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Project: format "War and Peace" on 8.5" X 5.5" double sided pages, using open source software, with a pdf submittal. The utf8 text is freely available to anyone, and no one can own sole publication rights, since that work falls into the public domain. The goal is take as few hours as possible, while making it look as good as possible. The pdf would include everything except the front and back cover of the book, all the inner pages in other words. (War and Peace is actually a Book of "books" rather than "parts" each with many chapters).

So, what manuals for compiler, class and other packages would be best to read up on, or would you skip LaTeX and use another open source tool? Images, Colors and Scientific Formula etc., are not allowed in the finished product.


I've read a few introductions to LaTeX and can quickly compile long books. War and Peace has a lot of narrative, and it's very quick to markup with LaTeX then compile into a pdf book. But the result isn't what I'm looking for when I try to use a minimal amount of introductory LaTeX.

The basic question at the top revolves around what classes, packages and/or compilers could be used. There will probably only be a few short answers, so I disagree with placing this question on hold. More folks than formatters of academic and scientific documents should be empowered to effectively use the full capability of LaTeX.

I've read lots of comments, but zero solutions. see below. Why? I feel that this question was marked on hold because it wasn't fielded for an academic or scientific work, and folks are certainly acting like I'm asking for their programming trade secretes.

marked as duplicate by Joseph Wright Oct 19 '16 at 20:01

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    I am a bit confused. Is that a real question? – Johannes_B Oct 18 '16 at 20:11
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    Is this a homework assignment? Not sure how you’re measuring the time we take or awarding grades, but you could take a look at the resources in tex.stackexchange.com/a/168756 – Thérèse Oct 19 '16 at 0:33
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    I assure you this has not been put on hold because of the content of the work you are typesetting. – cfr Oct 19 '16 at 1:11
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    Phrases like "the result isn't what I'm looking for" is presumably why this question is considered too broad and too vague. There is not -- as everyone knows -- only one way to typeset a novel or one 'way' that a novel looks. So what kind of advice do you expect to get? This seems like this question is composed of several (perhaps dozens) or smaller, discrete questions that would be perfectly suitable for this site --- about things like fonts, margins, headers, sectional divisions, TOCs, etc. (And, I'd bet many of them already exist here and have perfectly good answers.) – jon Oct 19 '16 at 2:39
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    There is 'push back' here because as it stands this is a vague and opinion-based question. You'd see the same for a thesis in mathematics except normally there will be some university rules we can eventually tease out: they tend to be objective if not particularly aesthetically-pleasing. Here, beyond \documentclass{book}\begin{document} <text here>\end{document} there really is nothing concrete to say: please break down specific technical problems into separate questions and ask them. – Joseph Wright Oct 19 '16 at 6:13


Just use PdfTeX: It's simplest and gives the best results.


Use scrbook: It's a KOMA-Script class that has a super detailed manual. It has many more features and options than the other classes.



You will need to add your unusual book dimension into the geometry options.


Choose a T1 type font for superior quality. Go to the LaTeX Font Catalog to find your favorite.


Use Unicode rather than ascii. Fiction has lots of dialog. It's better to use right and left quotation marks (Unicode) than the non-directional keyboard quotes (ascii) in a Novel.


This adds microtypography for quality formatting improvements.

\usepackage{setspace} \onehalfspacing 

A novel is better typeset in one and onehalfspacing so the text doesn't get crammed together too much. That makes for more enjoyable reading.


There will probably be words you want to add to the LaTeX hyphenate/don't hyphenate dictionary.


You will want to customize page headers, footers and more.

Also, check out these TeX examples from Project Gutenberg, where other novel classics have been formatted using LaTeX.

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    pdfTeX uses the PlainTeX format: is this really what you recommend? Or did you mean to recommend using pdfLaTeX? (By the way, I'm not the downvoter.) – Mico Oct 18 '16 at 21:31
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    The compiler pdftex will use the pdfTeX engine with the format plain. The compiler pdflatex will use the same engine with the format latex. Why do you recommend a KOMA class and then suggest using geometry? If you are really typesetting the original work, T1 is a quite unsuitable encoding. – cfr Oct 19 '16 at 1:08
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    Because the question is: Can somebody help me build a motor vehicle that looks like a car? An answer to that questioin will be used and needs to be awareded, by more than rep. – Johannes_B Oct 19 '16 at 6:06
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    There are professional typesetting services available. – Johannes_B Oct 19 '16 at 6:06
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    @user12711 perhaps you should look at my answer to the referenced question on top of this page. – texnezio Oct 19 '16 at 20:22

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