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The Moose House style guide

There are lots of ways to write a book. Some work better than others. At Moose House, we want to do everything we can to get your manuscript into the best shape possible to deliver what you want to say.


We draw on these guidelines regularly when moving through the editing process with a new manuscript and its author. So now you know what to expect.

  • We avoid passive voice ("The work was done") in favour of active voice ("John and Mary did the work") whenever possible. Passive voice tends to fog up who is doing what, and to slow down the pace of the passage it appears in.

  • We strongly prefer "he said" over "said he", except when it is the last exchange in a scene and you want a note of finality.

  • You don't need to hunt around for "said" alternatives ('he interjected', 'he expostulated', 'she added'). Readers treat "she said" like a piece of punctuation and just carry on with the story. The alternatives, unless they are highly significant (we are in a library and "'Yoicks!' she screamed").

  • We look for chapter breaks in the story every 2,000 words or so, to give the reader a good stopping place at regular intervals. This also means the author has to provide some sort of interesting hook at the end of each chapter so the reader will be sure to pick up the book again soon to see what happens next.

  • We like to provide titles for each chapter, drawn from the text of that chapter. We can work this out during the editing process.

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