Re: Is it tradition to not use indents in your paragraphs here?

#1
At first, I've tried putting indentations at the start of every paragraph I had. But royalroad kind of resets that once I upload the chapter, so I have to edit it again and add the indents a second time. Only after "editing the uploaded chapter" does the margin appear on the paragraphs.


I've noticed from everyone else's stories that they don't bother putting any spaces on the paragraphs (reading from mobile). Is this a waste of time? Am I supposed to not add five spaces before the first letter of every paragraph?

Re: Is it tradition to not use indents in your paragraphs here?

#3
The use of a tab or full return between paragraphs is more of a digital vs. print thing than it is a Royal Road thing. You'll probably see the same thing on other fiction sites, message boards, etc.

Traditionally, print books have used tabs to indicate paragraphs because it saves on paper. Then devices like Kindle have continued this trend because people are used to it.

Websites obviously don't need to worry about this though, so we tend to write fiction the same way we would write an email or a blog post. There are also differences in the way our eyes perceive words on a screen vs. paper, and most people find a full return easier to read on a screen. (Sort of like how we use sans-serif fonts online, but serif fonts in books.)

So yeah, most of your readers would probably prefer a full return to represent paragraphs as opposed to tabs/indents! :)

(Source: I majored in Graphic Design in college and had several typography classes)

Re: Is it tradition to not use indents in your paragraphs here?

#5

David Wrote: The use of a tab or full return between paragraphs is more of a digital vs. print thing than it is a Royal Road thing. You'll probably see the same thing on other fiction sites, message boards, etc.
Yes. So I have learned. Technically speaking though, isn't a half of a full return more common than an entire full return in digital media? Like, six points of space between paragraphs if you are using a 12 point font.


It is the norm for legal briefs, I am told. And on a Word document, a full carriage return between paragraphs really sucks up how much of a story you can see at one time when you are writing, especially when dialogue is being used.  🤩

Re: Is it tradition to not use indents in your paragraphs here?

#6

ArDeeBurger Wrote:
David Wrote: The use of a tab or full return between paragraphs is more of a digital vs. print thing than it is a Royal Road thing. You'll probably see the same thing on other fiction sites, message boards, etc.
Yes. So I have learned. Technically speaking though, isn't a half of a full return more common than an entire full return in digital media? Like, six poins of space between paragraphs if you are using a 12 point font.


It is the norm for legal briefs, I am told. And on a Word document, a full carriage return between paragraphs really sucks up how much of a story you can see at one tme when you are writing, especially when dialogue is being used.  🤩


Yeah, I was definitely simplifying the post when I said 'full return' because that's what applies specifically to RR. There are plenty of different contexts and style guides that use different spacing. :)

Re: Is it tradition to not use indents in your paragraphs here?

#8
Well usually the choice in print is either / or. Some printed formats do not indent, but instead add a blank line between paragraphs, while formally, manuscript format requires indents at the initiation of a paragraph, but no extra lines between Paragraphs. (there are other differences, such as double spacing requirements for manuscript format, and specific margins.)  Usually these features want to be set up in the word processors paragraph style section, not added by using tabs or extra spaces, something most submission requirements by publishers will demand.  Its likely that no indent, blank line between paragraphs style is the default style used on RR.

Re: Is it tradition to not use indents in your paragraphs here?

#9

Tenori Wrote: Am I supposed to not add five spaces before the first letter of every paragraph?
I'm pretty sure this is something that English teachers insist on, and the norm for any paper submitted from first grade till the last year of college.

But we aren't English teachers, so we can call it as it is: FORMATTING PREFERENCE.
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. If you want to add five spaces, go right ahead! I prefer two spaces. Some people prefer none, and double-space between paragraphs. Some people add spaces before paragraphs AND double-space between them. Some people have two spaces after the end of every sentence, and some people have one. It's just formatting.
It's all in your preference, but the tl;dr is, as long as the reader can figure out where one paragraph ends and the next one begins, it doesn't really matter what you do.

Re: Is it tradition to not use indents in your paragraphs here?

#10
It's a formatting issue at least for me.

Believe me, I would like for the indents to show up, however, when performing a  copy-paste they are lost because first I copy into in Wordpress and take that copy to paste into RR writer. It keeps issues with format minimal doing that way than if I did so straight from the program I'm using. Indents don't show up in wordpress. So if they don't show up there, I'm not going to bother indenting here. So don't worry about it.

Re: Is it tradition to not use indents in your paragraphs here?

#11
Eliminating indentation was part of the original specification when the world wide web was first created. All whitespace, by default, is compressed to a single space. You have to use special formatting to get more whitespace than that. If the RR text editor allows you to create an indent via a tab or via multiple spaces, then it must be adding that special formatting for you--something that your original text editor wouldn't have known to do, which is why the indents didn't show up when you copied and pasted them.

Basically, indents are not standard on web sites at all. Though, of course, you may run into the occasional web site that wants to do its own thing.

Regardless of how you want it to appear, you shouldn't add manual indents while you're writing, nor should you add extra carriage returns between paragraphs. That sort of formatting should always be controlled by whatever you're using to edit your text, e.g., Scrivener or Word or whatever. If you want your own writing tool to display indents, set it to automatically format the paragraphs as if they were indented, but don't add the indents in yourself. Then, when it's time to create an ebook or submit a manuscript, you simply change the formatting to match what you need. If you have a bunch of extra manual formatting in there, it'll screw the whole process up.

Re: Is it tradition to not use indents in your paragraphs here?

#12

Just so you know, a Word Doc 'Copy and Paste' will add an indent to Royal Road's BBcode for posting Drafts if you have a margin already formatted into Word's Paragraph Format function.

To create one yourself while in Royal Road's source code, type in either text-indent: 0.5in; in the p style= field to create a half-inch indent on that paragraph, or type in text-indent: 50px; which is the same distance in pixels rather than inches. 

You can also do the same thing in the span style= field by typing in margin-left: 0.5in; for a half-inch indent on that paragraph, or margin-left: 50px; for the same distance in pixels. 

😸

Re: Is it tradition to not use indents in your paragraphs here?

#14

ArDeeBurger Wrote: Just so you know, a Word Doc 'Copy and Paste' will add an indent to Royal Road's BBcode for posting Drafts if you have a margin already formatted into Word's Paragraph Format function.


I've been copying mine in from word with no luck. I am an indent-loving punk because it makes my prose look more like a book and hence more authoritatively story-like in my eyes, but I am also morally opposed to adding whitespace manually. I will have to play with my word settings sometime to see if I can get them to copy over...

Re: Is it tradition to not use indents in your paragraphs here?

#15
The reason for not tapping out spaces or using tabs as if you were using a typewriter is because different sites may well have different margins (line lengths/ column sizes).

"Hard coded" (hand added) indents and such will just end up as weird spacing gaps stuck in the middle of printed lines and such, as most software won't recognize your manual paragraph tabs as paragraph markers. The kind of markers that setting the word processor itself to generate, make signals that get recognized by other software. No editor wants to end with a downloaded manuscript that is going to require several hours of tracking down and eliminating such spaces, and deleting doubled indents  (the ones their software will automatically add at every registered paragraph break if it does not recognize yours as such). depending on how you are making paragraphs, even in some cases requiring the publisher to add true paragraph breaks. Of course, the editor is not going to do any of this, just send it back, so you are just making work for yourself.

Even where the margins are set the same as yours, line lengths can also be changed by differences in font size and kerning, which alter line length regardless of letter count and thus affect margins where text rolls to the next line. If you set up your word processor correctly, so it starts a new paragraph with the proper indent, paragraphing automatically every time you hit a return, this wont cause such issues and also saves you time and trouble. You just type continuously until the end of the paragraph then hit return. Once.

Typing online, simply use the automatic settings the publishers (sites) software supports as its set. Generally their software will not indent, as mostly they don't use indents.

Standard manuscript format is one inch margins all around, twelve point Times Roman or Courier font, double spaced, Pagination in the upper right corner, five letter indents (half inch) for paragraphs, no additional Lines between paragraphs, Chapter lead-ins a third page down. Ragged right margins. There are a few more requirements, that some publishers find optional these days. If the word processor is set up to produce a standard manuscript, the file download will automatically re-conform to the standard used by the publisher or site. And if it doesn't its not your problem, its the sites.

The changes a site makes automatically may entail changes in font, changes in line spacing, changes in margins, even kerning.  They will default to the type of paragraph style the site prefers. Lots of sites (most) prefer the same type from volume to volume and user to user, since this affects the overall presentation of the site. Many will allow customization, but some won't.

And yes, there are several styles and standards available. And they differ according to site, purpose, and venue. Every style guide in print will include this information, its not mine. Magazines are particularly worrisome, as they reformat column width to suit for advert inclusions, do wrap arounds for pictures and quotes, all that. Self formatting is fine, but I always find it easier overall to just set for standard as it leads to less fooling around down the road. (Being personally lazy.)

Re: Is it tradition to not use indents in your paragraphs here?

#18
The real reason I don't is just because it doesn't feel right for a webnovel. I guess it's something along the lines of "Would you indent your paragraphs on a forum post, or on any other social media post?" I wouldn't. Because this is not a published novel, the etiquette is a bit different. Things that are normal here would never be done in a published novel, and things that are normal for a published novel wouldn't be done for a webnovel. 

But most importantly, the reason I do this is because very often, I have lines which are just a single word, or a single sentence for impact. This is another technique that I feel wouldn't be allowed in a normal novel, but I use it because this isn't a normal published novel. And it would feel super weird to indent a paragraph that was just one word, or even one line.