Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Old Habits Die Hard


O.K…I promised I would keep you posted on the progress of publishing my first book.  I’m happy to say that we’re in the final edits of @Home in Dubai…Getting Connected Online and on the Ground (I hope).  Thing is… even though I’ve been writing all my life, this is a whole new realm for me and getting used to a particular publisher’s ‘style guide’ takes a little time and effort.  It’s significantly different than writing Associated Press (or Canadian Press) style for journalists or PR releases, or if you’re a business writer, whatever style you follow. 

More than just British versus US Spellings

I grew up in Canada and then lived in the US for 14 years and now, working as a freelancer for an international clientele, I’m used to switching back and forth from British to US English (depending on client preference and target audience).  But, it goes much deeper than that.  See the ellipsis I used above?  I was always used to no space after the…but, my publisher’s style guide specifies a space… like this.

What I’m getting hung up on at the moment is quotation marks.  I honestly didn’t realise (note the ‘s’ versus ‘z’ since I’m writing with British English) that with British style single quote marks go inside of punctuation marks, not on the outside, as I’ve always done.  One other issue that took some getting used to is that the style guide called for only one space after a full stop, not two, like I’ve always done.  And then there are those pesky ‘en’ and ‘em’ dashes.  For some reason, I’m having a hard time getting them to appear properly so I’ve just gone through and removed most of them by re-working sentence structures.

Lessons learned so far

Lesson #1
The important thing is to know what the required style is for the particular genre you’re writing in and make sure you follow it.  It’s certainly an argument for sticking to one type of writing but I sure do like variety so it’s going to be a tug of war for a while, I think.   

Lesson #2
What this experience has shown me is that I like the process of writing a book (and I am getting into the groove of my publisher’s style guide... she's been very patient) and I have the discipline to stick to a demanding writing schedule to get it done.

Lesson #3
No matter how old you are or how much experience you gather, you never stop learning.  That’s one of the many things I love about what I do.  I guess I’m just a lifelong learner.

So… bring it on!

...and watch for the launch of @Home in Dubai...Getting Connected Online and on the Ground, before the end of the year (published by Summertime Publishing). 
www.athomeindubai-gettingconnected.com

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