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  • Writer's picturecbeckerauthor

Widows and Orphans

Saving Euphoria is on the way to the final steps in publication. One of the most time consuming parts is the most rewarding for me--eliminating widows and orphans. Many people haven't heard of the terms in relation to book writing. Depending on the source that defines the terms, the words may flip-flop in definition, but basically they are the lone sentences on the bottom or top of the page, looking alone and leaving a lot of empty space.

When my galleys came out for review, I had a lot of the single line sentences. For eBooks it's not as big as an issue because the font size on an eBook reader will make the page look different. On a paperback, the pages are set and the lonely sentences stick out. Ever notice turning a page only to see one or two words on the empty page? In high school, students were taught to leave at least two lines when a paragraph split on the bottom of a page/or top page.

In working my way around the widows and orphans, I had a method, or series of steps that I did to prevent the W&Os. I'd look at the paragraphs that ended with a full or short sentence. Those are the easiest areas to target. If I needed to bump a single sentence onto the top of the next page, I'd add a word or two to the full paragraph to bump down another line. If the next page needed drawn into the bottom of the current page, I'd find a way to delete a word or two from the paragraph that had ended with a paragraph having an extra few words/ more space at the end line.

Page by page, I went through my 400 pages. At the end the satisfaction overflowed inside me. I won't lie. This takes a lot of time, but if you are bothered by widow and orphan lines, I encourage you to take on the challenge!

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