Traditional authors, journalists, and those in academia usually follow their organization’s or publisher’s chosen style guide. But if you’re an independent author, blogger, or business owner, you can decide which style guide is best for your writing. Today’s post provides an overview of the “big four” style guides in American English: The Associated Press Stylebook (AP … [Read more...] about Which Style Guide Is Best for You?
Fiction writers are often encouraged to write with reckless abandon—just write, write, write . . . drink a lot of coffee . . . and then write some more. I’m sure many fantastic novels, poems, and screenplays have emerged from this overly caffeinated do-it-now technique. But as business writers, we are more successful when we take the time to prepare before doing any actual … [Read more...] about Seven Preparation Tips for Effective Business Writing
“What Is a Style Guide” defined style guides and explained their purpose. Today’s post offers suggestions to help you decide when you should—and shouldn’t—create a custom style instead of following your primary style guide when dealing with an atypical writing issue. In this case, an atypical issue can be anything from the capitalization of product descriptions to the … [Read more...] about When Should You Use a Custom Writing Style Instead of a Style Guide?
At the end of my last post, “Block Quotations, Part 3—Block Quotation Issues and Concerns,” I mentioned that my next post would outline valid reasons to (gasp!) ignore your style guide. However, I have decided to put that topic on hold until next week in order to offer a brief primer on the definition and purpose of style guides. What Is a Style Guide? Writing style guides … [Read more...] about What Is a Style Guide?
In a recent post, I explained that footnotes provide supplementary information such as commentary, quotations, and suggestions for further research. Footnotes can also document the sources cited in your text; however, that job frequently falls to bibliographies and reference pages rather than footnotes. While bibliographies and reference pages are very similar, they do serve … [Read more...] about The Difference between Bibliographies and Reference Pages
In the world of nonfiction writing, there are four primary style guides that explain everything from proper abbreviation usage to number formatting. However, we're not limited to those guides; in fact, there are many alternative style guides that may meet your needs as standalone resources or as complements to your chosen primary guide. Primary Style Guides First, let’s look … [Read more...] about Alternative Style Guides
Last week's post discussed the benefits of style guides for business writing. Today, I'll look at the individual topics you may want to include in your own guide. But first, I'd like to share a quick disclaimer: Your guide should be an expression of your business goals, strategies, and yes, style. Therefore, it should be customized to your needs. There's no reason to bloat your … [Read more...] about In-House Style Guides for Small Businesses, Part 2— Selecting Topics
As a freelance copy editor and writer, I frequently talk with business owners who are overwhelmed and frustrated by the time-intensive process of creating new content, including marketing material, web copy, and blog posts. If your business is feeling a similar pinch, consider creating an in-house style guide that answers your most common grammar, format, and style … [Read more...] about In-House Style Guides for Small Businesses, Part 1— Benefits and Preparation