Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Writer’s Checklist

Before you send off that article, manuscript, or other chunk of your writing to someone else to read, do yourself a favor and run down this checklist.

  • Replace two spaces with one between all end-of-sentence punctuation. Don't use double spaces between sentences, it's a practice that is leftover from typewriters. All word processing and page layout software adds an appropriate amount of space after a period; adding two spaces just messes things up.

  • Run your spell-check program one more time, and double-check each questionable word with a widely accepted dictionary. This is especially important for documents using medical terms.

  • Check commonly mishyphenated prefixes and suffixes, such as pro, pre, post, anti, and non. Use The Chicago Manual of Style as your guide. Some healthcare publications may ask you to use the APA Style Guide.

  • Check that all numbers dates, times, and numbers have been handled according to The Chicago Manual of Style or similar guide.

  • Make sure you've noted sources for all clearly identifiable facts.

  • Check the spelling of names and proper nouns with a widely accepted resource. Encyclopedia.com provides content from more than 100 encyclopedias and dictionaries, including the Columbia Encyclopedia.