Editing Tip #9

Know Your Style Guides & Edit Accordingly

Word StyleNearly every country has one or more writing style guides.  How do you choose which one to follow?  First, you need to identify what kind of writing you’re doing (scientific articles, university essays, fiction book, etc.) and then where it’s going to be published.  There is no sense submitting an article to an American popular magazine if you follow the CP Stylebook (a Canadian resource).

For writers of fiction and memoir nonfiction you need to decide where you are going to focus your book publishing.  It doesn’t matter if you decide to go the traditional route or self-publish, whichever your target country is you need to familiarize yourself with their writing style guide.

Here is a list of well-sourced guides:

ISO: International Standards Organization (for technical & scientific communication)

CMS: Chicago Manual of Style (for journalism & the general publishing industry)

CP: Canadian Press Stylebook (for journalism/newspapers)

APA: American Psychological Association (for the social sciences)

MLA: Modern Language Association (for the liberal arts and humanities)

DFA: Department of Finance & Administration (for authors, editors, and printers in Australia)

Just so you know, when I give editing tips I use two sources: 1) CMS and 2) MLA.  Living in Canada, the United States has a big influence on our print industry so I use CMS.  Since I studied the liberal arts through high school and into university MLA has impacted my writing style greatly; most notably when I choose not to indent my first paragraph for a new chapter.  APA and other styles demand that all paragraph formatting remain the same – indented.  However, you will notice that in general fiction both styles are used and ultimately you should go with what your genre tends to support.

Therefore, when I say that all punctuation should fall within a set of quotations when they are being used, the following two examples are correct…

Jemma turned to Connor and said, “I hate it when you do that.”

My favourite saying is, “you win some, you loose some.”

There are more examples I could give, but these are the most often used.

Let me know if you have any questions about periods and quotation marks 🙂

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