Writing Books/numbers


I've heard that in a manuscript you should write all numbers out.  Like instead of June 23 you'd put June Twenty-Third" and the only thing you put as numbers are years.  is this correct?

Hi, Brandon!

Actually, dates are the exception to this rule. According to the Chicago Manual of Style (sort of the "bible" of the publishing industry) Rule 8.33 states: "8.33 Dates. Numbers used for dates---the day of the month and the year itself---constitute an important group of exceptions to the general rule on spelling out exact numbers." In Rule 8.36, it states: "The University of Chicago Press prefers that in all text, including notes and bibliographies, exact dates be written in the sequence day-month-year, without internal punctuation. So, 24 April, 1981. For the purpose of novels and internal narrative, the alternate sequence month-day-year may be used if preferred by the author and used consistently. In this sequence, the year must be set off by commas; that is, unless the date is immediately followed by such other punctuation as a period, it should appear: The events of April 24, 1981, have long been celebrated in song and story."

In my novels, I tend to use it either month-day-year or spelled out if omitting the month and year, like: "I'm going to Cancun on the fifteenth."

Hope that helps! :)


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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