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Book Writing for Non-fiction – Setting up your manuscript hierarchy – Part 2

A drop of ink can make a million think

Part 2 – Setting up your manuscript

If you have already read Part 1, you will want to start to prepare a draft manuscript.

Having developed a skeleton manuscript in Part 1 including detailed writing of the first 4 sections, now we need to start to prep your manuscript to a more readable format.


You need to consider your content in forms of an hierarchy. I’m going to use web terminology here as it is the easiest to refer to between software programs.

Heading 1

This will be used for your Chapter headings. Your chapters could be numbered or simply word based but in terms of your hierarchy you would keep this all as one style. If you can name this style, call it “Chapter Heading”.

If numbers feature in any of your Chapter headers, we would advise not numbering your chapters. For example, if your chapters go Intro-How to-Part 1 etc then labelling them Chapter 1 Intro-Chapter 3 Part 1 would become confusing. On the other hand, if your book is a linear format then we would recommend numbering the chapters to help maintain the readers connection with the content.

Heading 2

Dividing your chapters into manageable chunks for the reader is a great way of maintaining the reader’s engagement with your content. You could do this by using a Q&A format if it suits your subject, or use it to divide your chapter’s subject into its composite parts. It could be for an instruction book you form it out of “What do I do to get here”, “How do I do it” and “What have I done”, or it could be “Technique A”, “Technique B” and “When to use each technique”.

Heading 3

You would use Heading 3 as a title for a breakout box or a workbook section or similar – this can be a good way of re-iterating the content to the reader as well as bringing in deeper engagement. You could also use this header for captions for images and charts also, or to create steps in a How To.


This is your main text style for your content, and at this stage you will want to create a basic draft of your content. Moving forward you will want to create several character styles including bold and italics that will be used either for highlighting key phrases, or for emphasising words within a sentence.

In Part 3 – continuing your writing

In the next part we will be focussing on developing your manuscript for your remaining chapters.

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  1. […] you have already read Part 2, you will want to complete your draft manuscript. Having developed a skeleton manuscript in Part […]