Mini Style Guide: An Introduction to Good Writing and Manuscript Presentation

Mini Style Guide: An Introduction to Good Writing and Manuscript Presentation

Mini Style Guide: An Introduction to Good Writing and Manuscript Presentation

Mini Style Guide: An Introduction to Good Writing and Manuscript Presentation


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An easy-to-use guide for writers, editors and students

The Mini Style Guide covers the fundamentals of good writing and explains how to present a manuscript for publication. It is written in a direct and accessible manner suitable for all ages and backgrounds, and assumes no prior knowledge of the writing trade or the publishing industry. Explanations are accompanied by plentiful 'real life' examples, and each chapter opens with a humorous quotation. The book consists of three parts.

Part 1 covers the essence of good writing, both factual and non-factual. It covers the principles of Plain English; words that are often misused or misspelled; and common grammatical and punctuation errors. Differences between Australian, British and American English are explored; inclusive writing is defined; and copyright law as it applies to writers is clarified.

Part 2 explains the technicalities of how to present a manuscript. It examines the advantages and disadvantages of working exclusively on computer and working partly on hard copy; outlines the structure of a manuscript and the order of its various components; and explains how to compile a contents page to reflect the heading hierarchy. It explains how to treat quotations, lists, abbreviations and numbers; offers advice on presenting illustrations, tables, charts and graphs; and discusses bibliographical material and indexes.

Part 3 explores possible publishing avenues; that is, commercial publishers, literary agents and self-publishing. It defines the role of each; explains which one is best suited to which type of writing; and includes advice on how to write a synopsis, select sample chapters and draft a covering letter.

The Appendix contains templates of standard forms and letters that can be photocopied and tailored to suit individual needs.

The Glossary contains commonly used terms to do with writing, publishing and printing.

The Bibliography contains sources used and recommended.

Foreword by Robert Fairhead, book reviewer at Writing NSW.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780648002055
Publisher: Black Quill Press
Publication date: 10/15/2018
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.55(d)

About the Author

Denise O'Hagan is an editor by trade. Born and raised in Italy, she lived in the UK before emigrating to Australia in 1990. She holds an MA in Bibliography and Textual Criticism, and worked in book publishing in London (Collins, Heinemann, Routledge) and Sydney (Harcourt Brace, Cambridge University Press, State Library of NSW). In 2015 she set up her own imprint, Black Quill Press, to offer editorial services to assist independent writers.
A member of the Australian Institute of Professional Editors, she is proud to have been short-listed for the inaugural Rosanne Fitzgibbon Editorial Prize, 2017, for her work on her late mother's novel Jerome & His Women.
She has also published fiction and poetry.

Robert Fairhead is editor and writer at and book reviewer for Writing NSW.

Table of Contents



PART ONE: Good Writing

Styles of writing

Plain English

Commonly misused words

Variant spellings

British and American English

Tricky singulars and plurals

The perils of possession

Punctuation pitfalls

Writing inclusively



PART TWO: Manuscript Presentation

The role of the computer

Correct sequence of parts

Style sheets


Contents list


Proper names and titles

Literary and artistic works

Technology-related terms

Abbreviations, contractions and acronyms


Times and dates



Tables, charts and graphs

Bibliographies and references

In-text citations, footnotes and endnotes


PART THREE: Publishing Options

Author’s checklist

Traditional publishing

Self-publishing or independent publishing

Appendix: Standard forms and letters

Glossary: Common terms in printing and publishing

Bibliography: Dictionaries and recommended resources


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