22

I'd like to use LaTeX to typeset a novel. Could you recommend me any template?

What I mean is a template (some .tex file) where I can include my chapterN.tex files (mainly plain text) and get a pretty good design with zero work :)

closed as primarily opinion-based by Mensch, Stefan Pinnow, Zarko, Andrew, Maarten Dhondt Oct 21 '16 at 5:16

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  • 2
    I'm not sure there is a lot to say here. A novel is not something that will need a lot of specialist structure, but will need some layout adjustments compared to the LaTeX defaults. However, I'd imagine you'd want to have the ability to alter those anyway, template or no template. – Joseph Wright Aug 13 '12 at 7:50
  • 1
    Yes, it would be a very simple template indeed. Does such a simple template for novels exist in LaTeX? – user12711 Feb 9 '15 at 4:05
  • 1
  • 1
    You may get ideas from pmonta.com/etext – Thérèse Feb 19 '16 at 19:05
19

Try the memoir class. Give the comprehensive manual a close review.

  • 5
    And also take a look at (PDFs) A Few Notes on Book Design and Some Examples of Title Pages, from the same author. I think you'll find memoir a fantastic tool, well worth your investment in learning. – Brent.Longborough Aug 13 '12 at 7:53
  • What I mean with a template is some .tex file where I can include my chapterN.tex files (mainly plain text) and get a preatty good desing with zero work :) – Juanjo Conti Aug 14 '12 at 2:17
4

This LaTeX template is for typesetting a novel or narrative. It will be most useful to folks new to LaTeX, not the regular academics or scientists who already use it regularly. Notice the overall structure and the input statements that direct LaTeX to associated chapter files, which can be typed up separately. (It's best to pay special attention to organization with long novels)

Until you're ready to actually use the template, Add this to the preamble for testing purposes, to generate dummy text rather than empty chapter.tex files: \usepackage{babel,blindtext} and then comment out the \input statements and replacing with \blindtext for a short dummy text, or \Blindtext for longer dummy text.

In addition to \input statements for chapters, it also has inputs for dedication page, a copyright page, a foreward, a prologue (just add others you may need) and it includes a table of contents, any of which can be easily commented out with a % when unnecessary.

%
%
%   SIMPLE NOVEL TEMPLATE for LaTeX
%
%
%
   \documentclass{book}
%   
\author{Your Name} \title{Your Novel} \date{YourDate}
%
%
%
%
%
%                     % end preamble
   \begin{document}   % start document
%
%   
%
   \frontmatter       % the front of the book has roman numerals
%
\input{copyright}\clearpage   % type up a copyright.tex file if necessary
%
\input{dedication}\clearpage  % type up a .tex file if necessary
%
\chapter*{Foreword}           % \chapter* (* excludes from Contents)
\input{Foreword}\clearpage    % type a Foreward.tex file if necessary
%
\chapter*{Prologe}
\input{Prologe}\clearpage     % type a Prologe.tex file if you like
%
\maketitle\tableofcontents    % generates a titlepage and Contents
%
%
%
   \mainmatter        % the main part of the book will have standard pages
%
%   
   \part{Book One etc.}       % comment this out as necessary
%   
\chapter{Hello}
\input{chapter01}     % type a chapter01.tex etc.
%
\chapter{Hello}
\input{chapter02}     % type a chapter01.tex etc.
%
\chapter{Hello}
\input{chapter03}     % type a chapter01.tex etc.
%
%
   \part{Book Two etc.}       % comment this out as necessary
%
\chapter{Hello}
\input{chapter04}     % type a chapter01.tex etc.
%
\chapter{Hello}
\input{chapter05}     % type a chapter01.tex etc.
%
\chapter{Hello}
\input{chapter06}     % type a chapter01.tex etc.
%
%
%
%
   \end{document}
%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
% options: move these to the preamble if desired   %
%
\usepackage{microtype} % use this to improve typography
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc} \usepackage{XCharter} % fully featured font set
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} % enable unicode quotation marks for dialog
\usepackage{hyphenat}\hyphenation{my-word, hyphen-ate, never, hyphen} 
\usepackage{setspace}\onehalfspacing\frenchspacing\flushbottom\sloppy
\includeonly{file,file,etc}% \input can be replaced with \include. 
%                          % However it adds a page break. \include adds
%                          % to the useful ability of \includeonly, which
%                          % if placed in the preamble will generate a
%                          % correctly page numbered pdf, but with only
%                          % the files listed in \includeonly. That may
%                          % useful for testing only specific files.  
%
% google ``ctan novel'' for more packages that might add flare
  • 1
    I would also add a foreword that can be commented out. – Johannes_B Oct 20 '16 at 17:41
  • Okay, I just got that added in. – user12711 Oct 20 '16 at 17:58
  • 2
    Perhaps you should add that you prefer \input instead of \include as to avoid unwanted page breaks. – erreka Oct 20 '16 at 18:50
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    See the other answer, too, about the memoir class. It includes many built-in features that might be helpful: e.g., various ways to put 'breaks' in the text besides the typical sectioning commands; better support for headers and footers; etc. – jon Oct 20 '16 at 22:02
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    There should be only one valid manual, and it is the one on your machine. If you update your system, you will get a new manual matching the versioin on your machine. – Johannes_B Oct 21 '16 at 6:15
3

You can redefine any macro any way you want after reading some basic material. The template needs LaTeX (or TeX). The end user does not. But that is a matter of parsing text, a converter or a template generator.

\documentclass{book}
\renewcommand{\chapter}[1]{\clearpage\begin{quote}\centering\fontsize{17}{20}\bfseries#1\end{quote}\vspace{3\baselineskip}}
\usepackage{blindtext}
\begin{document}
\chapter{Walter Wombat's morning}
\blindtext[10]
\end{document}
3

There aren't any popular templates circulating around for writing a novel in LaTeX. I wish there was one for say CreateSpace submittal 8" x 5" and 9" x 6" formats. And similar ones for Lulu, for self-publishers.

But, I'm still using LaTeX (LyX) for composing my first novel, because I agree with your points.

Basically, to adjust your default settings in LyX so that it's tuned for a Novel output. Do the following...

  1. Before anything else, go to the main menu DOCUMENT > SETTINGS > [Document Class] and apply one of three Book Classes, either BOOK, BOOK KOMA-SCRIPT or BOOK MEMOIR

  2. DOCUMENT > SETTINGS > [page layout] and select CUSTOM, then 8 x 5 (or whatever your page dimension is) Also, adjust the Heading Style to FANCY from the dropdown. This provides page numbering at the bottom and Chapter headers at the top of every page.

  3. DOCUMENT > SETTINGS > [page margins] these settings looks great: TOP[0.75] / BOTTOM[0.6] / INNER[0.75] / OUTER[0.3] / HEAD SEP[0.25] / HEAD HEIGHT[0.25] / FOOT SKIP[0.4] you should know that INNER is the margin of the page where the book is bound to the book binding, and OUTER is the margin on the outside of a books page, where you pick the page to turn it.

  4. DOCUMENT > SETTINGS > [Numbering and TOC] Make adjustments to the numbering of Parts, Chapters and Sections, or lack of them, in the Table of Contents (LaTeX does not have "Scenes or Clips that novel writers may be use to)

  5. DOCUMENT > SETTINGS > [PDF Properties] [x] Use Hyperref Support (check this box so that your LaTeX generated TOC has hyperlinks to the chapters, if you choose to have a TOC. [ This is useful to export you novel into HTML format for quick and painless ebook (ePub) conversion, which can be submitted for Amazon Kindle submittals, for instance. ] ALSO, though they disappear in print, you aren't going to want the default red boxes around your hyperlinked Table of contents in your eBook, so remove those and add a nice blue text hyperlinks as follows: DOCUMENT> SETTINGS>[PDF Properties] go to the [Hyperlinks] tab and check these boxes: [x] No Frames around Links / [x] Color Links / Then finally under "Additional Options" type in this command "linkcolor=blue" (the default will come out as Red Text unless you change it here)

  6. DOCUMENT > SETTINGS > [LaTeX Preamble] and add the following LaTeX code.

    \pdfminorversion=4  %This adjusts pdfTeX output to pdf v1.4, for CreateSpace
    \usepackage{microtype} %This vastly improves right justification
    \usepackage{garamondx} %Garamond has become a novel writing font standard
    

Note, you will have to google and download the GetNoneFreeFonts linux command program to download and install the Garamond font. Otherwise, adjust your font to one you like, other than Computer Modern, under DOCUMENT > SETTINGS > [fonts] Make sure you don't leave it at [default] font, because that's usually Computer Modern. Also, you should know that if you want to use a Garamond font, that LaTeX Preamble command to load Garamondx will override your font selection under the other settings.

  • 1
    Many users here are unfamiliar with LyX. It might be better to post all of these settings in LaTeX code, i.e. it is easier to understand:\usepackage{hyperref} than 'DOCUMENT> SETTINGS>[PDF Properties] [x]Use Hyperref Support' – onewhaleid Feb 10 '15 at 3:30
  • I agree, but I don't have a LaTeX Template to offer, instead, if someone were to tackle a novel, I believe LyX would be the LaTeX interface of choice. Using LyX they'd manually select certain options under the Documents\Settings menu, but for unavailable options they'd add LaTeX code directly in the Documents\Settings\Preemble menu. Anyone that wants to tackle LyX should have a basic understanding of LaTeX code. The just need to understand the format, and that it uses Packages of additional TeX software to get the whole job done. thankfully with LyX you don't have remember the command names – user12711 Feb 10 '15 at 22:32
  • Shouldn't you \usepackage{garamondx} before \usepackage{microtype} ? Because that way when microtype is loaded it knowns about what fonts look like? I know for my current project in Lualatex, with times it has to be in the order: \usepackage{fontspec} \usepackage{times} \usepackage{microtype} or lines will over protrude – Lyndon White Mar 2 '16 at 4:16
  • @Oxinabox No. It should not matter. microtype now uses hooks to postpone code to the beginning of the document. However the order of fontspec and times would make a difference. times is, however, deprecated and ought not be used. (And why load fontspec in this case?) – cfr Oct 19 '16 at 22:57
3

In this case, LyX/LaTeX seems to me an overkill. I'd rather use Plain PDFTeX with the following “preamble”, for example:

\input plnfss % using Plain NFSS 
\usefont{LY1}{ppl}{m}{n} % and setting Palatino in texnansi encoding as the main font
\pdfpagewidth=5.5 true in \pdfpageheight=8.5 true in % adjust as necessary
\textwidth=3.5 true in \textheight=6.5 true in % idem: 1 in margins everywhere
\hoffset=0 true in \voffset=0 true in % adjust to make margins
\uselanguage{spanish} % assuming your format includes etex.src and language.def
                      % with spanish hyphenation patterns preloaded

\textbf{Capítulo 1} % plnfss commands are now available

En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no me puedo acordar...

\bye

Make sure to set your source file encoding to Win1252/ISOLatin1, to make the text and font encoding coincide.

  • Sharp! So this is "plain TeX"? – user12711 Oct 19 '16 at 22:19
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    microtype requires latex, doesn't it? Surely that is reason enough not to use plain, especially with a narrow text block of the kind usually found in novels. – cfr Oct 19 '16 at 23:00
  • 1
    Yes, but you write here and in your other answer as though there is no reason to prefer latex to plain for a novel. I am suggesting that's not the case if you use a microtype-compatible engine. Of course, this isn't the only reason, but I would consider it an extremely important one. It is not overkill if you want the result to look as good as possible because that requires microtypography which, as far as I know, is not readily accessible in plain. – cfr Oct 19 '16 at 23:06
  • @cfr In the same vein, I deem microtype as yet another overkill. But I'll add that package to the LaTeX answer, per your suggestion. – erreka Oct 19 '16 at 23:39
  • 3
    That strikes me as perverse. I can't understand saying you don't care, but it can hardly be properly called 'overkill' when it provides typographic enhancements and functionality not otherwise available. Unless, of course, you implement it yourself in plain. You may not care about the difference or may think it not worth the overhead or something, but I don't see how it can be 'overkill'. – cfr Oct 20 '16 at 0:24
2

Try the following template for your draft, if you insist in using LaTeX:

\documentclass[twoside,openright]{report}
\usepackage[margin=1in]{geometry}
\pagestyle{myheadings}
\markboth{A. N. Author}{My Novella}
\usepackage{setspace}\onehalfspacing
\usepackage{texilikechaps}
\begin{document}
\part{First Part}
\chapter{Here we go}
\part*{Second Part}
\chapter*{Once again}
\end{document}

You should season this template with calls to inputenc, fontenc (pdfLaTeX) or fontspec (XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX) as needed, depending on your input and font encodings and your typesetting engine; and you may probably need to adjust the paper size in geometry by stating, e.g. \usepackage{margin=1cm, papersize={12cm,19cm}]{geometry}.

Remember to use the starred versions \part* and \chapter* if you don't want numbers in your draft.

You may need another class and/or more packages (microtype, for instance) if you want to typeset the draft into its final form. But that's book design, not literature.

  • The "texilikechaps" package appears to be a hidden gem for novel writers. Curious though, why are we using "report" class rather than "book" class? – user12711 Oct 20 '16 at 3:34
  • 1
    you may use book if you need \frontmatter and \backmatter. The rest is roughly the same as report. – erreka Oct 20 '16 at 18:43

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