This Publisher’s Notes and References for Punctuation and Capitalization
In text editing we aim to be both consistent and only to change the author’s text where it seems necessary to avoid a glaring error. In consequence, we keep as close as possible to the author’s work. The Cheeky Possum text rhymes, so we have looked for practices acceptable in poetry, which offer greater latitude than prose.
We hope these notes are useful to encourage the exploration of writing style and rules. Text editing … ugh!
Arguments can be mounted that the opening sentence of The Cheeky Possum should be multiple sentences, but we find it a great introduction to Peter and only when he’s given us his substance, do we stop and digest it. Before coming to this conclusion, a number of articles published on the web were considered:
- The Run-on sentences paragraph of the article in The Huffington Post titled “These Famous Authors Made It Okay To Commit Grammar No-No’s”.
- In Stan Carey’s Sentence first blog, see “in fiction, poetry, and other imaginative literary forms you may occasionally encounter comma faults used deliberately to create special effects …”.
- The opening paragraph of Two Hussars by Leo Tolstoy: “Early in the nineteenth century, when there were as yet no railways or macadamized roads, no gaslight, no stearine candles, …” found in Wikisource.
On capitalization of the first word of a line in poetry, as exhibited in The Cheeky Possum, we cite Alberto Rios writing on the subject. Further, on our spelling of the word ‘capitalization’ in British and Australian English, we cite The Conversation article on the use of ‘ise’ and ‘ize’.
Should there always be a comma before quotes? Not necessarily according to the Sesquiotica blog. Apart from stand-alone, speech quoted sentences in The Cheeky Possum, all other speech can be viewed as anecdotal, broad-view description.
The Grammar Monster says, “There is a lot of leniency on the use of capital letters for quotations embedded in sentences. So we’ve allowed: He said ”hey now, this is proof, there’s hippos landing on my head!”. The rendering on the page gives the utterance a dreamy quality as of someone suddenly awoken.
There is an example of something described as, said, that is without quotation marks, that we have allowed. Its usage is immediate and climatic, and is the thought that Bridgette has, namely: look up there; it’s a possum on a wire. This we take not to be an utterance, but her reaction to the situation. To support this contention, we note that quoted dialogue follows this reaction.