Advice on adding commentaries

I'm working on a old public domain book and am going to add commentaries and advice to each chapter. What is the best way to do this? I mean to separate my writing from the actual book. Do I write 'editors note" or  use italics etc. Not sure how to go about it. Thanks for any input.


  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor

    Italics are tiring. Put a title: Commentary, and your name with an em dash after it.

     A citizen of the world.

  • Matthew Henry, in his Commentary on the Whole Bible (1708), put the original text (scripture) in Bold, with a blank line before and after each passage from the original. It's an easily understood style and works well for what he was doing.


    Original Original Origin al ORIGINAL original Original Ori-

    ginal ORIGINAL original original Original Original Original


    comment comment comment comment comment comment

    comment comment comment comment comment comment

    more comments and further discussion comments, comment

    common comments commonly commented, commentary.


    One might also use indentation -- Give the entire cited passage a double indentation, with the commentary only single indented.


    . . . . . . . . Original, Origin, Original

    . . . . . . Original Original, ORiginal

    . . . . . . ORIGINAL Original Origina


    . . . Comment, comment, comments commonly

    commented, comments, comment, comments.

    commentary common to commentaries, comments

    comment to comment, commentary, comment


    Those styles will work if the proportion of  original to commentary is something like 1:2 or greater. If it's more of a line by line, then you might use either a two-column system or an interlinear style:


    Original original original original;


    comment comment comment comment


    Original Original original original


    comment Comment comment.




    ORIGINAL original original . | . comment comment comment

    original original Original O. | . Comment, comment! comment

    riginal Original ORIGINAL .  | . comment comment comment


    The two column method might prove difficult to set up, and the interlinear means that you have to make your lines a little short to keep them from wrapping if you make changes.


    Depending on the proportion of original to commentary, I'd probably go with either the first or the second.


    So, you're finally starting on the Go Rin No Sho project? Smiley Happy

  • Yep Skoob how'd you guess? Smiley Wink  Got some good ideas just need to get off my butt and do it lol.

  • An excellent way to do this would be to use sidenotes. This allows you to place your commentary adjacent to the text without interrupting it and it also keeps the reader from having to constantly glance toward the bottom of the page as footnotes would require.


    When I use sidenotes, I set up my pages with two columns, a wide inside column for the main text and a narrower outside column for the notes. Here is one example:



    The actual proportions will depend to a degree on your page size. In this case, the sample is from a book with 8.5"x11" pages. But the principal is the same.


    I might add that I do not do this in Word but rather in Pagemaker, a page layout program similar to InDesign and others.

    Black Cat Studios
  • Thanks for all of the advice. I'm using Word so some of this might prove difficult for a beginner like me. But gives me something to work on , thanks!

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