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Fringe Authors General Chat > 1,2,3 or One, Two, Three?

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message 1: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 1398 comments Mod
When writing numbers or #'s into novels or stories what is the proper way to go about it? Do you write the number out like, "I waited at the bus stop for 5 minutes" or "I waited at the bus stop for five minutes"?

I read somewhere how when to use the actual numbers and when to write it out but it's still confusing! lol. Anyone know what is the proper way?


message 2: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 519 comments i tend to use the numeral in narrative and the word in character conversation...


message 3: by Quentin (new)

Quentin Wallace (quentinwallace) | 388 comments This can make it all as clear as mud:

http://www.grammarbook.com/numbers/nu...

As a general rule, if it's small number, say less than 100, I write it out, bigger numbers I use actual numbers. I don't think it really matters, I consider that more a style thing. People will know what it means either way.


message 4: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 506 comments I tend to use words for most of them except for long numbers and when it starts a sentence. I also use numbers for dates, year, etc.. with very few other exceptions unless my office word doesn't approve my choice and I feel the program is making a point because it does look better. :p


message 5: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Depends on how the number is being used. Addresses, 999 Baker street, write the numbers only. Appartment number, phone number, all those kind of things, again, just the number.

For everything else, especially description, write out the number.

Dialogue, however, that's up to you. It's more of a style choice per character, and anything goes. Just remember to keep it consistent :)

I waited five minutes for the bus. The 29 bus was always slow. "It's been 10 minutes!" John cried.


message 6: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 1398 comments Mod
Thanks everyone, I'm going over what Quentin posted and taking what you all said. I still have a feeling I'm going to go back and forth but of course only because it's necessary to use the right way.

For ex. I have a sentence that reads, "It was 1885 when my grandfather was killed, that was 35 years ago. But I changed it to "It was 1885 when my grandfather was killed, that was thirty-five years ago.


message 7: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) The correction is right :)


message 8: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 1398 comments Mod
Yay! Now I got quite a few instances go go through and hope I don't have too much to fix up


message 9: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Best of luck! :D


message 10: by Jacek (last edited Apr 24, 2015 01:57PM) (new)

Jacek Slay Rule of the thumb: one, two, three. Unless it's year or address or something like that. One of the things that really repel me is using digits in literature...

And it doesn't matter whether it's in narrative or in dialogues. I don't see any reason why I should write 10 minutes in a dialogue.


message 11: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha Vohn Lily's got the textbook answer :0) Thumbs up from the English teacher!


message 12: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Me, not a teacher at all. I had asked the same question when I started writing. I studied a number of articles until I finally figured it out. My writing was crap in the early days lol


message 13: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha Vohn Lily wrote: "Me, not a teacher at all. I had asked the same question when I started writing. I studied a number of articles until I finally figured it out. My writing was crap in the early days lol"

But you are always a wealth of information :0)


message 14: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Cos I've learned the hard way ;)


message 15: by N.B. (new)

N.B. (nbroberts) | 19 comments Lily wrote: "Depends on how the number is being used. Addresses, 999 Baker street, write the numbers only. Appartment number, phone number, all those kind of things, again, just the number..."

Totally agree with Lily! I looked into this too as with a thousand other things. Consistency is key. :)


message 16: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 1398 comments Mod
I like doing what's right but at the same time I gotta tell my brain "Yes I know it doesn't look right but our way isn't right" ...yes conversations like that occur in my head don't be alarmed I have it taken care of.

Back to the topic at hand, I have 5 chapters to go through and I'm thinking I will need to refer to Lily's comments and Quentin's link before deciding to write any further. The plan is to correct any numbering that's off and hopefully I'll get a good enough idea of how it works so that for the rest of the book I'll have it down.


message 17: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) It does get easier. Once you have you brain trained to think in that way, it becomes muscle memory eventually. It gets to the point that you don't even think about it anymore.

Really. It does happen.


message 18: by Yolanda (new)

Yolanda Ramos (yramosseventhsentinel) As a reader i prefer numbers written out except as its been said here, 1984, etc


message 19: by Jacek (new)

Jacek Slay "One million people" is always better than "1 000 000 people". ;)


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