Now we’re moving on to Section Breaks, which are an important part of ensuring that your document will be well formatted. If you are at all familiar with Headers and Footers, you are aware that there are a couple of options available to you. You can make all headers and all footers the same; you can create different odd and even page headers and footers, and you can create different first page headers. All of these come into play in correctly formatting a fiction novel for print publication. And the trick to making them work is to use section breaks.
For example, on the first page of a chapter, you don’t want a header. Likewise you don’t want headers showing on the front and back matter pages. In order to prevent this, each page of your front and back matter needs to be a new section. And likewise, each chapter must be the start of a new section.
So then, after you have all your Front Matter created and you’re happy with the layout, go to Page Layout, and choose Breaks in the Page Setup Group, and then choose the type of break you want at the end of each page of your front and back matter. If there are two pages that flow together, simply choose a “Continuous” break or “Next Page” break at the bottom of the first page. If each of your pages contains material that is not continued from a previous page, and you are not looking for a blank left page with text starting on an odd page on the right, then you can insert a Break “Next Page”, or Break “Even Page”. Whatever works for the layout you want.
Please keep in mind, however, that your title page should ALWAYS show on the right-hand or odd page. Therefore, the page before your title page should end with an “Odd Page” break inserted at the bottom of it. That will force MS Word to start the title page on an odd page.
Now that you have completed inserting section breaks in your front and back matter, you will, likewise, end each chapter of your novel with a section break “Odd Page”, so that each succeeding chapter ALWAYS begins on an odd page. This will make formatting headers easier as we move on.
So, once again, to insert your breaks, place your cursor just before the last Paragraph Mark on the page before the first page of a chapter. Click on the Page Layout Tab at the top of the screen. In the Page Setup Group of icons, choose the down arrow beside Breaks. Select the very bottom entry in the Section Breaks section of the menu: “Odd Page”. Be aware that if MS Word has to skip a page to start your chapter on an odd page, you won’t see the blank page on the screen, but when printing or converting to PDF the blank page will be there.
After you have gone through your manuscript ensuring that each chapter will begin on an odd page, you have completed your section breaks. I’ll see you next time to discuss headers and footers.
Have a wonderful day and good luck with your novel formatting.
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