March 28, 2010

The Deal With White Space

My current work-in-progress has taught me a lot about white space.

I took a lot at some of my finished manuscripts, and I couldn't help but cringe. Words upon words were stuffed into single pages without room to breath (figuratively speaking).

They looked so intimidating, and they made me want to find something else to read.

White space makes a manuscript look more friendly and approachable. It might add more to your overall page count but it's actually worth it. More pages with fewer words are easier to read from a psychological point of view compared to a lot of words in a few pages.

Meg Cabot once said on her blog that readers will thank you for plenty of white space by buying your books. I think she's right.

Imagine a paragraph that looks like this:

Blah. Blah. I'm going to keep on talking so this paragraph will look really long. Blah. Blah. Blah. So, is it long enough yet? I guess not. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. So, yeah, I'll keep on typing. Is this paragraph annoying yet? If it is, then good. I'm trying to make a point. Haha. Okay, I'm babbling. I'll shut up now. Back to regular programming. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Taylor Lautner is so hot. I just had to put that in here. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Is this paragraph suffocating you? Not yet? I'll keep on going then. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Get my point? See how daunting that paragraph is? Aren't your fingers just itching to press the enter button? I know I am.

5 comments :

Janice said...

Your right to a reader white space means there a lot of action, and the book more exciting.

Janice~

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Well said. Never gave a thought to white space on the page. Oh gosh, now I feel like I have to take another look at my finished ms. Or...maybe not. I tend to write shorter paragraphs, especially in YA. Does that count?

Jade said...

Yes!

I'm currently reading Interview With The Vampire and there are hardly any breaks and no chapters. It makes it seem like it's a real effort to read even though I'm enjoying it.

I prefer short chapters because it makes me read faster so I aim for shorter chapters when writing.

Rebecca Knight said...

I totally agree about white space, and my eyeballs thank you! :)

Also, I just tagged you on my blog...

Jody Hedlund said...

VERY good point!! I like white space in blog posts too!