Be Consistent!

120822_consistency-is-key_500_youanew1-300x300Have you ever heard someone refer to writing as elegant. It’s orderly and graceful. It flows.

By adding elegance to your writing, you can turn clear, precise, but clunky prose into a musical composition.

Elegance gives your writing a tangible feeling of beauty. It makes people say wow. Elegance isn’t just the wording, but the way it is presented.

Is your style disciplined and orderly, or is it inconsistent? Presentation elegance requires consistency from the beginning of your novel to the end.

When you use dashes, do you leave spaces between the words or not?

  •  second-handed
  • second – handed

When you write titles of books, do you italicize or enclose using quotation marks?

  • Little Women
  • “Little Women”
  • ‘Little Women’

Do you use the oxford comma to separate the last item in a list?

  • She brought apples, bananas, and grapes to the picnic.
  • She brought apples, bananas and grapes to the picnic.

When you use numbers, do you spell them out using letters or simply write them out?

  • twenty-seven
  • 27

When you abbreviate countries, do you use periods following the letters or leave them out?

  • U.K. vs UK
  • U.S. vs US

I think you’re getting the picture. None of the above examples are wrong. Just remember, however you decide to express yourself in writing, be consistent.

Something to think about.

-Jan R

Be Consistent!

9 thoughts on “Be Consistent!

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    Liked by 1 person

  2. In the first two sets, there are errors. It’s never correct to write book titles inside quotation marks. It’s never correct to leave a space on either side of a hyphen in a compound word. (Using numerals instead of spelling out numbers is an Associated Press Stylebook thing, intended for journalism rather than fiction. It’s not wrong, as such, but there are times when it’s not appropriate.)

    I understand and agree with the point of this post, though: if there is more than one correct way to write something, pick one and stick with it. As a fiction editor, I’ve run into all sorts of consistency issues: the author capitalizes a word in some places but not others (and it’s not due to a difference in context), or uses a hyphen sometimes but not always for a particular compound word… and trying to get some of ’em to create (and share with their copyeditor!) a “bible” with their preferred spellings and whatnot is next to impossible.

    Liked by 1 person

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