The Style Guide

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sturmadler
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The Style Guide

Post by sturmadler » Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:46 pm

Hi all,

We at The Keep Studios are close to publishing our first 3PP module, and we've been looking around to see if anyone had advice on editing. There are two things in the Style Guide that have us scratching our heads.

First, Un-dead: We think the intent here is that players should not take undead creatures for granted, but should actually think about their state. However, "un" is not a word. So hyphenating really doesn't make sense, and feels wrong next to the unhyphenated spellburn, spellcaster etc.

Also, google's spellcheck is awful, and doesn't recognize unhyphenated as a word. :(

Second, "pick a gender and stick with it". Initial reaction: Yes! I'm sick of political-correctness interfering with the flow of writing. After trying to do it: Crap, how do I know how often or whether or not to switch between male and female? How often do you guys change it up? Do you stick to one gender for an entire spell? For an entire chapter? For an entire book?

Thanks for your time, this is a fun game to play, and even more fun to create content for.

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Buttmonkey
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Re: The Style Guide

Post by Buttmonkey » Mon Aug 17, 2015 5:28 am

On the gender issue, I strongly recommend sticking with a single gender for something like a spell description. Switching gender in the middle of something that focused would only confuse the reader. Generally speaking, I don't think you have to stick to one gender for an entire chapter. I'd consider switching it up with each new example. There's nothing wrong with sticking to a single gender beyond that, but doing so more frequently will lead to chaos.

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Re: The Style Guide

Post by Rotten » Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:17 am

What style guide are you referring to?

Regarding gender, it can often be avoided. Instead of saying he, say "the caster", "the wizard".

Plus, I'll wager very few in the RPG industry care if you pick a gender and stick with it throughout the document. If you read the DCC core rulebook, you will note that Goodman uses "he" frequently. This is acceptable and flows the best. Leave it to higher academia to inject confusion and create a problem where none previously existed.

I don't understand your question about undead and hyphenation. It is acceptable to hyphenate to add clarity at times. An example is re-cover to distinguish it from the word recover. The correct spelling for undead is unhyphenated. This is the industry standard. Google is not always correct. I own a dictionary from 1933 and there are many words in it that Google does not recognize.

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Raven_Crowking
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Re: The Style Guide

Post by Raven_Crowking » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:00 am

sturmadler wrote:First, Un-dead
I'm guessing it has something to do with this:

Image
Second, "pick a gender and stick with it". Initial reaction: Yes! I'm sick of political-correctness interfering with the flow of writing. After trying to do it: Crap, how do I know how often or whether or not to switch between male and female?
Basically, don't let political correctness interfere with the flow of writing, but I don't worry too much about changing gender when I am writing. If I think it should be "she" then I use "she". If later I am talking about a "he", so what?
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Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: The Style Guide

Post by ragboy » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:03 pm

sturmadler wrote:Hi all,

We at The Keep Studios are close to publishing our first 3PP module, and we've been looking around to see if anyone had advice on editing. There are two things in the Style Guide that have us scratching our heads.

First, Un-dead: We think the intent here is that players should not take undead creatures for granted, but should actually think about their state. However, "un" is not a word. So hyphenating really doesn't make sense, and feels wrong next to the unhyphenated spellburn, spellcaster etc.

Also, google's spellcheck is awful, and doesn't recognize unhyphenated as a word. :(

Second, "pick a gender and stick with it". Initial reaction: Yes! I'm sick of political-correctness interfering with the flow of writing. After trying to do it: Crap, how do I know how often or whether or not to switch between male and female? How often do you guys change it up? Do you stick to one gender for an entire spell? For an entire chapter? For an entire book?

Thanks for your time, this is a fun game to play, and even more fun to create content for.
For undead -- I'd just go with the norm for the media. Undead is well recognized. Un-dead is fine, but isn't the norm for the media.

When I write for DCC, I use "he or she" and "him or her." It's more formal, and maybe offputting, but using one gender seems too specific for a general description of an effect (which is typically where it appears). This was part of a technical style guide when I was writing technical books, and have just stuck with it.
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Re: The Style Guide

Post by GnomeBoy » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:59 am

I like un-dead, because it at least suggests that something other than the usual is going on here... it may give readers pause to not make assumptions about the nature of the undead. Also, I think Raven is correct; it's old-timey (sorry, "oldtimey").

As for genders, in my Patrons project, when talking about the Wizard that has the Patron, I've simply made the Wizard's gender the opposite of the Patron. So, if it's a male Patron, the 'sample' Wizard is female. That way, I can in some cases say "he" and "she" in the same sentence and it's (hopefully) clear who is who... There are bound to be other cases where this kind of structure is useful, so you might consider how gender pronouns are to be used in your example/chapter/book and decide on that basis.
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sturmadler
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Re: The Style Guide

Post by sturmadler » Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:40 am


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reverenddak
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Re: The Style Guide

Post by reverenddak » Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:17 am

Hi, I'll chime in for a bit.

Regarding Un-dead, it's the way the Dark Master likes it, so it's the standard in regards to official DCC RPG materials, and for Crawl! Don't like it? Don't use it. It's not a big deal.

Some folks have been able to creatively avoid using he, she, him or her, etc. or keep it to a minimum. If it shows up once or twice in a document, that's fine. It's when "he or she" comes up every other sentence, it becomes awkward and inefficient. No one is going to count the number of times you use he or she, so just pick one and change it up once in a while. I prefer to use the gender neutral "PC" as much as possible.

The "Style Guide" was created specifically for Crawl!, but since I edit quite a number of official DCC RPG products, I apply the same rules for consistency. Mind also that the style guide was modeled after common usage in the DCC RPG rulebook, but even in the rulebook there are plenty of places where things are inconsistent (that's what happens when you have several writers, over several years, in a 480 page book). When I came across inconsistencies, I checked with Joseph and went with his suggestions.

In the end, it's not a big deal, just be consistent across the individual document.
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