Similar to yesterday’s exercise, when you’re reading a novel and come across something that tosses you out of “the zone”, take a moment to consider whether you’ve ever made that same mistake. Was it a glaring typo? A missing word? The protagonist acting entirely out of character? A plot hole? Something that violates the laws of physics? (That last one is my personal favorite, or I suppose I should say pet peeve.)
Note how distracting it is when this happens and use that energy to make a solemn vow to never knowingly do the same thing to one of your readers. This is what careful editing is all about.
Your book interior’s layout should be pleasing to the eye. The opposing pages should look symmetrical and have adequate margins so the words don’t look crowded. Formatting contributes significantly to a book’s readability.
Formatting should be virtually invisible. If it’s too dramatic, it can distract readers and prevent them from becoming totally immersed in your story. Poor formatting will do this for sure!
In traditional fiction publishing format, the first paragraph in a chapter or section is not indented, but flush with the margin. This helps set the stage, even subconsciously, that it’s not a direct continuation of the previous scene, but something new. This is particularly important in e-books, where extra spaces are often lost.
Book interior formatting is something that you seldom notice, unless there’s a problem. Which is as it should be. The last thing a reader needs is distractions. Rather, it should facilitate the flow of the story, indicating scene and viewpoint breaks in a smooth and intuitive manner.
If something throws you out of a story you’re reading, figure out why. Then make sure you’re not guilty of the same thing. You can learn from all writers, whether more or less skilled than you are. Typos are one thing that really jolt me out, though blatantly inaccurate science is a close second.