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Asta’s Annotations: Editing Tips for Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writers

Asta's Annotations

Today I thought I would cover three of the common editing queries I see from science fiction and fantasy writers.
1) World and Race Names
The common issue here appears to be whether or not to capitalise. My advice is to follow standard English conventions, unless you have a strong reason not to do so. In either case, the real key is consistency. Don’t swap and change from chapter to chapter; make a decision on your preference and stick to it. Here is an example based on common English usage, followed by a fantasy rendering.

In Denmark, many Danes enjoy eating traditional Danish food.
In Teludazi, many Teludazians enjoy eating traditional Teludazian food.

LGBT Names & Pronouns2) Pronouns
What if your alien race does not have a male–female divide but rather some kind of gender fluidity, or even no gender? Here I would say the same rules apply as with trans stories. Feel free to make up your own pronouns, but set them in stone early, ensure they are easily understood and don’t result in incomprehensible sentences, and then… consistency, consistency, consistency. An editor is unlikely to raise objects so long as they can see your intent.
3) Ship Names
The third question I see come up again and again is how to format ship names in prose and dialogue. Now, this will apply whether your vessel is a sail boat, a cruise liner, or a space ship, and the answer is to italicise. However, take care not to italicise possessives. Please see the example below.

They boarded the Mayflower at night. The Mayflower’s decks are solid gold.

Have any further questions about formatting or editing your sci-fi manuscript? If so, write them in a comment and I’ll reply either individually or as part of a future post. Until next time….


Author Pic 2015

Asta’s Annotations is a monthly column in which author and editor Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J. Markus) discusses the world of publishing, offering tips and tricks to help budding authors submit the best possible manuscript.
Asta Idonea was born in England, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.
Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!
As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theater, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel; all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing. She is never found too far from her much-loved library/music room.

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