I’ve borrowed this post from Carolyn Howard Johnson’s blog because I feel writers need to be reminded at times about simple rules regarding good writing.
Rules of the Road
To write well and be more successful, every writer needs to be aware of the most common standards in the publishing industry:
- Ultimately your manuscript must be in a word processing program
- Use one inch margins on all sides
- Justify text, including the first sentence
- Indent .5 for all paragraphs after the first one
- Use 12 point type, simple fonts (Times New Roman works well)
- Use one space after the period
- Dialogue requires quotation marks (“Where are you?”)
- Start a new paragraph with each different speaker
- Keep the speaker’s action and dialogue in the same paragraph
- Use subject verb sentence structure
- (USE: “This is important,” Valerie said.
- NOT: “This is important,” said Valerie.)
- For time sequence use both words: and then
- (USE: She picked up a pen, and then wrote a note.
- NOT: She picked up a pen, then wrote a note.)
- Punctuation marks go inside quotation marks (“Here I am,” Valerie said. “Where are you?” she asked.)
- An apostrophe replaces a missing letter (goin’, won’t)
- Use italics for internal character thoughts.
- Limit the use of exclamation points (!) and dashes (-)
- Use only one punctuation mark at the end of a sentence
- USE: “You did what?” NOT:“You did what?!!!”)
- Avoid clichés
- Avoid over-use of that, very, just
MORE ABOUT VALERIE ALLEN
, author, playwright, and speaker, writes fiction, non-fiction, short stories, plays, and children’s books. She is a popular speaker at writer’s conferences, libraries, and community events using her book: Write, Publish, Sell! Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Ideas for the Marketing Challenged
Edition. It is available at http://bit.ly/ValerieAllen
She is a co-founder of Authors for Authors, which supports new and experienced authors with book fairs, book launches, book displays, and writing seminars. Authors from across the US have had their books displayed at two annual Florida book fairs held in March and November sponsored by AuthorsforAuthors.com