How To Format a Book

It is undeniably every writer's dream to be able to publish and put their work out for readers to enjoy. In your favor, there are many digital and online avenues available now for you to do so. Or, you could also take the traditional route of publishing a paperbound book for people to pick off of shelves. Whether you're self-publishing or choosing to go with a literary agent, the process of putting a novel or book together creatively and technically is very similar across both routes.

No matter your experience level, novice or expert, this very process of putting a novel together from start to end is no easy feat. Apart from the creative aspect of stringing a narrative together, there are a multitude of other things that would be looming over your head; designing your cover art, deciding on and compiling publisher information, formatting your novel or book, spell-checking and proofreading, and a handful of other things that you need to oversee or take care of.

Read on to find more about these writing templates, and how JotterPad can help you build your very own book from start to finish!

Writing Templates

Wide array of options and customizable

With the JotterPad templates, writers have the ability to create Markdown documents and print from multiple novel styles and formats. Previously, formatting and working from a Markdown document was limited in terms of these styles. Now, you have an array of novel template options to choose from when you create a Markdown document from the template button.

You also have the ability to customize and personalize your writing using the YAML editor function in the templates. Detailing such as the font size, font-type, line-spacing, and even your page dimensions can be customized to your liking with ease.

You can also easily switch up the format without having to format your work multiple times! All you have to do is move your content from one Markdown document to another. Simply copy and paste your text from one template into another, and have your work formatted immediately without a fuss.

How to Build your very own Novel

1. Create a Conducive Writing Environment

Find or create a comfortable and conducive space for you to dive into your writing projects in. A conducive and quiet environment will boost your productivity and creativity, and motivate you if you ever feel a little less driven or lethargic on some days.

Make the space your own, with snacks by your desk, your favorite books within reach for you to reference, a good reading light to work with at night, and o

If home is not the best space for you to write in, you can even go to your favorite café or a nearby library to write; whichever works best for your productivity.

2. Decide the Genre of your Novel

Set time aside to brainstorm and generate a few story ideas that interest you. Before diving into the more minute details such as the central plot, world-building, or the character profiles, decide on the genre you want to work on. Narrow this down from about 3 or 4 initial story ideas and their respective genres.

Look at your storytelling and your novel in a larger, more macro-perspective first; the genre and it's broader themes. Mulling over the diner details at the initial stages of planning and writing can cause panic or a writer's block.

Some of the more prevalent novel genres include the following :

Literary Fiction Novels

Literary fiction can be understood as an over-arching umbrella term that subsumes a handful of sub-genres. However, in essence, literary fiction novels revolve around more subjective writing, and is rooted in the personal story-telling style of an author. These novels delve deeper into commentary on a chosen theme or subject matter, and can be a little more personal in nature. They are predominantly character-driven instead of being plot-driven, where they follow the development of character’s inner story instead as well.

Science-Fiction Novels

Science Fiction novels most commonly deal with concepts that are a lot more forward-thinking, imaginative, and futuristic. These include themes of science and technology, space discovery and exploration, parallel universes, time-bending and travelling, immortality, the existence of extraterrestrial life, and artificial intelligence.

Many stories deal directly with these themes, and also explore the impact that these imagined concepts have on society or individuals.

Fantasy Novels

Fantasy novels are rooted in narratives or plots that cannot manifest in the real, tangible world that we know of. These stories often include magical and mystical and play out in a vastly different, other-worldly dimension or plane of existence from the world we know of and live in.

Characters such as witches, sorcerers, talking animals, dwarves, and other kinds of other-worldly beings exist in this genre, and it is common for authors to produce a series of books belonging to the same world and characters they've built, such as popular series like " Harry Potter" , " The Lord of the Rings" and " The Chronicles of Narnia".


Biographies, simply put, follow the story of real individual's life. It could either follow the life story of someone who is still living and breathing, or someone who lived a few centuries ago, a world-renowned individual, or even about a collective group of people or community. Biographies will follow the individual's or people's lives from birth to death, outlining significant events, accolades and achievements, and explaining their impact on the world. These events are written about through the lens of their childhood, relationships, identity, successes, failures and other personal attributes for readers to get a well-rounded description of the subject.


An autobiography, which is an extension of a biography, is a life-following story written about one’s self. Authors often outline their own experiences from childhood through pivotal events in their lives, their relationships, failures, achievements, and everything else noteworthy that would be of possible interest to readers.


Another form of a biography, the memoir, usually followers a specific but vital aspect of one’s life. This non-fiction narrative writing is heavily rooted in the author's personal memories. Although it is indeed a subcategory of biography or autobiography, memoirs reflect a much more narrowed focus in comparison to the former two. Memoirs tell the story of a specific event or time period, or a turning point in the author's life.


Mystery novels follow an intriguing and often gut-wrenching crime, from the point it's being plotted, committed, and up till the moment it gets solved, or even foiled, by characters in the story. These books compel the reader to be invested in the "who", "what", "when", "where" and "how" of a the crime through the lens of the protagonists.

Action or Thriller Novels

A thriller novel tends to be a plot-drive, action-filled and very fast-paced narrative that peaks readers' attention and anxiety at different points. In these novels, the protagonist recurringly faces high-stake or risk situations. Their ultimate goal in this sort of narrative also usually takes them having to be put in risky and dangerous situations. Action or thriller stories can seep into other genres such as crime and fantasy as well.


Horror novels have one goal; to frighten readers. Either supernatural or psychological, horror plots and their characters are menacing and terrifying. Story elements such as demons, ghosts, vampires, serial killers, psychopaths, and themes such as the post-apocalyptic world, gore, torture, or cannibalism are commonly used in such novels to invoke these feelings.


Romance novels place primary plot focus on romantic relationships and love between characters in the story. Often written with a characteristic stylistic quality, romance novels are believed to be more popular amongst younger female readers. While most romance novels are about love, novels about love need not necessarily be romantic.

3. Plan

Once you've decided on your story idea and it's direction, and the best fit genre for it, you can dive into fleshing out the more finer details of your story.

You can plan your novel in multiple ways. Some of them include :

  • Plotting a timeline or trajectory - Building a timeline of the major events and plot points in your story gives you a good overall picture of where your story is heading towards and the overall dynamic of your narrative. You will be able to zoom in and out of different points of your story easily with a timeline as a reference throughout your writing process.
  • Planning scenes/plot points with index cards - Make use of index cards to craft and develop individual scenes and plot points of your story, and arrange or re-arrange them however you like. This gives you a more clearer picture of the sequence of events in your novel and lets you iron out the details of each scene.
  • Build a Treatment - Write out a succinct and truncated version of your novel first, with some important details about your plot included.
  • Mind-maps - Working on mind-maps and letting your ideas flow unhindered gets you to to see where your story points free-floating story ideas could possibly intersect.

4. Structure your Writing

Story structure, or narrative structure, is the order in which the main events in your story are strung together or organized into a beginning, middle, and end. The structure of your story directly influences the manner in which your plot unfolds and how the driving forces, such as the characters and the world they are living in, are introduced to readers.

There are no hard and fast rules about the structuring a novel should follow. Each genre has a their own characteristic structure, one that best serves the plot type and the flow of events. Some writers choose to follow a structure template, while others may see where their stories take them and make sure that they reflect a logical flow throughout.

Choosing writing structure depends on multiple factors. Some include the nature of the main events in your story, the character arcs of your main characters, the genre of your book, the length of your story, the narrative point-of-view that you adopt, and many more. You can opt for a more linear, and pre-determined structure, or go with a more flexible and changing structure; one that best suits your flow of events.

5. Choose a Novel Template to Start Writing With

Start writing, and be able to see the finalized and packaged form of your novel much sooner, coupled with a book cover of your choice with the following templates :

JotterPad's novel writing templates can guide your writing and take care of the formatting requirements for your novel for you. With an array of templates to choose from to best suit the genre that you're working on, these templates can help expedite your writing endeavors by serving as bedrocks for you to build your story upon. After writing, you get to see your stories turned into beautifully crafted novels without worrying about the formatting getting muddled up along the way.

The wide array of novel and book-writing template options available on JotterPad are easy and hassle-free to use. Open JotterPad's web editor, select "New Document", select "New from Template", search for your desired template through phrases or filter templates, and start writing.

5. Work on your First Draft!

With all these formatting details in place, write your first draft!

As you work on your draft on JotterPad, keep in mind that you have all the formatting and visual requirements being done for you on this very writing platform from the get-go. You can turn your attention to the meat of your writing instead.

With this first draft, you have ample time and space to go back in into your writing for revisions. This very first draft need not be a polished manuscript. This first draft will look and feel different from the subsequent versions you are going to be producing. Use this first step as a mere skeleton that you can continue to build upon and layer in the coming stages of writing, polishing and revising.

Remember to pace yourself and stick to a consistent writing schedule, instead of writing everything at one go. That would not be sustainable nor efficient. Set deadlines and celebrate when you are able to meet said deadlines to keep up your momentum.

6. Edit your First Draft

Once you are done writing your book, it’s time to edit it. This can be done in two stages – self-editing then professional editing. After checking for structure, readability, grammar and spelling, you can make any changes based on a professional book editor’s feedback and then finalize a book title.

7. Write front and back matter

While they are important, you should only start on them after you have written your story so that you can minimize any edits and hassle. Remember to write your preface/introduction in an interesting manner, have your foreword written by someone credible, and to have well-known people write reviews about your book.

Keep in mind, JotterPad as a writing software would be formatting your work for you as you've continue to develop and hone your story! Through multiple draft edits, ironing out the details of your front and back matter, writing out the biography, glossary of terms and even bibliography, your formatting will be taken care of for you throughout these multiple stages of putting your novel together.

JotterPad's continuously expanding range of novel formatting templates allow you to shift your focus to the meat of your writing, instead of having to worry about major formatting requirements. At the very same time, you get to see your novel in it's final packaged form with these templates, expediting the process in its entirety for your writing endeavors.

Happy Writing!