sallyhanan’s blog

A writer’s blog

How to Punctuate Subdivided Vertical Lists (CMOS) January 22, 2012

Filed under: Editing,Writing — sallyhanan @ 7:20 pm
Tags: , ,

Bookmark and Share

When you have lists that are subdivided (outlines), you indent each subsequent division.* You can use both numbers and letters. If you have any runover lines, align them with the first word in that sentence. For example:
Employment will be given based on the ability to fulfill the job role of each of the employment opportunities** below:

1. Stercorarius

a. Collect all human waste.
b. Cart it to the edge of town.
c. Sell it to farmers to use as fertilizer.

2. Gymnasiarch

a. Oil and scrape the athletes.
b. Tidy up after wrestling matches.
c. Beat misbehaving youths.

3. Funeral clown

a. Dress up as the person who has just died.
b. Run alongside the corpse with other clowns, cracking jokes.
c. Dance and mimic the dead person.

According to the CMOS, always use the tab bar (on the left of your keyboard) rather than the space bar to make the indentation.

For a much longer list, the punctuation changes, e.g.

I. Yucky food

II. Delicious food

A. Vegetables

    1. Green stuff
    2. Other colored stuff

B. Fruit

    1. Bitter fruit
    2. Sweet fruit

a)      Green and red

(1)    Foreign imports
(2)    Domestic

(a)    Tomatoes
(b)   Apples

i)                    Granny Smith
ii)                   Golden Delicious

b)      Etc. . . .

The top three levels are set off by periods.
Every group is given one additional indent.
Each division and subdivision should contain at least two items.

The great thing about subdivided vertical lists is that you will probably never have to use them . . . unless you are unfortunate enough to have to write school/college papers. If that disaster befalls you this list will be of no help, because this is how you puntuate according to the CMOS, which is not the style for a school paper. Use the APA guide instead, and the MLA guide if you are submitting an electronic file.

**Many thanks to listverse for the strange job descriptions!

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

The Book is Written! Now What? December 14, 2011

Filed under: Editing,Writing — sallyhanan @ 5:34 pm
Tags: , , ,

So you’ve written your NaNoWriMo novel/book and you thought the hardest part was over. Let me be honest with you now . . . it was actually the easiest part.

Yes, I am a killjoy. Yes, such is the publishing industry. So what, exactly, do you have to do to get your work of art on bookshelves?

IMPERATIVE!
DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES start sending your manuscript out to agents. Every novel needs a beginning, middle and end; character flaws that prevent your hero from succeeding too early on in the story; character development; descriptive settings; humor, tragedy, mystery, etc.

Your first necessity is to find out if your book is any good. You can find out through:

Your mom
If you’ve never written anything before but your family loves it, this is not a guarantee that you have talent. No one who loves you is going to tell you to your face that your novel sucks. You need to show your baby to strangers.

Your friends
Your besties have read your book and they tell you it’s good but they aren’t raving. They have kind words and some suggestions, but they aren’t on the phone to their other besties telling them they absolutely MUST read your offerings. This is a CLUE that your book is only sort of good . . . or it’s total crap.

Strangers
These are the most honest of all (except for the trolls, who are despicable creatures who live under bridges and eat you when you try to cross over).

BOOK WRITING GROUPS – you submit a chapter a month and you must review the other writers’ chapters for them, or only one chapter from one writer is shared per month. This can be excruciatingly slow, and most writers love to slam your writing rather than build you up and point out the good parts. The benefit of a writing group is that it’s free.

DEVELOPMENTAL EDITORS – S/he will work with you, chapter by chapter, until your book gets to a good enough level to be published. Unless you have a very close friend who will do it for free, this can get expensive. Sometimes you can get lucky and find an editor who will edit in exchange for some other skill you have, like cleaning his guns or her toilets five times a week for the next year.

WEEKEND RETREATS – Bring the outline of your novel (with its main plot and subplots) to a writers’ retreat and get the instant feedback, advice and encouragement you can use to develop your story once you get home. Count on spending just under $1,000 between your flights, car rental, food and the retreat center.

ONLINE WRITING GROUPS – Usually you post your first chapter online and you must give a certain number of reviews on other novels before you can post the next one. Depending on the popularity of the site, this might be your best free option.

“But I don’t want to WAIT!” you whine. Believe me, you can whine all you like and it won’t make your book any better. What you need is a lot of patience and time. If you think about it realistically, your book can wait another few months to a year before it drops off the shelves into the hands of the frenzied masses. You really don’t want to embarrass yourself by attempting to fob off your half-baked novel—that hasn’t a touch of excellence added to it—on them. Or do you . . . ?

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

How to punctuate (simple) vertical lists April 4, 2010

Filed under: Editing — sallyhanan @ 12:12 pm
Tags: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

So many lists. So many ways to write them. Fortunately, punctuating them (in line with The Chicago Manual of Style) makes sense.

If you have a list with numbers, put a period after each number and capitalize each word.
1. Pen
2. Ink
3. Paper

When you are just listing things needed, all you need is a colon before the list. Don’t capitalize each line.
Include in your synopsis the following:
an introduction of the hero/heroine
a statement of his goals/motivations
the inciting incident
what stands in his way
the key elements of the story
the black moment
the MC’s epiphany

You can also put the above list in columns.

When you’re explaining the reasons for doing something, you can number and capitalize each point, but don’t end each one with a period if it is not a complete sentence.
Add ground flax seed to your food:
1. To lower your cholesterol
2. To add fiber to your diet
3. To improve digestion of your food

To get your teenager’s attention:
1. Make sure he knows you enjoy his company.
2. Look him in the eyes when he talks.
3. Validate his interest in things.

A vertical list should only be punctuated as a sentence if each item in the list needs to be emphasized.
The college student stated that
1. he was no longer going to follow in his father’s footsteps to manage the company;
2. he was quitting school to live as a homeless man for a year;
3. he had asked his father to give his inheritance, prematurely, to the local foundation for the homeless.

The punctuation would stay the same (in the above) if bullets were used instead of numbers.
                                                                                                                                  

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

How to accent words from your US keyboard March 4, 2010

Filed under: Editing,Technology tips — sallyhanan @ 3:15 pm

Bookmark and Share

Most of the English-typing world uses the QWERTY keyboard, but a problem with this is that foreign words that have been adopted into the English language can’t be accented properly, or can they?

“The QWERTY design is based on a layout designed by Christopher Latham Sholes in 1874 for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter and sold to Remington in the same year, when it first appeared in typewriters.” ~ Wikipedia

The QWERTY design has helped out typists a lot, but little things that mattered like umlauts and soft c’s (diacritical marks) weren’t easily reproducible. Since the US international layout came into being, though, this hasn’t been a problem.
                                                                                                                                        
To figure out how to add diacritical marks to your words, take a look at Microsoft Office’s list of keyboard shortcuts.

And for those of you who love to know banal words that you will never use unless you are trying to impress, here’s some stuff to add to your arsenal of pride.

Acute accent: á
Cedilla: ç
Circumflex: â
Diaeresis: ü
Grave accent: à
Tilde: ñ

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

How to punctuate run-in/horizontal lists February 24, 2010

Filed under: Editing,Writing — sallyhanan @ 1:11 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


Why punctuate lists?
Most of the time lists are personal and don’t need punctuation, but when it comes to writing lists for publication, you need to make sure you have your commas and colons in the right places.

Some general things to remember
All lines in a list should be more or less the same—a list of words/ a list of sentences/ a list of single items, etc.
Short lists don’t need to be written vertically.
Lists don’t need numbers or letters.
                                                                                                                                
If you use letters or numbers to list things horizontally, only begin your list with punctuation if the word before the list is a preposition (on, in, before, if, etc.) or a verb (action word).
Do your homework (a) as soon as possible, (b) with no distractions, and (c) on clean paper.

You’ll get no pocket money if you don’t write: (a) as soon as possible, (b) without distractions, and (c) on clean paper.

If you introduce the list with a clause, it should end with a colon before the list begins.
Here’s what you need to do your homework: (1) a quick start, (2) no distractions, and (3) clean paper.

                                                                                                                                
Each item on a list should be separated by a comma, but if a comma is needed internally in one or more of the items listed, each item should be separated by a semicolon.
You need to begin your homework as soon as you get home; not let anything distract you, like the music; and write on clean paper.

I thought for a while about the women on my husband’s hottie list: that tall redhead; the blonde, the one who holds that airgun between her teeth; and the brunette with the braces; and I decided they have nothing on me because I am loved for who I am, not for what I represent.
                                                                                                     
I much prefer vertical lists, and I love to use bullet points even more—they make lists look cleaner and more professional. There are other punctuation rules for vertical lists, though, and I’ll get to those in another post.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

A novel process—getting your novel published February 21, 2010

Filed under: Editing,Writing — sallyhanan @ 12:03 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

A novel is written. So many hours over coffee and chocolate and excuses to not do housework. It’s quite the deal, really. I should write another one. 🙂 But then . . .

First edit
Storyline—Does it make sense? Does it flow?
Characters—Are they believable? Are they likeable?
Length—Is it the required length for the genre?
Plot—Does the suspense/tension build?

Second edit
Drivel—Are there sections of pointless rambling?
Writing—Is every word necessary?
Chapters—Does every chapter end with a hook?

Third edit
Spelling—Is everything spelled correctly?
Punctuation/grammar—Are all my sentences complete, my apostrophes in the right places, and my periods frequent enough?

Fourth edit
Find a few friends who
a) are not close enough to me to care about disappointing me?
b) are kind enough to read the manuscript at all?

Fifth edit
Make almost all the changes my knowledgeable friends suggested without muttering some Hogwarts, um . . . blessing over them.

Query
Come up with a stunning paragraph that forces the agent/editor my manuscript will be sent to to stop popping caffeine pills and gasp in excitement.

Proposal
Make every word about my manuscript dazzle like a disco ball.
                                                                 
Mail
Send in the darn thing.

Wait
And wait
And wait

Get mail
Receive a form rejection letter
or a really nice and encouraging, but still a rejection, message.

And that’s when it’s time to rewrite my novel or start another one.

Personally, I think that’s how Amy Tan came up with the title The Joy Luck Club. It describes the writer’s life to perfection.

P.S. I wanted to insert this photo so badly but couldn’t do it in a hurry. Check out the disco ball lady here!

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

Hyphens—when to use them January 28, 2010

Filed under: Editing,Writing — sallyhanan @ 7:12 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Hyphens . . . who on earth came up with this idea?? Grammar rules are supposed to be solid rules, not vague ideas that writers can use when logic applies; but whoever said writers were logical?

Open compounds
Two or more words used as one adjective
The school bus driver started yelling.

Hyphenated compounds
Two or more words with a hyphen(s) before a noun
The well-fed child laughed his little head around the floor.

Closed/solid compound
Two words joined as one
The underfed child lay listlessly in the dirt.

So when should I use hyphens?
Most of the time, a sentence’s meaning will be completely clear when the adverbs and adjectives are placed after the noun in a sentence, so hyphens are not required. When adverbs and adjectives are used before the noun, you will probably hyphenate.
The cat was black and white.
The black-and-white cat played with his tail.

“It is never incorrect to hyphenate adjectival compounds before a noun” (CMOS, 7.86).

And when can’t I use hyphens?
If you have an adverb (a word describing an action word) ending in ly matched with an adjective, either before or after the noun.
He was a fascinatingly handsome man.
The man was fascinatingly handsome.

Is there any easy way to remember how this works?
You’ll just have to accept that some compounded words don’t follow the rules. What can you do about this? Buy the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and follow that, although . . . The Chicago Manual of Style will let some originally-hyphenated compounds slide if they are now widely accepted. The CMOS has a style guide for compounds, combining forms, and prefixes at the end of chapter seven.

And so we come back to the original suggestion for when to use hyphens—when it’s logical to do so. Capiche?

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

 
%d bloggers like this: