Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. I am editing a history of our university that is divided into thirteen chapters delineated by time frames. Three of the chapters are divided into parts (not to be confused with subheads, which exist in all chapters), the idea being that they would be too long as single chapters. How should these parts be treated within each chapter (if at all)? Should endnotes stream from one part to the next or begin with 1 for each part? Or should the parts simply become new chapters? Or should we dissolve the parts and accept very long chapters for those three cases?

A. In a book, “parts” are normally groups of chapters; it’s unusual to divide chapters into “parts.” Parts of chapters (“sections”) are normally set off with subheadings—what makes your “parts” different from “sections”? Consider using subheads and sub-subheads for your long chapters. Regardless, begin the notes at 1 for each chapter. As for chapter length, the content determines this. Writers and editors use their judgment to decide whether the organization makes sense. If you are not able to do this yourself, you might hire a developmental editor who specializes in this larger-picture kind of editing.