I always feel like the semicolon is one of the more sophisticated punctuation marks, and also that it scares people a little.
It tends to be used more in formal writing, but it has its place in fiction too. It can be very useful to subtly convey a relationship between two thoughts without using more words.
And there is no need to fear it if you know how to use it correctly.
“Can you give me a quote?”
This is one of the first questions I am usually asked by a potential client.
And rightly so.
A writer will most likely have a budget to work within, and they may want to compare the fees of several editors.
Unfortunately, I can’t just give you a flat rate as a response.
Freelance editors mostly all run their own business and have their own ways of working out what they charge, but below are some of the things that editors take into consideration when working out a quote for a client.
When the student got to school, they realised they had forgotten their lunch.
There are three examples of the singular they in that sentence. Did you notice? Would you have written it any differently?
Of course, I could have written:
When the student got to school, he or she realised he or she had forgotten his or her lunch.
That’s a bit unwieldy! And potentially wrong. But definitely not inclusive.
Italic font was first used in presses in Italy the 1500s and was designed to replicate the handwritten manuscripts of the time. Italic font was used differentiate informal manuscripts created for leisure reading from formal manuscripts, which used Roman type. It wasn’t until the sixteenth century that italic font was used for emphasis.
Today it has several more uses, but it’s important to not overuse it, as this can lead to readability issues, especially when taking into account accessibility.
As an aside, the first letter of italics is pronounced the same as the i in sit – not as eye.
NZE: How to write times and dates.
We all know the rhyme 1, 2, buckle my shoe. 3, 4, knock on the door.
Or should it be One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, knock on the door?
This article is about how to use numbers and numerals within formal and informal writing to make sure it is consistent and easy to read. These rules are not applicable to very technical or scientific writing, and in those cases the appropriate style guide should be referred to.
When using numbers in writing, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction or business documents, the main issue is whether to spell out the number or whether to use figures, but there are some other rules and exceptions to consider.
We use abbreviations and acronyms every day without thinking about them, and we instantly know the meaning of many of them – abbreviations like FAQs, ETA, IQ, DVDs … And today's text language is full of abbreviations LOL (or lol if you are of the younger generation).
When writing, it can be confusing knowing how to write abbreviations and acronyms correctly, and as there are only small style variations, it doesn’t always look wrong to use one or the other.
However, to make your writing look professional, there are some style decisions you will need to make when writing in New Zealand English text, so we’ll have a look at what the options are.
As always, rule number one is to be consistent within a document, and even across all your writing. It doesn’t look professional, and can cause confusion, if you have, for example, 9 am in one place, but
9 a.m. in another.
But first things first: what are abbreviations and acronyms?
There are different ways to get your book published (that's a whole other topic!). But once you have made the decision to self-publish your book, there are more decisions to make.
Will you make print copies or e-books? Or both?
Will you use a local designer and printer, or one of the many platforms to create your book yourself?
Which platform should you use?
Will you print many books and hope they sell, or will you print only as they are ordered?
It can be overwhelming.
So, let’s break it down.
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 Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), which is based in the UK, and last month I renewed my membership for the Institute of Professional Editors Ltd (IPEd), which is for Australian and New Zealand editors.
I am a Professional Member of both organisations.
To be able to renew my CIEP membership, I had to answer a question on the CIEP 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.
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
- NZE: The 'singular they'
- NZE: How to use italics
- NZE: How to write numbers
- NZE: How to write abbreviations
- NZE: How to punctuate dialogue
- NZE: hyphens, en dashes and em dashes
- NZE: How to write times and dates
- NZE: Possessives
- 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
- How to self-publish your book in New Zealand
- 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