Last week, we finally got the 2012 AP Stylebooks in the newsroom where I work. Those of you who don’t work at a newspaper may not realize what a momentous occasion this was — the stylebook is the bible of the newsroom, setting the rules for everything from capitalization and punctuation to whether cellphone is one word (it is, for newspapers). We’d been working with old out of date ones, and there have been a lot of changes over the past few years. It was like Christmas. Having the new books made us, or at least me, positively giddy.
The strict rules newspaper reporters and editors are supposed to follow — the AP Style rules — have a purpose. They are there for clarity, because the most important thing in newspaper writing it being sure that your readers understand what you’re saying.
I’ve often thought how much that is true for fiction writing as well. While there is a lot more leeway for a fiction writer, if the writer doesn’t follow some basic rules of grammar, punctuation and style, the message gets muddied, the writing is weaker and the reader may just not get it.
I’ve always felt my journalism training was a great foundation for my fiction writing “career.” While it took me some time to realize I could break out a little — for instance, make up quotes because the people did not exist — the overall effect was to try to make sure what I was writing was what I meant to write. That the reader got what I was trying to say.
It all comes down to one thing, whether it’s a newspaper story or a mystery novel — tell the truth and tell it well and you’ve done your job.
- Linda Shenton Matchett is part of a moderated panel discussion, Wine and Words, on the future of books and other… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 23 hours ago
- Leigh Perry's (also known as Toni L.P. Kelner) Japanese edition of THE SKELETON TAKES A BOX, the second in her Fami… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 23 hours ago
- 2018 McIlvanney Prize longlist announced for Scottish crime writing. bloodyscotland.com/announcements/… 23 hours ago
- RT @FMcNamaraAuthor: Thanks to New England @NEBookFair and @Leslie_Wheeler and friends and family for a great Launch celebration for Deat… 1 day ago
- RT @FMcNamaraAuthor: @SINCnational Death at Selig Studio great fun event at New England @NEBookFair last night. With @Leslie_Wheeler https:… 1 day ago
- RT @Jane_Willan: Join me today at the Provincetown Public Library. I will be signing copies of The Shadow of Death. https://t.co/PNiwGvWN… 2 days ago
- What are your favorite tips for marketing a book? Did you bookmark any that were online and really great? Share the… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 3 days ago
CategoriesAwards Barbara Ross Beth Kanell Blog Summary Book promotion Carlotta Carlyle Conferences Craft Crime Bake Dogs Edith Maxwell Editing Em Moore Event Recap G.M. Malliet Genre Guppies Hallie Ephron Hank Phillippi Ryan Interview J.P. Choquette Judy Copek Kate Flora Lea Wait Libraries Linda Barnes Lisa Haselton Marketing Maureen Milliken Member News Members Michele Dorsey Mo Walsh Nancy Gardner Not Quite Twenty Questions Of Interest Opinion Pat Remick Pauline Alldred Ray Anderson Readers Rosemary Harris SinCNE Social Media Speakers' Bureau Uncategorized Upcoming Events Writers Writing Writing challenges and contests Writing lessons Writing resources Young Adult