I think the pattern makes sense as:
Next Rw: k8, knit 8 and slip to a stitch holder for neck, k8- 8 sts each side.
Next Rw: P5, p2tog, pl across first side and slip to a st holder for shoulder; p1, p2tog, p5 across second side and slip to a st holder for sholder-7 sts each side.
Is that correct?
This is the beginning of the neck and shoulder shaping. You'll have 8sts for each shoulder, separated by 8sts which are on a stitch holder. Leave those center sts on the holder. There'll be directions later to tell you how to work with them. What you can do after the first row is turn as you normally would at the end of the row and p5, p2tog, p1 and then put those sts on another holder. You can cut the yarn leaving a 6 inch tail and use the end of the yarn attached to the ball to work the second side, p1, p2tog, p5 and then slip this shoulder also to a third stitch holder. So you'll end with 3 stitch holders with 7sts--8sts--7sts.
What is the pattern name or can you post a link to it?