Hello, all! These are my Style and Formatting guidelines for written works. Please make sure you are using these "rules" to proofread your pieces before sending them to an editor. Thanks! 1) Headlines and bylines When sending me your story, along with the title (the one at the top of the screen that you can click on), be sure to please, please, PLEASE write the title, your name, your "rank"*, and your Pulse email in the actual story itself. Like this: The Things that Bug Me by Elise Arvidson Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org This helps me, so that when I go to look at your work, I don't go, "What the heck is the title?" or worse "Who wrote this??" Please align everything to the left. *Unless you are being paid for a specific position, your title will be "Staff Writer" 2) Document sharing When you share your document with me, there will be a multiple choice bullet, asking you if I should be allowed to view only or edit. Please click "Edit." Otherwise you cannot partake in my happy color-scheme. 3) Tabs We are not going to use tabs. If you start a new paragraph, put a line between the finished paragraph and the new one, but DON'T INDENT!!! Like this:
Blahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahbla ? <--End of last paragraph ? It was also noted today that..... <--Beginning of new paragraph 4) Quote paragraphs A quote is ALWAYS a new paragraph. Always. Please start the paragraph with the quote unless the quote is a sentence fragment. Example: "To be, or not to be; that is the question!" said Hamlet. OR Whether or not to exist, "that is the question," as Hamlet said. 5) Breaking a quote When breaking a quote, or when ending a quote, use a comma inside of the quotation marks. Just because Person X speaks in a run-on sentence does not mean you have to print them that way (unless it's impossible otherwise). For example: "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I'll no longer be a Capulet," said Juliet. OR "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name," said Juliet. "Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I'll no longer be a Capulet." 6) Quotation Marks
Quotes inside of quotes follow this rule: Two on the outside, one on the inside. For the most part. Example: "So she said what I had said, and said to me, 'What on Earth is wrong with you?'" Jill said. ALSO Whenever--in normal conversation with a friend/coworker/peer/teacher etc.--you would make "air quotes" around a word, do me a favor and put that in your writing, too. None of this 'word' here, or 'word' there. Be confident!! "Word" here, and "word" there!! 7) Introducing quotes Do not introduce quotes with this phrase: When asked what her favorite part of newspaper was, senior Elise Arvidson said, "I love to edit." Find a way to incorporate what the subject said in response to a question IN THE QUOTE PARAGRAPH if possible. Like this: "I love to edit," said senior Elise Arvidson about her favorite job on the newspaper staff. 8) Apostrophes Apostrophes SHOULD NOT be used to signify the plural form of the word. EVER. Wrong: "...there were many RD's..." "...the Arvidson's are cool people..." and "...the Patton's are very talented..." Right: RDs, Arvidsons and Pattons. Apostrophes SHOULD be used to signify ownership. Right: That book is Elise's. That shoe is the Patton's. This is the RD's idea. 9) To, Two, and Too 'To' is used as a preposition mostly: to wash; where to? 'Two' is the number after one: two books; two pencils... 'Too' means 'also': I gave her candy too; Are you selling lemonade, too? You will buy some too, right? 10) Hyphens vs. Dashes This is a hyphen (-). This is a dash (--). A hyphen (-) is used between compound words or between made-up terms. Ex.: free-form, twenty-five, co-operate...etc. or not-soimpressive, do-gooder...etc. A dash (--) is used in complex sentences to add in an idea. Ex.: She doesn't know--although she did at the beginning of the summer--when her friend will come back. EX: Everyone knows what a "noun" is, yes (person, place or thing)? I've noticed that hyphenated terms are often the nouns/subjects of a sentence. For example: "This is an on-campus class," vs. "This class is on campus." "Learn English first-hand," vs. "Use your first hand." Basically, if Word or <insert word processor here> underlines in red what you've made one word, follow your instincts, and hyphenate instead. 11) Brackets [ ] Brackets are used only in quotes either when the subject has made a mistake in grammar or when the subject is unclear in pronouns. For example: Change "The students today were so tired, they were rambunctious!" to "The students today were so tired, they were [lethargic]." However, USE CAUTION!!! WHEN, AND ONLY WHEN A SUBJECT MISUSES A WORD WOULD IT BE OKAY TO CORRECT THEM WITH BRACKETS. People often misuse "big" words that aren't widely known. Otherwise, keep
as much of the original speech as possible. Do not substitute an edit of what a subject said without brackets. OR Change "The other one agreed with Dr. Metts, too." to "[Dr. Patton] agreed with Dr. Metts, too." WARNING!!! Use brackets sparingly. Do NOT use them for every little grammatical error-just to continue the flow of a story. 12) Past Tense Regardless of WHEN the story happened (in relation to the release of the print), please use Past Tense forms of verbs. Unless, of course, you have written a preview of something that WILL happen, but has not happened YET. 13) Spaces For the sake of argument, this symbol (・) represents 1 space (as per hits of the spacebar). Wrong sentence: "・Today・at・5・p.m.,・students・met・to・discuss・the・project.・ ・They・decided・on・community・service,"・said・Jill. Better sentence: "Today・at・5・p.m.,・students・met・to・discuss・the・ project.・They・decided・on・community・service,"・said・Jill. Case in point: Please do not put a space between quotation marks and the first word. Also, use only ONE space between sentences. 14) Big Words We all want to sound professional and one of the ways we do that is by using "big" words. However, if you misuse a "big" word, it doesn't sound as professional as it should. My advice (and my supplication to all staff writers) is to only use words you can use well. Yes, use "big" words, but ONLY if you are well-versed in HOW to use them. Otherwise, I have to decide if you actually meant something different. I suggest that everyone make themselves familiar with a dictionary. Besides, you should ALWAYS be able to read your piece aloud to anyone in the room and not be worried they won't understand it. In fact, do that. When you use a big word in your story, before sending it to me, read the sentences to your roommate/significant other etc. to see if they understand what you've written. 15) "That" and "These" Before turning in a story, read through it and highlight (or color, or underline, or circle) all "that" and "these" you find. Reduce this number by half, if possible. If using "that" or "these" is absolutely crucial to the comprehension of a sentence, keep them (it, whichever). Just be wary of how often the words are used. Also, go through and highlight (color/underline/circle) all uses of "thing" or "things" and "it". Be specific, but not verbose. 16) Ellipses (...) DO NOT USE THESE IN QUOTES OR IN THE STORY. They are unnecessary. Use A period. As in 1 (one). Or, you could use a dash (see #10). 17) Last names Generally in journalism, it is acceptable to introduce a subject by first and last name. Hereafter, the subject is REFERRED to by last name ONLY. Unless, of course, the subject's last name is identical to another subject's last name. 18) First person ("I" or "We")/Second person ("You") Don't use them. Ever. Unless you are writing an opinion piece.
19) Opinion Opinion words aren't just negative words like "badly", "lack of..." etc. Opinion words are also positive words, like "happily", "amazing" and "superb". Please avoid these like the Bubonic Plague. Unless you are writing an opinion piece. 20) It's vs. Its It's--generally used as contraction for "it is". Its--used as the possessive form of It. Ex: "The dog bit its tail." 21) Explained in the future This is a personal preference. Please refrain from using sentences like "Prof. Metts went on to explain the excesses of being a writer." and use "Prof. Metts explained the excesses of being a writer." 22) Numbers ALL single digit numbers are spelled out. Ex.: one, two, three, four...etc. Unless you are telling the time (i.e. 4 p.m. vs. four p.m.) or some cases of money (example to come). 23) Admit You can only admit something. You cannot admit to something. Wrong: "The group admitted to being inexperienced in music." Better: "The group admitted being inexperienced in music." 24) That Go through your story and highlight every "that" wherever it is used. If the sum exceeds 30, cut it down to 20 total (based on a 500-word story). Give or take. We should use "that" as little as possible; it is only strictly necessary where a sentence/phrase will not make sense otherwise. 25) MONTHS--straight from the AP style guide: When used with a specific date, abbreviate month name. Do not separate only a month and year with a comma, unless the phrase refers to a month, day and year. EX: January 1972 was a cold month. Jan. 2 was the coldest day of the month. Jan. 2, 1972 was the target day. It was Friday, Jan. 3, when the accident occurred. 26) TITLES--may vary; see the AP style guide. 27) Ending Punctuation: Please do not end quotes with exclamation points (!) or with multiple question marks (??) because, although the subject may have sounded as though he needed the added emphasis, punctuation of this kind is not generally accepted in journalism. Sorry, but for now, stick to the boring old single period (.) and comma (,). 28) Passive verbs and Helping verbs: Don't use them. Please. Wrong: "We're keeping them from having to use the bathroom by restricting the water supply. This is an option they haven't have had recently." Better: "We're keeping them from using the bathroom by restricting the water supply. This is an option they haven't had recently." 29) MONEY--may vary; see the AP style guide. 30) -TH, -ND, -RD (NUMERICAL PLACES)--may vary; see the AP style guide.
31) Affect vs. Effect Something can have an effect: Bad test scores are the effect of not doing one's homework. Something can affect something else: Leaving my homework undone affected my test scores. Once again, thank you everyone for your hard work! I will update this as necessary. Good night!! Elise L. Arvidson Editor-in-Chief
Published on Jan 3, 2011