Twenty Tips for Associated Press Style: Star Wars Edition

Dec 28, 2015 admin

Following the galactic opening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Star Wars fans, including writers, can command their lightsabers in the quest for defeating evil in their written content.

In honor of the new movie that took theaters by storm, following are some terms from the Associated Press Stylebook that writers may infuse into their copy about the seventh installment of the George Lucas-spawned franchise:

  • astronaut: Not a formal title, so do not capitalize when used before a name.
  • blastoff vs. blast off: Use blastoff as a noun and adjective and blast off as a verb – The blastoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.; the shuttle will blast off tonight.
  • dust storm: Use as a noun about "the visibility of one-half mile of less due to dust, wind speeds of 30 mph or more."
  • family names: Capitalize words denoting family relationships only when they precede the name of a person or when they stand unmodified as a substitute for a person’s name.
  • fleet: Use figures and capitalize when forming a proper name; lowercase when standing alone.
  • fuselage: One word for the main body of an aircraft.
  • guard: Usually a job description, not a formal title.
  • hideout: One word, written as is – where is Luke Skywalker’s hideout?
  • Hollywood: District of the city of Los Angeles that houses the entertainment industry; not used in a dateline.
  • Liftoff vs. lift off: Use liftoff as a noun and adjective and lift off as a verb – the liftoff of the A-Wing Fighter is ready; the A-Wing Fighter will now lift off.
  • light-year: Use as a noun about "the distance that light travels in one year at the rate of 186,282 miles per second."
  • movie studios: Major U.S. movie studios and production companies include Disney, owned by The Walt Disney Co. and Lucasfilm, owned by The Walt Disney Co.
  • movie tiles: For movies, capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters and put quotation marks around the name – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
  • naval station: Capitalize only as part of proper name.
  • pilot: Not a formal title, so do not capitalize when used before a name.
  • reign: The period of when a ruler is on the throne.
  • spaceship vs. space shuttle: Write spaceship as is, but capitalize space shuttle only when a proper name.
  • storyline: One word, written as is – The storyline of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” reprises with our favorite characters, including R2-D2 and C-3PO.
  • takeoff vs. take off: Use takeoff as a noun and adjective and take off as a verb – the takeoff for the Millennium Falcon will commence when Hans Solo is aboard; the Millennium Falcon will take off with Chewbacca.
  • tomorrow: Use only in direct quotations and in phrases that do not refer to a specific day – what will tomorrow bring for the First Order?

For other ways to be a Jedi master in your writing, read new updates to the 2015 stylebook and helpful tips to refine your writing. May the grammatical force be with you!

Topics: Public Relations, Writing, Journalism

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