When is a hyphen not a hyphen? Author Nikki Copleston shares her journey from submission to publication.

Nikki Copleston

A year ago, I submitted the manuscript of  my crime novel ‘The Shame of Innocence’ to Silver Crow Books, a new service begun by Frome Writers’ Collective.  During the next few weeks, trained readers assessed my manuscript and compiled a report for the FWC trustees responsible for Silver Crow.

When I got that report, I was horrified. I’d always prided myself on presenting my work well, so it was a bit of a shock to see how inconsistently I’d put digits instead of words for certain numbers, and how profligate I’d been with hyphens.  The general rule is that you spell out the number if it’s smaller than 10.  I’d usually done that – but not always. And had I really got this far without realizing you shouldn’t put a hyphen in an adjective like ‘heavily built’. Why not? Because ‘heavily’ ends in -ly, and that’s the rule. Apparently. So someone…

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