I wrote such classics as, “See Dad run,” and “See Spot sit.” The idea of being able to invoke your thoughts so anyone could understand them was something magical.
Another aspect that always interested me is the power of the format. Plays have their own format, as do letters, essays, articles and lyrics to songs.
Poems alone have multiple formats, depending on if it is a prose, haiku, limerick or standard four-line poem.
In grade school at Pioneer Elementary (may she rest in peace), I learned the basics: nouns, verbs and adjectives. If I was feeling real crazy I would sometimes throw in an adverb here and there.
As I progressed into high school and college I mainly focused on papers. The format one uses for those is often debated as well.
In college some professors insisted I write with the Modern Language Association format while others wanted the papers done with the Chicago Style format.
Since working here at Feather Publishing I’ve had to switch to the AP (Associated Press) format, which has more strict rules than a nunnery. Everything I learned before has to be thrown out the window as I relearn how to write.
I still make plenty of mistakes, which I’m sure the editing team here truly despises me for, but I’m slowly learning all the rules.
An example of AP format is “first” through “ninth” are spelled out while “10th” and up use Arabic numerals. Rather than two, there is only one space in between sentences. Capitalization is frowned upon and to be used sparingly. The AP style can be very confusing at times.
Of course using a specific style makes sense. It allows all news to read the same and gives a consistency to it.
However, following this many rules can sometimes be aggravating.
I never thought I would want to put two spaces in between sentences so badly in my life. When I am writing at home I relish the opportunity to put two spaces in between sentences. Sometimes I’ll even put three. That’s about as far as I get in being a rebel.
I’m sure this level of aggravation will eventually fade, though. Once I get used to something it becomes second nature.
Until then, however, one might find me at my desk quietly grumbling to myself as I try to restrain myself from submitting a two-sentence story with 50 spaces in between.
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