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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Authorship: Punctuating, Running Heads, and Clearing Out Garbage

Below you will see an example of some tips I remind myself with relating to a fiction piece I am working on at any given time. These self-imposed rules may vary between stories, but consistency within each separate work is the intended goal. I just keep a list like this posted on my whiteboard next to me.

It is a great idea to gather as many tips relating to this process as possible and compare them all together to come up with your style, yes... your style.

I do not use a running head. I live in Europe and one would be hard-pressed to ever find running heads cluttering up every page of a literary piece like paper wrappers in a gutter on the street. I believe it is an American/USA Big-6 kind of thing for the most part, and many Indie publishers have fallen prey to using them for the only purpose of appearing more professional. Running heads are considered navigational tools.

As one can observe, J.K. Rowling's recent book does not contain a running head:


I have found foreign (i.e. American) authors' works containing a running head here in the library in Norway, but none in other European authors' works.

On to the list...

Do things (act them out) and add necessary narration for action rather than describe it only.

Commas between adjectives.

Watch - Passive Voice (only relating to the subject unless a literary point is being poetically emphasized.

Watch - Adverbs: He said with fervor


Antecedents: He/She – use only if clearly identified.

Check essential and nonessential elements of sentence structures. That / Which.

Ellipsis:  Fading conversations & Thoughts

Em Dash/Double Dash:  Interrupted conversation

Italics:  Thoughts

Extra blank line:  When starting a dream and at the end of the dream

Multiple dashes:  A change in scene - Separate days

Diary entries:  Single quote mark  

Book/Bible/Famous quotes: Single quotes  

Dream: Italics w/ appropriate quote marks included

Thoughts: Italics w/ no quote marks

Remember - this is only an example of a guide list I created and used. Others may have alternate rules. Check your country's norms and practices as well as your market area and adjust accordingly.

Happy Writing!

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