“The story is told that the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi had a ritual he performed on the first day of training. He would hold up a football, show it to the athletes who had been playing the sport for many years, and say, 'Gentlemen, … this is a football!' He talked about its size and shape, how it can be kicked, carried, or passed. He took the team out onto the empty field and said, “This is a football field.” He walked them around, describing the dimensions, the shape, the rules, and how the game is played.
This coach knew that even these experienced players, and indeed the team, could become great only by mastering the fundamentals. They could spend their time practicing intricate trick plays, but until they mastered the fundamentals of the game, they would never become a championship team.” (http://lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/of-things-that-matter-most?lang=eng#4)
I had just recently heard that story when I went to my first writer’s conference. I went choosing my classes carefully because though I had been writing, to myself, for myself all my life, writing to share; writing on a professional level would require further education. I attended to learn.
So the story of Vince Lombardi rattled around in my head when I attended Agent Kelly Mortimer’s class. (http://www.mortimerliterary.com/) She said in her class, “Show respect to your editor.”
Whether you are pre-published writer or a pro have your manuscript as clean as possible.
Weekly I will post some Manuscripts Basics, things we should all know but that often gets lost in the shuffle of life.
When you have your manuscript as clean as possible it shows respect to your editor.
One space after a period, question mark, exclamation point.
If you have been typing “old school” and have placed two spaces after your end sentence punctuation never fear. In Microsoft Word (if you use an Apple product you are on your own--sorry.) go to your editing tab, select replace in the find line enter a period and two spaces in the replace line put in a period and one space, select replace all.
NO spacing before or after a hyphen.
Use a comma, question mark or exclamation point in the sentence preceding an attribution
“You seemed to be channeling Cary Grant today,” Sophia said.
“Watch out!” Sophia called out.
“You weren’t bored talking shop with Mable?” she asked.
Use a comma after attribution when it comes before the sentence.
Sophia said, “You seemed to be channeling Cary Grant today.”
Format sentences as follows when you use an attribution in the middle of the statement.
“You seemed,” Sophia said, “to be channeling Gary Grant today.”
Use a period with a tag or beat.
“You seemed to be channeling Cary Grant today.” Sophia fiddled with the fringe of the throw pillow.
Used when you have a phrase or list.
Sophia went to the garden picking just three items: tomato, cucumber, and lettuce.
Use if the phrase after the colon is a long complicated sentence and denotes a different thought; capitalize the first word.
Sophia grew baby’s breath in her garden: it created a unifying affect in her mixed bouquets.
No space before or after. Use sparingly.
Place at the end of dialogue to show interruption.
When used to replace commas be consistent.
Correct: Sophia loved alpaca’s-they were so gentle-but many people found them funny looking.
Incorrect: Sophia loved alpaca’s-they were so gentle, but many people found them funny looking.
Used to show hesitation, omitted words, or a pause. Use sparingly.
Place spaces before and after when used mid sentence.
“Sophia this flower is … unusual.”
Use regular punctuation when ellipses are at the end of a sentence.
“So, what is on the agenda for the day?” Ryan asked.
“The market wraps up around two and then…,” she shrugged.
Use when a character shouts either verbally or mentally. Use sparingly and never more than one at a time.
Used when modifying a noun.
Correct: Sophia has a sixteen-year-old son.
Incorrect: Sophia’s son is sixteen-years-old.
Do not use after a “ly” word.
Sophia stepped into the sparsely furnished shack.
When a sentence ends in a word that has a period do not put another.
Along with running a cattle ranch, Bill had his D.V.M. His practice spanned the county.
Use to join a compound sentence. Use sparingly.
Sophia smelled the rose; it was heavenly.
Next time: Commas-there’s a whole lot to say about those buggers.