – Mico
    May 25, 2015 at 11:17
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    I downloaded it but the template looked, again, more suitable for scientific needs rather than typesetting a book. I was wondering if there is a package specifically for writing fiction in the same vein as disser or thesis packages are good for writing a phd paper.
    – Loran
    May 25, 2015 at 11:20
  • One example of what you are probably looking for: tex.stackexchange.com/a/60259/6518. May 25, 2015 at 11:21
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    There are a great many parameters that no template will be able to choose for you in any meaningful sort of way. Among these parameters are the page dimensions, the dimensions of the text block, and the main font family and weight. Once you've chosen them, memoir will do just fine.
    – Mico
    May 25, 2015 at 11:24
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    Thanks everyone, I'll examine all and post If I still have questions or what I found most suitable. It just feels exhilarating to know there are so many of you who responded so quickly! Very grateful!
    – Loran
    May 25, 2015 at 11:33

1 Answer 1


As mentioned in many of the comment, fiction books are usually much simpler than technical books. When I've typeset novels, I've normally used the book class and tweaked it with some new sectioning commands, then called it a day. How much redefining you need to do will depend on what kind of novel you want to write; are we talking about a longer novel, with several parts (say, The Stand), or a typical sci-fi paperback (say, Snow Crash)? Named chapters, or merely numbered? (I typeset one where each chapter was a different date, so the headings here were a bit more complicated.) In the simplest case, you can do something like this:

    \addcontentsline{toc}{chapter}{Chapter \thechapter}%
    \vskip3em plus1em minus1em%
    \hbox to\linewidth{%
        \Huge\scshape Chapter \thechapter%
    \penalty10000\vskip3em plus1em minus1em%
    \vskip2em plus0.5em minus0.5em%
    \hbox to\linewidth{\hfil*\quad\quad*\quad\quad*\hfil}%
    \penalty10000\vskip2em plus0.5em minus0.5em%


This will give you the fiction-looking following (plus a not-very-fictiony TOC at the top, just to show that it works):

Spread of novel-like typsetting.

The problem with writing a "fiction" class is that, although the typesetting is typically much simpler than (say) an algebra textbook, the variation in fiction typesetting is huge. For one thing, when we say "fiction," do we mean short-stories, novellas, novels, trilogies? Do we want named chapters or only numbered? Both? What kind of section separators do we want? And so forth. At that point, we might as well just have a book or memoir class and trim it down.

As for publishers, I think one of the commenters already mentioned it: they just want very basic double-spaced type without much formatting. There are already classes to give this very basic appearance; e.g., manuscript (though that might get even more bare-bones than a publisher wants).

I hope this helps at least a little.

  • I'm glad. If it was helpful, or even answered your question, would you consider upvoting (the up arrow by the top of the question) or accepting (the checkmark just below it) it? That's the preferred way to say thanks or to affirm an answer's usefulness in our community. May 25, 2015 at 13:45
  • I have around 1000 pages written on MS Word. Most body of work is arranged in Parts (5 to 7 parts), which consist of Chapters (I need both named and numbered chapters). I also have a large collection of manuscripts on separate word files, which I also want to incorporate, preferably into a single .tex file or package. When I wrote my last dissertation I used .disser class, broke my chapters into separate .tex files and defined chapters and sections using \chapter{} and \section{} with labels also using hyperlinks. I love TeX and I basically want to gather my work into a unified TeX document as
    – Loran
    May 25, 2015 at 13:46
  • as having loads of Word documents makes it harder to edit my work (it is largely finished and I need to “bind it up” now). I am looking for something of this sort to satisfy the following: 1) allow easy navigation e.g. clickable TOC and other possible useful features 2) look maximally as a “venerable book” 3) allow easily change the sizes, fonts and other such technical issues as I haven’t yet approached a publisher and I want to “clean it up” and “bind it” into a really fancy book first
    – Loran
    May 25, 2015 at 13:47
  • 4) I would like the book show the name of each chapter above the relevant page + general numeration 5) Each chapter will have an epigraph tiled up in the right upper corner in form of a small verse (with stanzas) so I’d also want some style to enable this
    – Loran
    May 25, 2015 at 13:48
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    book (with packages) or memoir (without) will do all of that. It will be much easier than rolling your own styles. May 25, 2015 at 13:49

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