Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

Testing: Posting Photos on Microsoft Surface 2 Tablet


New tablet. New things to learn. Today’s test: posting pictures from MS2 camera to Facebook and my blog.

Facebook test: MS2 passed with flying colors.

Now for the blog. Here goes.

WIN_20140528_114019 WIN_20140528_113959 WIN_20140528_113941  Success. But it took me a few minutes longer than it should have. And is my space bar sticking? Maybe.

Okay. With a bit more practice maybe this will go faster.

So far, I like the keyboard touch. The screen touch is sometimes too touchy (but I have seen that problem with all the touch screens on tablets and phones).  So, for now, more practice.  I’ll report again soon.

Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Metal

Where’s My Backpack? Travel Theme: Metal

This photo is from one of my favorite places: Grounds for Sculpture near Trenton, NJ. It is a photographer’s heaven. So much to see and capture on camera.



For more on Grounds for Sculpture check these posts:

Cee’s Fun Foto: Paths and Surprises

Unnaturals Invade Grounds for Sculpture in NJ

From Cees to Shiny Cees


Michelle’s Pet Challenge: Avery Visits Alzheimer’s Patients

Michelle’s Pet Challenge Week 38

My daughter’s adorable teacup Yorkie, Avery, visits Alzheimer’s patients and brings them cheer. This is such a meaningful thing to do. Thanks to all of you volunteers who do this. We all appreciate your efforts and service. Special thanks to you, Lisa, for sharing your sweetie pie with those less fortunate.


12 Common Format Problems in Manuscripts Submitted for Publication

Many of you know that I edit a bi-monthly newsletter for my 55+ community. It is a fun job, but at the same time, it can be quite frustrating. Common formatting problems creep into manuscripts submitted for publication, and these can be quite distracting to the editor or proofreader (ME!).

Editors consider many factors when reviewing an article for publication (grammar, punctuation, word use, and correctness of facts, and so forth), but an article’s format grabs our attention first.

A Hodgepodge of Formats

Imagine the problem in publishing a 24- to 28-page newsletter with 15-20 articles and committee reports, when each article or report has its own mix of formatting:

  • all capital letters or first letters of words capitalized on titles
  • titles centered by spacebar
  • authors’ names italicized, bolded, or underlined
  • article subheads italicized, bolded, or underlined
  • mixed fonts and mixed font sizes
  • block text with whole article in one huge paragraph in bold or italics
  • randomly added extra spaces or omitted spaces between words
  • two spaces added after periods instead of the standard one
  • right margins justified
  • no paragraph indents or line spacing between paragraphs
  • article submitted in body of email (throws off all formatting)
  • “scare quotes” (using quotes around commonly used words or phrases)

The most difficult-to-read submission for our current issue had one huge, unbroken paragraph with both left and right justification (block text), typed single space in bold. And it was loaded with spacing and punctuation errors. This article was so hard to read that I almost gave up on it. Alas, since it was from a neighbor, I persisted and corrected the format.

Another writer submitted his article in the body of an email which completely threw off all internal formatting, creating awkward line spacing and chopped-up sentences. Comprehension of this material was almost impossible.

You get the picture: a hodgepodge of formats among the submitted articles. Format decisions affect readability. Some of these listed items may seem picky to you, but when you have twenty articles to publish, all with differing formats, and your deadline is fast approaching, well, Houston, we have problems.

How to Help Your Editor: A Baker’s Dozen of Tips

Use these suggestions and your editor will love you:

1. Use a consistent format. Research the editorial preferences of the newsletter, newspaper, or journal for which you want to write and use that format consistently.

Forget the fancy fonts, the bold type, the italics, the underlining on the titles and in the body of your article. These are not only distracting to your editor (and ultimately your reader), but they slow the editing process down. An editor, proofreader, or publication formatter must take out all of these extra features before they can put in the publication’s standard format, and all this before they get to your writing content.  (Use italics at the direction of your editor to indicate only words that must be italicized in the final product.)

Note: Newspapers and journals vary on their formatting, so you must ask for a “style sheet” which outlines the publication’s desired format.

2. Use only one font throughout your article (Times New Roman or Courier are good). Avoid fancy fonts when submitting articles.

3. Use 12-point type throughout your article. Smaller type is more difficult to read.

4. Double space your article. This allows your editor or proofreader to write in minor corrections or other notes.

5. Use one-inch margins all around.

6. Use capital letters on first letter of words in title (newspapers capitalize only the first word of an article title).

7. Use one space (not two) after periods. This is standard.

8. Use left justification with ragged right margins. The extra white space on the right side helps the reader keep their in place while reading. Block text is difficult to read. Right justification also creates awkward spaces as it attempts to evenly distribute the words on each line.

9. Show paragraph breaks by indents (use the tab key, not the space bar), or by a blank line between paragraphs. It seems popular for many writers to eliminate indents, but personally, I prefer them. Once again, find out what your editor prefers.

10. Left justify titles and bylines on separate lines. This enables the person formatting the publication to more easily add the publication’s preferred formatting.

11. Write shorter paragraphs. These are easier to read.

12. Do not use “scare quotes” on generic words. Some writers want to emphasize words by using quotes around them, but quotation marks should only be used on quoted material and on words used in non-standard ways (irony, made-up terms, or quoting someone else who uses a word incorrectly).

13. Submit your article as an attachment to an email. This will keep your format intact and sentences will flow as you present them.

Well, if you are wondering, our newsletter is on its last round of proofing, and I expect it to be finished and off to print by noon on Wednesday.  Then I am off on my vacation: a cruise in the Mediterranean. I hope to write some posts while on my trip. First stop: Venice.

Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, wannabe photographer, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2 Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk: blog posts that suggest ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.


Michele’s Weekly Pet Challenge: Chewy, A Therapy Dog for Elderly and Handicapped

Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge, Week 37petchallenge
Meet Chewy, a fourteen-year-old therapy dog who visits the medically needy and elderly at The Shores at Wesley Manor in Ocean City, NJ.
Adam   May 2014 032

I can’t say enough good things about this wonderful facility/home that allows volunteers to bring in dogs to visit the handicapped, medically needy, and elderly people in their care.

My brother, Adam, has always been an active person, but now in his later years, he is wheelchair bound. He has been blind for more than twenty years, and he has coped well. But now his physical and cognitive health have deteriorated, and he needs twenty-four hour care. After several unsuccessful placements, he is now thriving at Wesley Manor. Dawn, Kim, Tricia, Jonathan, and many other specialists and aides seem to take a special interest in Adam. This is all very heart warming for our family.

Visits from Chewy and other therapy dogs brighten Adam’s day. The smiles these dogs bring to his face are priceless.

Read more Adam’s life as an active blind person here:

B: Big Brother’s Bits about Being Blind
VIP: Visually Impaired Person in the News Again
Elderly, Blind, and Living in a Big Black Box
Tips for Caregivers of Visually Impaired Persons in Care Settings

Cee’s Fun Foto: Paths and Surprises

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Ground, Rocks, Sand, Dirt Paths, Walks, Trails

My entries this week come from Grounds for Sculpture, Trenton, New Jersey. Put this must-visit place on your calendar!


2013-10-15 phone pics 056

And a surprise at the end of the path...

And a surprise at the end of the path… (one of many!)

Cee's photo challenge..logo

Cee’s Odd Ball Photos: Purses to Die For?

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 11

I saw these purses for sale in New York City last Christmas. And NO, I did not buy any.

Chicken purses? Really? And not the little chickie coin purses. I need several of these. NOT!

Chicken purses? Really? And not the little chickie coin purses. I need several of these. NOT!

Frogs? Fish? What next?

Frogs? Fish? What next?

Maybe one of these purses would go with these glamorous shoes?

Maybe one of these purses would go well with these glamorous shoes?

Shopping in New York City is always so much fun. There’s always something amusing to catch your eye. These shops were quite close to the Radio City Music Hall.

Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, wannabe photographer, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly logo 2.2community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

When she is not busy taking photographs for photo blog challenges, she writes a series of posts called Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk. These posts suggest ways to improve writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos.


Weekly Pet Challenge: Shadow Is Not Interested in This Pet Photo Silliness!

Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge


Enter this week’s challenge here: Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge, Week 36


What? You dare to interrupt my beauty nap to take another ridiculous picture for a photo challenge? Puh-leeeease! Stop this nonsense! And yes, I am sitting on Mom’s pink cushion where I know I should not be sitting, but Mom is not home right now. So?


Photo Challenges: Pink AND Green

Cee, a blogger and photographer who organizes many photo challenges, joins other challenges as well. This week she had the great idea of combining these two photo challenges:

One Word Photo Challenge:  Pink (Jennifer Nichole Well’s challenge)
A Photo A Week Challenge:  Green (Nancy Merrill Photography challenge)

Here’s my go at them both. (Thanks for the idea, Cee.) You can see Cee’s entry here: My World Turned Pink and Green

When my nephew got married, my great-nieces, MacKenzie, Maddie, MiMi, and Brianna, and great-nephew, Drew, helped with the decorations for the bridal shower/tea party. They made these signs for potted herb plants to be used for table decorations. Nice job by these sweet kids. After the party, each lady present took a potted herb home. (Click on the picture to see the writing more clearly.)

woodsy shots-derecho 019

woodsy shots-derecho 025

Here are my great nieces and nephews (and one friend) all dolled up for the tea party.

woodsy shots-derecho 006

Here are two of them as quick-change artists five minutes after the party ended.

What could be more fun than rolling down a grassy hill on a warm spring day?

What could be more fun than rolling down a grassy green hill on a warm spring day?

Who can blame them? That green hill looks perfect for rolling down.
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, wannabe photographer, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly logo 2.2community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek. Her blog posts often suggest ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome writing quirks. Look for the Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk logo.


Another Writing Quirk: Front Yard and Backyard

logo 2.2This is quirky. Front yard is two words, and backyard is one word.


In our recent On the Horizon, the newsletter for our 55+ community, I asked for pictures of animals that wander through our woodsy backyards. Here are a few of our visitors…

deer 4.

deer 8

deer 5..

 deer 3


5-2014 possum

Our backyard woodsy critters: deer, turkey, opossum, and more.


Backyard. Front yard. Compound words can be tricky, so if in doubt, look the word up in your dictionary. Here are a few compound words that popped up in the current issue of our newsletter:

Sometimes compound words can be written as two words (open compounds):

front yard
pool room
egg rolls
solar panel

Sometimes compound words cam be hyphenated (hyphenated compounds: two-word adjectives)

on-duty police officers
town-wide activities
half-way point
smoke-only detectors
battery-powered smoke detectors
extra-virgin olive oil
soft-shelled crab
man-made canal

Sometimes they can be written as one word (closed compounds):


Don’t be surprised if you see a few words that can be written two ways or that two dictionaries do not agree on the spelling, hyphenation, or spacing. That’s just how these quirky compound words go.

database or data base
hard-wired or hardwired
line up or line-up

The current trend, according to the Chicago Manual of Style, is toward closed compounds. Compound words that start off as two words move to two words with a hyphen, then to one combined word (on line, on-line, online; e-mail, email).

Regardless of the current trend, check your dictionary if you are not sure of the spelling, hyphenation, or spacing of compound words.

Related Articles:

D is for Deep-Fried Hyphens
F is for Freshly Squeezed Adverbs
G is for Gobs of Hyphens Used Correctly

Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, wannabe photographer, and nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.

logo 2.2Oh Heck! Another Writing Quirk:  blog posts that suggest ways to improve our writing by avoiding and/or eliminating troublesome bug-a-boos that cramp our writing style.



Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: