Can You Follow Directions? (Saturday Writing Essential)

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on September 28, 2013 0 Comments

My favorite author recently published a book about writing. In the introduction, he said:

…if you’re writing for publication: FOLLOW THE PUBLISHER’S GUIDELINES! If you choose the Modern Language Association of America Manual of Style as your standard and you’re writing for a publisher that uses the AP Style Guide, you’re not going to make a sale. Always, always study the publisher’s guidelines and follow them to the letter.

Okay, yes, that was a shameless plug for my own book, A Writing Book for Old Fartz. In nearly every chapter, I made some comment regarding following publisher’s guidelines because it is critical if you want to sell your work.

This week I want you to work on your titles. I include this instruction in every SatWE challenge:

Include (Saturday Writing Essential) as part of your title.

In response to that, I’ve seen:

Satwe [title]
[title] satwe [date]
(Satwe) [title]
[title] for Saturday Writing Essentials
(Saturday Writing Essential) [title] [date]

Look at the title of this post. It is:

Can You Follow Directions? (Saturday Writing Essential)

Please note that there is a title: Can You Follow Directions?
And that is followed by (Saturday Writing Essential)

There is no date in the title. There is no SatWE in the title. Most important is that Saturday Writing Essential is just that — NOT EssentialS! There ain’t no ess at the end of it.

I have not put my entire book on Gather but I still have the original tutorials on which it was based. If you go to  Capitalization  you can scroll down toward the end to “Titles of Works” for a discussion of what you should and should not capitalize in a title.

This week is basically freestyle in that you can write anything you desire but I want to see what you do with the title.


This Week’s Challenge:

Use prose or poetry to write anything you want. The real challenge is to have the title correctly structured and capitalized.



Write an end-of-summer story. The title might be one of the following:

Summer’s Over and It Really Sucked! (Saturday Writing Essential)
This Was the Most Bestest Summer of My Life. (Saturday Writing Essential)

Note that verbs, adverbs, nouns, pronouns, and adjectives are capitalized. Conjunctions and short prepositions are not. How about longer prepositions?

I Can Deal with Fall (Saturday Writing Essential)
I Can Deal Without Summer (Saturday Writing Essential)

Note that with and without are prepositions and with is not capitalized but without is. Why? Because most guidelines say that “short” prepositions are not capitalized and longer prepositions are capitalized. How do you tell the difference?

Dunno. I use four as the cutoff and you’re welcome to choose your own standard. If a preposition is four or less letters, it is not capitalized; if it is five or more letters, it rates a capital.


Watch Out For:

I hope you notice that I’m stressing how you write your title for this challenge. I’ll read and enjoy every poem and story/article/essay, but the real challenge is to structure your title correctly.

Please make sure you have a title followed by (Saturday Writing Essential) and try to make sure your capitalization is correct.

If you have any question about how to punctuate or capitalize your title, feel free to contact me for advice.



Last week’s challenge, by  jay o  seemed to be just what was needed because you all responded wonderfully. As always, I’ll ask that you take the time to check out each of the following posts and either recommend each one or leave a comment.

Halloween Rooster Thanksgiving Day Supper: Saturday Writing Essentials: 2 Holidays 9/21/13  by William Dotani

One Big Holliday! sat. writting essential 9-21-13  by Jules who is loving life again

SatWe Challenge, 9/21/13 – Christmas; Bah Humbug, and Spend a Lot  by Sharon P.

Satwe sept 21–Dual birthday turns into an anniversary of sorts.  By karen vaughan


SWE- Saturday Writing Essentials Challenge 9/21/2013 “Another Bronx Tale”  by Heather – child of God, C.

Born On All Saints Day – Two Celebrations on The Same Day – SATWE = 9/21/13 Gather Writing Essentials  by Elsie Duggan


Submission to a Previous Challenge:

(SatWE) Two Little Pills  by Patrick M.


Weekly reminder:Don’t forget to recommend an article that you like (to learn why, read Ann Marcaida’s article Attract More Writers and Artists to Gather!). Also, try to place a comment on at least one article and say more than you liked the piece. Tell the author what worked and what needs work.


The Rules:

  • Put this challenge statement at the beginning or end of your submission so readers will know what you’re supposed to do.

Challenge: Use prose or poetry to write anything you want. The real challenge is to have the title correctly structured and capitalized.

  • There is a limit of three submissions from each member per day. If you’re extremely prolific, spread out your work and post only three submissions per day.
  • Post to Gather Writing Essential.
  • Tag your submission with SatWE.
  • Include (Saturday Writing Essential) as part of your title.
  • I ask that you make your submission(s) by next Friday afternoon.

Good Writing!

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