1. What is dialogue?
2. Punctuation rules for dialogue
3. Internal dialogue (thoughts)
4. What next?
Dialogue is notoriously complicated to punctuate and many writers struggle to get it right. It also doesn’t help that there is a difference in the way dialogue is punctuated between New Zealand English and American English. But readers will notice if you get it wrong (even if they can’t say why they think it’s wrong!).
Last week I renewed my membership for the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), which is based in the UK, and last month I renewed my membership for the Institute of Professional Editors Ltd (IPEd), which is based in Australia.
I am a Professional Member of both organisations.
To be able to renew my SfEP membership, I had to answer a question on the SfEP Code of Practice. Doing this was a good reminder of one reason why I am a member of these professional editing associations.
As these memberships all need to be budgeted for, I thought it would be a good exercise to write down all the reasons I continue to roll over my membership.
“I have written my book and done a spell check. Is my book ready for publishing?”
Well, you can publish it now. In this age of self-publishing, you can publish anything. Nothing is stopping you from uploading it onto Amazon or other e-book sites and putting it out there.
But you'll want people to want to read it. And you want your book to sell. Or you might want an agent to offer you a contract.
If you do, then the answer is most likely no.
Anyone writing a cookbook or a food blog will need to know how to format recipes so that the reader has an enjoyable experience making the dish.
There is an art to writing recipes that will inspire but are also easy to follow and make sense to the cook or baker – there is nothing more frustrating for a than trying out a new recipe and finding the instructions ambiguous, that something should have been prepared hours in advance, or that the ingredients are not easily obtainable.
Just like all punctuation, dashes provide information so that we can understand the intended meaning and nuances of a sentence.
Hyphens, en dashes and em dashes (also call en rules and em rules) all have different roles to play, but many people don’t know what each of them does – or have never noticed that there are actually three types of dashes. And it doesn’t help that only one is easily found on the computer keyboard.
What’s the time, Mr Wolfy?
Four o’clock ... or is it 4 pm? Or 4.00 p.m.?
This was a game I played when I was young. But I never had to write it down. What if you did? How would you write it?
It can be confusing when deciding how to write times and dates, especially with so many different ways of doing it.
How long is a piece of string?
It is difficult to say exactly how long it would take to edit a book, as it depends on various factors, but suffice to say, it is not as fast as some writers think. Most editors have had a client or two who thought their manuscript would be back within a week, and then balked when they found out how long it would take.
Submitting your newly completed novel to a publisher can be a scary prospect. But knowing how to make sure you have a professional-looking manuscript is one step in the right direction to getting a contract.
When submitting your novel to a publisher or agent, you want to give it your best shot, so make sure their first impression is a good one. For a busy publisher, a messy manuscript can indicate a messy story, and you don’t want to put them off from the start.
After months, or even years, of perfecting your manuscript, it will have become really familiar to you. When you open the document to work on a scene or to play with a few sentences, you know what you expect to see.
But you sent your manuscript to an editor, and it has just landed back in your inbox.
Now what should you expect when you open it?
Usually we never take much notice of the style and order of the pages that come before and after the main text in a book. But if we want to self-publish our own book, we need to know how to do this, and that can be confusing and overwhelming. Getting it right will help your book look professional and credible.
This is a basic guide to all the pages you can have in both a fiction or non-fiction book. There are some variations in house styles, though they are all very similar. The description below is based on the New Oxford Style Manual.
Marja Stack is a copy-editor and proofreader based in New Zealand. Her business, Clearlingo Editing and Proofreading, caters to all writers of fiction or non-fiction books. For more information or enquiries for how she can help you make your book shine, please see her website: www.clearlingo.co.nz.
New Zealand English Series
*How to punctuate dialogue
*NZE: hyphens, en dashes and em dashes
*NZE: How to write times and dates
*NZE: Is our spelling different?
*NZE: Burned vs Burnt
*NZE: Using Māori words in English text
*NZE: -ise vs -ize endings
*NZE: Single or double quote marks
*NZE: Punctuation inside or outside quotation marks?
The Editing Process
*When is my book ready for publishing?
*Types of editing
*5 things to tell your editor
*The revision and editing process
*What are beta readers?
*What to expect when you get your manuscript back
*How to order the pages of a book
*Fact checking fiction writing
*Formatting your manuscript for submission
*How long does it take to edit a book?
*Why I belong to editing associations
* How to write recipes for cookbooks and blogs
*How to use Tracked Changes in Word
*How to use basic Word Styles
*How to fix common formatting errors in Word