Monday, January 13, 2014

Writing 101: Let's Talk About Title Case

I've Noticed a Disturbing Trend Among Authors, and I Can Stay Silent No More. Title case, which I just demonstrated in my last sentence, is being used way too much...and incorrectly, at that. 

It's Not a Title!

Writing perfectly in your novels isn't enough. If I get one more title case quote recommendation on Goodreads, my wrath will no know bounds. I've pointed out many, many times that you must always conduct yourself like an author. And if you're using title case incorrectly -- anywhere -- I'm going to see it. And I'm putting you on my Do Not Read list.

Scoff if you like, but many readers will blacklist an author for a whole lot less. There are too many books and too many authors and I don't have to read incorrect title casing for anyone, thank you very much.

So. With that said, let's talk about the right way to use title case. 

In titles. This is the one and only time that it is accepted to capitalize the first letter in every word of a phrase. Let's look at some examples:

Rats Spread Plague to 14 States

The above is a headline from a blog post, not unlike the headline at the top of this blog post. It's in title case...because it is, by definition, a title

Scientists Believe Rat Carriers Could Be Mutants

The above is a subtitle within the blog post about the diseased rats. This subtitle is exactly like the one just below the picture in this blog post. It's a subtitle, and therefore a title, so of course title case is appropriate. 

"Rats live for up to three weeks carrying the plague," says Prof. D.M. Bauguard of the Better Health Institute and Research Center. 

The above is a quote from the Professor, so regular sentence case is used. Why? Because it's not a [expletive deleted] title, that's why. Quote are not titles. Quit giving them title case already! Improper capitalization reflects badly upon you as an author, and it renders all your books suspect. Don't turn readers off before you get the chance to win them over.

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