Ghostwriter Tips — The Indent

In wading through the rules and conventions of English, you might find that ghostwriter tips come in handy. For instance, a “paragraph indenting debate” is ongoing regarding when and when not to indent.

Have you noticed that first paragraphs under chapter headings (and other headings) often start with an un-indented paragraph? How do you feel about that? We’ve been taught from childhood onward that paragraphs are indented (a rule), so you may wonder why it’s ignored at times.

To Indent or Not to Indent

Ghostwriter Tips

Indented paragraphs denote a new thought, statement, or part of the story. The indent indicates a transition that propels your content forward. However…the indent isn’t needed in the first paragraph under a chapter title. Why? Because it is the very first thought or piece of content in that section.

BUT, some choose to indent paragraphs after scene breaks (***) and other areas. Is that recommended? According to the Chicago Manual of Style, yes, although it is a convention rather than a rule.

Thus, “Authors can follow the convention for published works in their manuscripts, but they don’t have to. Decisions about indents and other matters of layout are usually up to a book designer or other design professional.”

Ghostwriter Tips that Help Authors

A professional ghostwriter should be highly trained in both the rules and conventions of English. Ghostwriters can make suggestions about whether to indent or not, but will normally defer to their author clients when there is an option.

For example, an author client may not want un-indented paragraphs after scene breaks (and I agree). They may feel that unindented paragraphs are jarring from the reader’s perspective and look like an unintentional oversight (true). After all, we’ve been raised to recognize paragraphs by the indenting, right?

If you self-publish, your book formatter will follow your instructions about whatever indenting conventions (and rules) you choose to use.

In the meantime, feel free to reach out regarding questions you might have about your own book project. Whether you need editing or a book written from scratch, I’m here for you!