Department header
Bewildering Stories

Here’s our guideline in brief: Just send us the words, with standard spelling and punctuation. If we have any questions, we’ll ask.

This page gives you an idea of what goes into making a display that, frankly, we’re quite proud of and think that our contributors are, too. It’s put here for your delectation. You don’t have to reproduce it; that’s our job.

What a Submission Is Going to Look Like

Meta-tag description: Little Red Riding Hood has to beware of the Big Bad Wolf, especially when she jocks a long-haul freight on the interstellar space lanes.

Dimmity Dumpling and the Scarlet Cloak

Don Webb

• Every file should have a one-sentence description meta-tag. It is quoted by Net indexers and our All Issues search engine.
No headers, footers or page numbers, please!
• Standard title capitalization; not full caps.
• Names of vessels are italicized.

The freighter Scarlet Cloak ceased vibrating as her thundering jets went on auto shutdown, leaving the ship to coast toward its jump point high above the orbit of Mars. The galaxy spangled the viewport with a glorious ribbon of stars, but Dimmity Chaperon had seen enough to get bored with it in the past several hours of constant boosting. She unbuckled her pilot’s harness and stretched luxuriantly in zero-G.

• All margins are flush left.
• No first-line indent in any paragraph.
• Leave a single blank line between paragraphs. No line spacing within paragraphs; use normal spacing and word wrap.
“There, eat your hearts out, spacehands. Wouldn’t you love to see that now. Hah! Double that. Time for coffee.” She was relieved to be out in space again, piloting alone with no one to overhear her conversations with herself. • If the quotes were interior monologue, they would be italicized and have no quotation marks.
• Italicized “that” indicates oral emphasis.
While wrestling with the coffee and liquor containers, she thought about checking her cargo. Maybe it had shifted on liftoff. Bolt things back down again before making the jump to hyperspace. But first, coffee. Priorities, after all.

Her communicator chimed.

A bug-eyed monster appeared on screen. “Rigelian Customs. Identity, please, and the nature of your cargo.” • “Bug-eyed”: compound adjectives take a linking hyphen.

“Dimmity Chaperon with agricultural supplies for the Alpha Centauri colony. But I’m not in Rigelian space.”

“True, true...” replied the BEM, morphing smoothly into a suave-looking spacehand who might have just sauntered out of a bar in Marsport. • Suspension points “float” only in British punctuation.

“What’s your name?” asked Dimmity.

“Gromei Shawloo, at your service... Alpha Centauri colony, eh? Your course should take you away from any trouble. Have a nice trip.” Click.

• “Asked” is in lower case because speaker tags are part of the sentence.
• Printer’s quotes are optional in submissions; straight quotes are preferred.

“Darn... he’s gone,” Dimmity grumbled. “Good-looking and helpful, too. I was gonna offer him some Irish creme. Gotta love those big eyes once he’d stopped looking like a bullfrog. Oh well, back to the cargo. After coffee.”

* * *

Meanwhile, Gromei was cursing his luck and glowering at his plagiarized human star charts. “’S what I get for snoozing in astrography class. Wrong system, wrong shape... I might’ve scared that Earthling dumpling half to death... But all is not lost. She seemed pleasingly... mature... At least experienced enough not to be fazed. Aaand... she gave me a juicy tip. Corn-fed Earthlings, hm?”

• Three spaced asterisks are our standard separator; please do not use anything else. Leave them flush left as a separate paragraph; the editor will center them.
• In dialogue or spoken monologue, closing quotes follow all punctuation.
Reverting to the natural form of his people of the uncharted, unexplored and as yet unknown planet of Lupus Sylvestris IV, he licked his whiskery chops at the thought of tasty Earthling-morsels awaiting him at Alpha Centauri. And he salivated especially at thoughts of the pièce de résistance in the form of one Dimmity dumpl... er... whatever her name was. • “Reverting” is not a dangling participle; its subject is “he.”
• “Pièce de résistance”: foreign words are italicized.

Copyright © 2005 by Don Webb

Home Page