The title of this blog post may sound a bit like an oxymoron – how can fiction be fact?
I recently edited a manuscript where the character was sunbathing on a sunny winter’s day and got sunburnt. I happen to have grown up in the area where the novel was set, so I knew that there is no way I would be outside in my bathing suit in winter – even on a sunny day – and there is also no way I would get sunburnt if I was.
After months (or sometimes years) of putting everything into writing your book, it would be tempting to finish, hit save, and never look it again, hoping it's perfect. But not even the most experienced authors can do that.
There is still a lot of work to do between writing the final word and having the book on the shelf.
Recently, there seems to be a rise in the number of people preferring to self-publish their books. But if you've never written, let alone published, a book before through a traditional publisher, you may not be aware of all the steps (or how to do them) that go into publishing a book.
So, what do we need to do to make our book the best it can be?
It is tempting to write a book, hit save, and send it off to an editor or publisher without ever looking at it again. It must be perfect, right? You have just put your heart and soul into it.
But not even the most experienced author can do that.
There are a few steps to take before you send your novel to an editor or publisher, and one of these steps is to use beta readers.
Is it Charles' book or Charles's book?
Is it right or wrong when we see signs in supermarkets selling banana's and apple's?
And, finally, if the Jones family own a house. Whose house is it? The Jones’s house, the Jones’ house or the Joneses’ house?
Let’s go back to the basics to work it out.
Is it colour or color? Behaviour or behavior?
Most New Zealanders know that New Zealand English (NZE) uses colour and behaviour, following British English (BrE) spelling.
So, are there any differences between NZE and BrE spelling?
Is it I burned the toast or I burnt the toast?
What sounds the most natural to you? Is one more correct than the other? Does one sound more old-fashioned than the other?
And, which one is correct for New Zealand English?
The Māori language is one of the three official languages of New Zealand. Its official name is te reo Māori.
We often use Māori words within English writing, but there are a few points to remember to ensure that the Māori language is used respectfully and correctly.
Before I start, just a note: this is intended as a basic guide to using Māori words and names within an English text. For more detailed information, see the external source list at the bottom of this article.
Sometimes when I'm writing messages on my cell phone, I end up using -ize endings when I use predictive text. I sometimes wonder if people think that I don’t know the correct spelling for New Zealand English. Do they even know if it is wrong in New Zealand English?
I wonder if US English-style predictive text usage has a part to play in the confusion that surrounds whether to use -ise or -ize endings in New Zealand English.
Quotation marks (also called quote marks, speech marks or inverted commas) are used to mark text representing dialogue or quoted material.
They can also be used for ‘scare quotes’ (see what I did there?) and are used to show that a term is sarcastic, slang, a term that would not normally be used in that style of writing, or to isolate the term for attention.
New Zealanders are exposed to an increasing mix of American and British books. Our brains merge the two grammar systems until we no longer know instinctively what is right for New Zealand English.
So, where does the punctuation go with quotation marks in New Zealand English?
Just to make it confusing, there is a traditional answer and a modern answer.
Marja Stack is a copy-editor and proofreader based in New Zealand. She is the owner of Clearlingo Editing and Proofreading, which caters to all writers of non-fiction books, business publications and cookbooks. 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: How to use a semicolon
- 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 write a book to promote your business
- Copyright and Permissions
- How much does editing cost?
- 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
- The basics of writing a cookbook
- How to use Tracked Changes in Word
- How to use basic Word Styles
- How to fix common formatting errors in Word