A quick cheat sheet for those who want to make the editor’s job easier. We don’t require that submissions follow these standards (though they certainly can). If we accept your story, we’ll apply these rules.
- Serial comma: Aka Oxford comma. Generally, put a , before the penultimate item in a list.
- Smart/curly quotes: We use them. Do a search and replace for ” and ‘ or use a macro.
- Italics: Don’t use underline or other styles for emphasis unless you specifically intend that style.
- Em dash: Don’t use two hyphens or an en dash. Up to you whether to put spaces before and after your em dash, but be consistent.
- # for scene breaks: Use a single # for scene breaks, not *, blank lines, etc. It’s up to you whether to have scene breaks, but we encourage them where appropriate.
- ” for dialogue: We see the argument for using ‘ for dialogue, but for the present, we use ” for main dialogue, and ‘ for quotes within dialogue.
- Single space after sentence: Put only one space after the end of a sentence.
- Use paragraph styles: Use paragraph styles. This makes it much easier for us and for you to quickly change the look of a piece.
- No hanging spaces: Don’t leave spaces between the last visible character and the paragraph mark, or before the first character in a paragraph.
- Spelling: We do insist on correct spelling, but we don’t care whether that’s British or American or a mix of both.