Wondrous Item auto-reject advice #10: Item isn't Spell-Checked or Proofread


RPG Superstar™ 2011 General Discussion

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Dark Archive

I've noticed that gamers tend to use 'pour over ancient tomes' instead of 'pore over,' which makes me wonder what exactly they are pouring...

Neil Spicer wrote:

Serial Commas:

** spoiler omitted **

Spacing:
** spoiler omitted **

Wow, I've been doing both of those things totally wrong! I get annoyed when I have to add the extra space between sentences back in, because the formatting cuts it out on Word, and I vaguely remember being taught that the last comma was superfluous, and not necessary, in long strings of stuff ending with 'X and Y.'

Thanks Neil!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

No problem. Some of these things I picked up from early forays into the world of freelancing and snippets of insight I picked up by attending various seminars at conventions and stuff. But Sean (in typical fashion) has really gone the extra mile in spelling it out for the freelancers Paizo uses on their products. In the end, we're all that much stronger for it. And, by that, I mean our writing is stronger because of it.

Contributor

Set wrote:
Wow, I've been doing both of those things totally wrong! I get annoyed when I have to add the extra space between sentences back in, because the formatting cuts it out on Word,

Paizo and Wizards don't use double spaces for anything. I suspect that's pretty common in USA publishing.

Set wrote:
and I vaguely remember being taught that the last comma was superfluous, and not necessary, in long strings of stuff ending with 'X and Y.'

It can be superfluous, but often it makes the sentence more clear. In any case, Paizo and Wizards use that extra comma (called a "serial comma"). I suspect that's pretty common in USA publishing.

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9

gbonehead wrote:

heheheh ... You know, I was thinking that as I wrote it.

Let's just say that the judges have virtually no control over which of the contestants they'll have to work with once they've opened the gates and let some small subset of the unwashed masses in.
...

I think the judges comments quite often (not always) direct what the rest of think or vote. In my case it did, though for one of them, it was just the opposite of what the judges said :)
Sean K Reynolds wrote:


It can be superfluous, but often it makes the sentence more clear. In any case, Paizo and Wizards use that extra comma (called a "serial comma"). I suspect that's pretty common in USA publishing.

my emphasis.

I was under the impression that English grammar is one of the few to ever drop the serial comma. The increase of late, I was told, was a sign of a globalization. :) True or not?

hmmm... globalization points to the increase of serial commas in English grammar. ...? i)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Styles change over time. They also vary from company to company, and industry to industry. A lot of people learn style from older references (Strunk and White or AP Style Guide) which may be correct for one industry, but incorrect in some situations for a particular publisher.

I'm fairly certain Paizo has a style guide that has evolved since it's days as a Magazine publisher. I'm sure they give it to any freelancers who get a contract. I know SJ Games has a style guide for download somewhere on their site, but it is geared toward a different style of product.

For purposes of the contest the judges aren't going to ding you for not following perfect Paizo style. If there are multiple correct ways to do something then either will be fine I'm sure.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

deinol wrote:
Styles change over time. They also vary from company to company, and industry to industry. A lot of people learn style from older references (Strunk and White or AP Style Guide) which may be correct for one industry, but incorrect in some situations for a particular publisher.

Our house style mostly adheres to the Chicago Manual of Style, except, of course, where it doesn't. (But it's way closer to Chicago Style than AP Style.)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

Vic Wertz wrote:
Our house style mostly adheres to the Chicago Manual of Style, except, of course, where it doesn't. (But it's way closer to Chicago Style than AP Style.)

Chicago style? They come after you with a typewriter you go after them with a word processor?

Dark Archive

I, as well, was taught to use 2 spaces after each sentence in typing class and in a lot of my English classes, and I still have this habit. It's good to know that this is no longer the norm (at least in the circles that I hope to participate in someday), but after typing that way for most of my life it will be a difficult thing to un-learn.

As far as the serial comma goes, that was also the way I was taught to write, so I'm happy that is not something I will have to train myself to do.

Great advice, both for this contest and for writing in general. Many thanks.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Set wrote:
... I vaguely remember being taught that the last comma was superfluous, and not necessary, in long strings of stuff ending with 'X and Y.'

"For support and inspiration in writing this book, I'd like to thank my parents, the Lord Jesus, and the Virgin Mary."

versus

"For support and inspiration in writing this book, I'd like to thank my parents, the Lord Jesus and the Virgin Mary."

Sometimes, it matters.

My favorite comma: "Let's eat, Grandma." versus "Let's eat Grandma." Punctuation saves lives.

Dark Archive

Chris Mortika wrote:
Set wrote:
... I vaguely remember being taught that the last comma was superfluous, and not necessary, in long strings of stuff ending with 'X and Y.'

"For support and inspiration in writing this book, I'd like to thank my parents, the Lord Jesus, and the Virgin Mary."

versus

"For support and inspiration in writing this book, I'd like to thank my parents, the Lord Jesus and the Virgin Mary."

Sometimes, it matters.

My favorite comma: "Let's eat, Grandma." versus "Let's eat Grandma." Punctuation saves lives.

...mmmmm, Grandma soup.


I find it helpful to read my work out loud to catch many different kinds of errors. There is something about the process that makes errors jump out at me that I completely glaze over while reading the same work silently.

It is far from fool-proof but if you don't have another person to edit for you, it's a good technique.

Scarab Sages

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
There's really no excuse to have typos in electronic documents;...

Oh, you just know that statement's going to come back to bite you in the butt, don't you?

I do think it's safe to say "There's really no excuse to have typos in electronic documents of 300 words or less"...


Neil Spicer wrote:
If you can't focus and get everything right in a simple, straightforward 200- to 300-word wondrous item submission, how can any publisher be expected to trust you with 20,000 words? You're more likely to make their job harder as they have to spend too much time correcting all your grammar to make anything publishable out of it.

I've known many different kinds of people, and worked in many different industries. One industry I've worked in is security, and it provides an excellent paradigm for my philosophy of trust.

Many people will shave the edges of what they're expected to do, justifying it to themselves as "oh it's just a little thing, doesn't matter." My philosophy is that if I can't trust you in a little thing, where the stakes are low, then how can I possibly trust you in a big thing where you have a lot to lose or gain?

My iconic example is a night-shift security officer who gets caught filching from the candy bowl in someone's private office. It's set out for other people, right? Not at night, and if I can't trust you to resist a temptation of less than a dollar...

If I can't trust you to get a submission right when it's less than three hundred words...


For an amusing point about the serial comma, see this clip from the Colbert Report, around time mark 2:40.

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