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Widows & Orphans - Thoughts, Ideas, Opinions......


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#1 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 09:44 PM

Probably opening up a can of worms here but I'm sitting here in a quandary. 

 

I'm working on the final formatting of my MS for an anticipated upload to Createspace. In doing so I am finding that I have a handful of widows and orphans. I'm working in Word and was wondering if anyone else has experienced this issue (I know I am not the only one in this boat) and more importantly what did you do to remedy the problem.

 

Seems the more I try and research, the more (contradictory) opinions I get. It's like being on a really unfun roller coaster ride. 

 

Do I forego the Widows & Orphans control on Word and then attack them individually? Do I focus on getting rid of the widows and turn a blind eye to orphans? And how would you do it ? Font spacing ?

 

At this point I could use some helpful advice from the fine folks here at AQC.

 

Thanks,
Andrew

 

 


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#2 Anna L. Walls

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 07:24 PM

As I understand it. Windows orphan controls tell your document where to break across pages. I've taken to leaving them all unchecked, which might lead to there being only one line of a paragraph at the top or bottom of your page. The only time I worry about this is if that one line happens to have only one word. At that point I'll back up a little and see if I can shorten the chapter a bit and get that one work on the same page with the rest of the paragraph. I do this especially at the end of a chapter. I hope that answers your questions.


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#3 RC Lewis

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:00 PM

I do my formatting using InDesign and deal with widows and orphans the "lazier" way by adjusting text width up or down a couple percent for individual paragraphs to make the offending line bump forward or pull back. (My brother the graphic designer would prefer I use kerning, but I'm not skilled enough to do a whole novel with that in the time I have.)

Word's widow/orphan control is evil for book formatting because it'll make the bottom line of your novel jump up and down across pages. Some kind of manual control is the way to go, IMHO.

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#4 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:19 PM

Thanks for the reply RC, that is the way I have been leaning (manually adjusting text). It seems every author has their own way of dealing with it. I have noticed with Robert Parker's books that he tends to keep page lengths the same on facing pages, but they are not uniformed pages throughout the book....... I guess I just need to sit down with a few cigars and a drink and plod along !!!


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#5 RC Lewis

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 10:11 PM

If I'm stuck and can't get it to work with the usual method, I'll go ahead and chop the bottom line off facing pages, but I try to make that the last resort.

 

And you're right, we all have our own ways, I'm sure ... our own ways of being persnickety. :wink:


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#6 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 10:44 AM

I'll have to see what works best for me and more importantly what looks best. Thanks for the advice.


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#7 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:25 PM

OK, now I am perplexed a bit. Curious if anyone has had this issue. 

 

Taking RC's advise I went into my doc and formatted all my widows and orphans and got rid of them. I have checked, double checked and triple checked the document layout including HTML and Normal (I'm using Word). 

 

First I tried uploading the file as a PDF to CreateSpace. While doing the CS online review it showed extra blank pages at the beginning following the dedication and acknowledgments. I scrapped the PDF and uploaded the .doc file. Now the extra blank pages are gone but now I have widows and orphans showing. 

 

WTF ??

 

Ideas, thoughts,...... anything ?


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#8 Anna L. Walls

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 12:46 AM

I've only loaded the Word program to CreatSpace (one book). I plan to try the pdf next time cause there a font I want to preserve. I didn't have trouble with extra pages though I went to the trouble of adding one as a signing page at the front. The orphans settings shouldn't have affected that at all.


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#9 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 10:45 AM

I am beginning to think that Word is probably not the best program to be using, but it's what I have now so I'll have to figure out how to get around that for the time being. I wouldn't mind suggestions on what might work better for me as I am in the process of writing the sequel to my first book.

 

As for the issue at hand, the problem is with the CS template, I just need to figure out how to correct it. It is entirely possible that I screwed something up when I imported it so maybe if I explain the actual issue someone might be able to help ID the potential cause / fix.

 

In Word, everything appears normal. No extra pages, nothing. The widows and orphans I fixed by doing some paragraph compressions manually. However when I upload it as a .doc the front pages are fine (no extra pages displayed), but CS realigns my paragraphs and I now have widows and orphans.

 

When I upload the PDF, the widows and orphans issue is now resolved, but I have extra pages displayed. The page sequence is as follows:

 

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication Page

-Blank-

Acknowledgment Page (i)

-Blank-

-Blank-

Quote Page (iii)

-Blank-

-Blank-

Chapter One (1)

 

Now the problem is that if I don't get rid of those two extra blank pages, it throws everything out of proper alignment. The other thing i when I convert it over to PDF and look at it, visually it appears to be on an 8x10 piece of paper, so I have a large of amount of white space at the bottom of the page. Is this normal ? Something they correct in the production process ? It appears normal in the reviewer.


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#10 J. Lea Lopez

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 04:01 PM

In the Word doc, double check your section/page breaks before/after where you have blank pages. It might look like one type of break when you view it on the page with your non-printing characters on, but if you go into the page setup for that page it might show something else. I had a similar problem except I couldn't get the blank pages where I wanted lol.

I've found CS doesn't play well with uploaded Word files, so I'd get your PDF worked out.

#11 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 04:49 PM

Hey J, long time no chat. Hope things are going well for you. I see you had a 2nd boom come out. Good for you !!

 

Trust me I am figuring out that Word and CS don't seem to play well together. I am on test MS #7 as I try to figure out the issues. I resolved the extra page problems, but then had my headers / footers go to hell on me. It's been one of those weekends. On top of that I realized that when I did test MS #6 I had uploaded the old chapters that were not corrected,...... are you feeling my pain yet?

 

So now I am off to fix the widows / orphans (again) and then load up the file as a pdf......... I should be done with the bottle of rum by then !!!!!!

 

I think I need to start researching programs other than Word to do my sequel in.


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#12 RC Lewis

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 05:32 PM

I've never had any problems with InDesign, but it can be expensive. (I got it on an educational discount.) Then again, with their new Creative Cloud subscription model, you can get single-app access for $20/month (with one-year commitment) or $30/month (cancel anytime).

 

At any rate, you'll probably want something developed specifically for desktop publishing rather than word processing. I'm not sure what other software is out there.


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#13 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 07:40 PM

I'm going to have to look into that. I'm wasting too much time correcting stuff. On a happy note, I think I have finally managed to rectify the previous issues. Although I had to scrap the formatting and start over so you know what that means............back to manually addressing the widows and orphans (again).


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#14 J. Lea Lopez

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 07:51 PM

Confession time... I used Word's widow and orphan control lol. It's taken me five months just to fix everything and get CS to accept my PDF! I just started going through my print proof today and I do see how some pages have one line more or less than the facing page, but I'm not sure I care haha. I'm not sure o would've noticed if I hadn't been reading this thread. Plus I don't know how I'd go about fixing it manually. I'll look at it after I fix any of the errors I catch in the proof, but I may leave it as is.

Andrew, the second book you see actually came out at the end of May, I just forgot to add it to my signature haha. That's the one that I've been struggling with the print formatting. I used a font for headings that refused to embed properly, so I created images for each heading instead. But Word would NOT STOP compressing the images when converting to PDF. I ended up downloading a free trial of Adobe XI Pro which allows you to edit PDFs, and I used that to replace all the compressed header images with the good ones. I may see if there's any way it can help me with widows and orphans.

#15 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 08:27 PM

From everything I have found in my research they say don't use Word on CS, it's not worth the hassle and I am beginning to agree.  I managed to correct my header / footer issues finally after wiping out the formatting and just starting over. I did a test save to PDF and it's all good now. 

 

I took RC's suggestion and simply went in and adjusted the paragraph spacing to wipe out the offending W & O's. Takes a little bit of time but it lines it up all nicey-nicey. 

 

Just highlight a paragraph, right click it, select FONT, then CHARACTER SPACING. When you see the word "Spacing", click the box to the right that says BY and you can go up or down in number and it will either expand or condense the paragraph. I usually select the paragraphs that either have 1-2 words or are almost to the end. These seem to have the most flexibility.

 

Once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy.


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#16 J. Lea Lopez

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 09:08 PM

Thanks! I'll give that a try.

#17 RC Lewis

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 10:01 PM

Yeah, just be careful that you never go more than a few percent in either direction. I try not to go lower than 96% or higher than 104% and try to stay closer to 100% than that if I can. More than that, the "squishing/stretching" may start to look noticeable.


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#18 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 07:29 PM

I agree with RC, I keep mine at a max of +4 / -4 those are usually good enough to resolve a lot of issues. Helps when you have a large paragraph as it has more room to adapt to the adjustments. 

 

Another shout out to RC for the original suggestion !!


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#19 RC Lewis

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 07:31 PM

Thanks! But I can't entirely take credit. I got it from a How-To post on formatting books ... but I can't give credit, because it was so long ago, I have no idea what post it was. :blush:


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#20 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 07:52 PM

Well, your still tops in my book for sharing it RC !! 


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