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Farrago Style Guide

Friday, 10 January, 2014

Refer to this guide when writing for Farrago in 2014.

DRAFTING

  • Try not to write really long sentences. As a rule, think twice about any sentence longer than 25 words.
  • Use a spellchecker, but make sure it’s set to Australian English (or, at a pinch, British English).
  • Some of the grammar suggestions given by Microsoft Word are a little fascist. Don’t take everything it says as gospel on this front, but if the green, squiggly line is there, think twice about what you’ve written.
  • READ ALOUD WHAT YOU’VE WRITTEN BEFORE YOU SUBMIT IT. You’ll be amazed at how many errors you pick up by doing this simple thing.

Other questions to ask yourself:

  • What’s the general point of your piece? Why did you write it? In what sentence, what are you trying to say?
  • Have you made a decision as to whether your piece is a research piece or an opinion piece? There’s nothing more frustrating than reading an opinion piece in disguise.
  • Does your piece flow? Is it easy to see how you got from one point to the next?
  • Is any statement you can’t back up clearly marked as opinion?

GENERAL POINTS TO REMEMBER

  • Stick to the word limit! We know your essays get 10 per cent leeway but sometimes 10 per cent extra will not fit on our page.
  • Email us ASAP if, for whatever reason, you can’t get your submission in on time (or at all). We won’t be mad, we just need to know.
  • Pitch articles before you write them (by emailing us at farragomagazine2014[at]gmail.com). It’d suck if we had to reject your piece because someone else had already written it.

SPACING

  • Only one space should come after a full stop before a new sentence.
  • Use an unspaced em dash (that’s a long hyphen) except for composite words, i.e. “I love ice-cream—except when it’s meat flavoured.” On a Mac, you can type an unspaced em dash by holding Shift + Option and then typing a dash. On a PC, it’ll just happen magically if you type one word, two dashes, and then the next word, like so: *word*–*word*. If that doesn’t work, hold in Alt while typing the numbers “0151”. Don’t ask why, but that seems to do the trick.

LANGUAGE

  • Be mindful of using Australian English when you write, i.e. use “s” instead of “z” in words like “organise” or “analyse”, use “our” rather than “or” for “flavour” or “honour”, and “re” for “theatre” and “centre”.
  • If you have a word or two in another language, italicise unless the words are in common use in English.

NUMBERS

  • Numbers lower than 10 are spelt in full (three, seven, etc.) while numbers greater than and including 10 are given as numerals (14, 74, 295, etc.).
  • Commas are included between every 3rd/4th digit (5,025,462 or 4,127, etc.).
  • If very large, non-round numbers are too cumbersome to be written, a combination of words and numbers is acceptable (e.g. 2.87 billion).
  • When opening a sentence, a number should always be expressed in words (e.g. Twenty-five students attended the launch).

ABBREVIATIONS

  • The abbreviations i.e. and e.g. are not italicised, used with full stops and require no proceeding commas.
  • The abbreviation etc. is not italicised.
  • Acronyms should be introduced in full the first time they appear, followed by the acronym in brackets. The acronym may be used unexplained from then on, e.g. Farrago is affiliated with the Retroactive Asbestos Dominion (RAD). RAD has many other affiliated members.

QUOTES

  • Avoid “part quotes” in journalism. “Full quotes are more journalistic in style,” bleat the Farrago editors.

QUOTATION MARKS

  • “Double inverted commas” are always used for quoted speech, e.g. “I hate you!” said Torkwan.
  • Single inverted commas are only used for quotations within quotations, e.g. “My friend said, ‘Love comes from outer space.’ I don’t think I believe him,” said Joseph.
  • End of sentence punctuation is only within quotation marks for fully quoted sentences. It’s outside for everything else, including phrases, incomplete sentences, ironic references, etc.

E.g. The professor said that gastronomy classes “may be offered to students next year”.

E.g. “We’re planning a reunion tour,” the lead singer said. “It’s going to be rad.”

CAPITAL LETTERS

  • If in doubt use lower case unless it looks absurd. —The Economist Style Guide
  • A capital letter is used to mark titles and honorific names in direct address, but usually not when indirectly mentioned e.g. “Thank you, Professor Khan”; Khan was a professor of political science at UWA.
  • The first word of a piece of speech is capitalised, e.g. the minister asked, “Why haven’t you any money?” In the case where a quotation is interrupted and then resumed, the first word of the second fragment is not capitalised, e.g. “Why,” asked the minister, “haven’t you any pants?”
  • “Federal” doesn’t need to be capitalised in reference to the federal government. “Government” and “parliament” are only capitalised when they are a part of a formal or abbreviated specific title, e.g. The Australian Government has declared vs. This government has declared; The government has declared. “Commonwealth” is always capitalised, as it only refers to the Commonwealth of Australia (the federation), or the Commonwealth of Nations (formally the British Empire).
  • Regarding points of the compass, only capitalise when an abbreviation, e.g. north is Nth. Do not capitalise in other cases–the northern suburbs are radical!; I am a western lass, etc. In the case of the directional point also being a proper noun, capitalise, e.g. North Africa, South America.

DATES & TIMES

  • Dates are written out as: Numeral (space) Month (space) Year (e.g. 24 April 2005). Don’t use ‘the’ and ‘of’ in dates, unless the date begins a sentence, then use words (e.g. The first of January heralded a new year).
  • Decades are given as apostrophe, numeral and “s” (e.g. the ‘80s were fun for everyone!).
  • Years are given in numerals (e.g. 1936, 2008).
  • If precision is required, times are given as, e.g. 6:37 pm, 3:21 am.

TITLES

  • Titles of books, films, journals, magazines (including Farrago), video games, plays, albums, etc. are italicised (e.g. Revolver is so much better than Let It Be).
  • Titles of sub-sections within these things, i.e. chapters, journal articles, songs, etc. are given in single inverted commas (e.g. Revolver is so much better than Let It Be, but I really like ‘Get Back’).
  • Artist names are always capitalised and never italicised (e.g. Iron Maiden are grossly superior to Sepultura).
  • The titles of websites and blogs should be capitalised but not italicised (Facebook, Google, Stuff White People Like).

RESEARCH AND SOURCES

  • For features and news work in particular, we expect pieces with at least some background research, quotes from relevant sources and fact checking to be done.
  • Please don’t be intimidated by this! Your editors have all been in the position of having to approach scary strangers on and off campus for interviews—it’s really not that bad, plus we can help you out, including suggesting people to talk to and holding your hand through interviews. This extra little step makes articles appear more legit, and makes you look much cooler and more professional in the process. Email us at farragomagazine2014[at]gmail.com or drop in to the office to chat if you’re unsure what your article needs.
  • For news and features pieces, try to have at least two significantly different sources as a rule of thumb.

SUBMITTING YOUR PIECES

We get a lot of content sent in for each edition. Please send us files compatible with Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx). Please name your files according to our guidelines so that we don’t lose your piece.

Name documents according to this format: DESCRIPTION OF PIECE.EDITION.YOUR NAME

eg. Melbored.edition1.KevinHawkins.docx

Don’t submit work with generic document titles like “Farrago article”, “News piece”, “Book review”.

Writers don’t have to worry about providing their own headlines, but if you have an idea for a title, suggest it.