Is there a class for typesetting novels? I know it's trivial to you, but I really need one.

  • 1
    For that, you don't even need a complex format, let alone class.
    – morbusg
    Sep 22, 2012 at 9:58
  • 9
    what features are you looking for?
    – mythealias
    Sep 22, 2012 at 10:03
  • 2
    Your question is a little broad and unspecific. Maybe you can elaborate on what you are looking for. Publishing ready, manuscript for priting house, e-book, your genre (you need different layout for a love story and scifi), etc.
    – Sveinung
    Sep 22, 2012 at 10:52
  • Historical, with a few sci-fi elements. Told in the form of a diary.
    – rake
    Sep 22, 2012 at 11:33
  • If you're planning on sending it to a publisher or literary agent you'll need to format it as a manuscript, in which case you'll need a class like sffms. Sep 5, 2013 at 14:30

3 Answers 3


I would say that all features you need for writing novels are included in the good book classes, like KOMA-Script scrbook or memoir. Both of these are great classes with a lot of people using them. They are made to produce books and novel is just one kind of a book.


August 2021 UPDATE -- The TexLive and MikeTeX distributions now have a novel.cls aimed at typesetting novels with popular commercial dimensions, margins and other modern esthetics, and the pdf will be capable of being printed by several popular print on demand services, and the free default and recommended fonts have been researched to be among the fonts with the most generous usage rights. In other words, when this class is used, your typeset pdf will look more similar to other novels for sale by retailers.

original post: 2018 YES, there are classes to use for writing novels, as mentioned. BUT, a huge problem for Novel writers to overcome, with LaTeX, isn't that there "isn't a class available for Novels"-- rather, since most of the users are technical writers (academics, scientists, or graduate students, professional manual writers etc.) who are using LaTeX for much more complex Typesetting tasks--therefore, whenever we look for templates, classes etc., for Fiction or Novels, we frequently come up empty handed, and find information about how to place formula, multi-columns, diagrams, charts, complex section and sub-section numbering into long technical manuals, and that is a Huge problem for non-technical persons wanting to use the system.

LaTeX users have geared their documentation towards Equations, or Numbered Section Headings, with technical looking Chapter Titles, that WOULD NOT be used in Fiction. And so, you just have to adjust things to look pleasant and soothing, with unnumbered sectioning, perhaps with an outline of Parts first, then Chapters, and then Scene Separators (if its a long Novel), and perhaps with a secondary font for insets, for instance if a character writes a poem within the novel, all with soothing or nostalgic looking Titles and Section Headers, NOT LIKE CHEMISTRY MANUAL, and perhaps some scene separator symbols.

It's a matter of taking a complex class like Memoir, reading through the long manuals, and just weeding out what you need, to do these simple things. No, I haven't yet found a class or even a .tex template specifically for a Novel, but I wish a user would create one. This IS SOMETHING the LaTeX community needs, and it hasn't been done, only because all the necessary ingredients are already within the other available classes.

To Technical Writers interested in this topic: A Novel Template for LaTeX would be used to Typeset for Self-Publication, not a submittal to an editor, agent or publishing house. A publishing house doesn't expect typesetting at all, just the .doc. with plain double spaced lines, and plain fonts everywhere (anything fancy or typeset is rejected). Imagine a typewriter printout, and there really isn't any need to use LaTeX for that.

eBooks: the proper eBook format to focus on is ePub or Mobi, not pdf. pdf ebooks are only useful for folks reading on laptops or computers, not Kindles or Nook dedicated ebook readers. You would convert your LaTeX novel to ePub AND Mobi (and pdf from print form). For the ePub and Mobi formats you would use Calibre software for conversion. This article below suggests LaTeX is the only way to go for books, and discusses the conversion process from LaTeX to ePub and Mobi ebook formats. http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/latex-lyx-e-books.html

The short answer is, take the LaTeX Club, and whittle it down into the pencil you need. And then save your book as a template, and share that with others on the internet as vocally as possible.

  • 1
    Ideally, LaTeX would have a standard class called "novel." It would work like the Book class except that it's defaults would typeset a novel: paper size would be a novel size, maybe 6X9" or 5.5X8.5" (rather than textbook size). Section headings would generate Parts, Chapters and SCENES with a literary look. BUT, since LaTeX was designed for academia, we just use its academic classes and implement options and load lots of packages ... to get LaTeX to typeset very very very simple things, which it's not accustomed to doing.
    – user12711
    Mar 20, 2016 at 17:43

Some standard document class as book or memoir are enough to write a good novel. If you are looking for some special style then you will need to customize with some packages (or may be several). Showcase of beautiful typography done in TeX & friends as well as The TeX showcase are good starting points to obtain ideas about it, but I am afraid that you will need to deeply explore CTAN and tex.stackexchange.com to find your own style.

This is not as difficult as sounds. If is easy to find specific list of packages in CTAN by key words, for example, to handle typographical edition of dramatic works (stage plays, screenplays, dialogues in prose and verse with acts and scenes, etc.) or quotations and poetry, lettrines (dropped initial letters), etc.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.