BuddyTV General Style Guide

All Recaps should be no more than 800 words.

All op-eds should be between 300-500 words.

1. TITLES & NAMES

1.1 Please do not italicize or put quotes around TV Show or Movie titles. We’ll do that.  Episode titles should be in quotation marks.

1.2 Similarly, music albums are in italics while individual song titles are in quotation marks.

1.3 Reuse complete show titles and actors’ full names on first reference.  After that, feel free to use just the actor’s last name or an acceptable shorthand version of the show’s title (as in BSG for Battlestar Galactica). 

2. PUNCTUATION

2.1 Never use semicolons or ampersands unless they’re in a title (as in Law & Order).

2.2 You may use exclamation points and parenthetical remarks, but keep them limited.  Every other sentence should not have an exclamation point, they should be used very sparingly.

2.3 If a sentence ends with a title that ends in a punctuation mark, there is no need to add another one, although rewriting the sentence would be preferable.

EXAMPLE: I love watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?  I enjoy the work of Regis Philbin. 

3. QUOTATIONS

3.1 Quotes should have their own paragraphs, and never have more than one person quoted in the same paragraph.

3.2 When a quote comes at the end of a sentence, put the punctuation mark inside the quotation marks, even if the quote is for a title.  The only exception is if the sentence ends with a question mark, but the quote doesn’t.

EXAMPLE: Did you say “I love you”?  No, I said I love the Lost episode “Through the Looking Glass.”

3.3 If something in a quote is supposed to have quotation marks, just use single quote marks.

EXAMPLE: “I’m a huge Lost fan,” Tom Hanks said.  “I’d have to say ‘Through the Looking Glass’ was my favorite episode.”

3.4 After the quote, the speaker’s name comes before the verb.

3.5 If you need to add or change a word in a person’s quote, place it in brackets.

EXAMPLE: “It’s such a fun show to work on,” Weeds star Kevin Nealon said.  “Mary [Louise Parker] has it all: she’s beautiful, hilarious, a brilliant actress.” 

4. NUMBERS & DATES

4.1 If a number is less than 10, spell it out.  If a number is greater than or equal to 10, use the numeral.

EXAMPLE: Lost featured five new cast members this season in addition to the returning cast of 11.

4.2 The only exceptions are when referring to a score, age, date, season number, or when a number starts a sentence.

EXAMPLE: On Sept. 2, Marcellas was eliminated by a vote of 9-3.  Twelve roommates, one with an 8-year-old daughter, are left in the Big Brother house.  This is season 7 of the show.

4.3 If you refer to a date, only add the year if it’s not this year.  Never add “th” to the end of the number, as in “October 16th,” just write “October 16.”

EXAMPLE: Weeds returns to Showtime on August 13.  New episodes of Lost will air in February 2008. 

4.4 Never use an apostrophe in a plural year (ie 1960s, not 1960's).

4.5 Ages are hyphenated when used as an adjective, but not if they are just the noun, as in “a 14-year-old girl" or "she is 14 years old."

4.6 When referring to a time, just write 7pm.  Don’t put a space between the number and the pm, don’t use periods, and don’t capitalize. 

5. PARAGRAPHS

5.1 Don’t make paragraphs too long.  No more than four or five sentences per paragraph, at the most.

5.2 Avoid run-on sentences.  Don’t be afraid to make a paragraph four short sentences instead of one or two long ones with conjunctions and commas.

5.3 The opening paragraph should, when possible, contain an interesting lead sentence and highlight the main focus of the article, presenting the key points of information.

EXAMPLE: Oops, she did it again.  On Tuesday, Britney Spears announced on her website that she plans to star in a new MTV reality series about her attempt to reboot her singing career after her split with husband Kevin Federline.  This comes just two years after the critical and commercial failure of Spears’ first reality show, Britney & Kevin: Chaotic.  No premiere date is set for the new show, but Britney Spears did say that filming would begin in August.  

6. CONTENT

6.1 Do not use the passive voice.  Write “Scrubs, created by Bill Lawrence” and NOT “Scrubs, which was created by Bill Lawrence.”

6.2 Avoid lists and excessive chunks of information.  You don’t need to write out every actor appearing in a movie, nor do you need to say the role they are playing.

EXAMPLE: Transformers also stars Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas) and Tyrese Gibson.

6.3 Keep the article focused on a single topic, and avoid going off on tangents.  If a sentence or paragraph has nothing to do with the main point of the article, cut it. 

7. HEADLINES & BYLINES

7.1 All words in a headline should be capitalized, with the exception of articles, prepositions and small words like a, the, and, from, etc.

EXAMPLES:

Regis Scheduled to Play Carnegie Hall

The End is Near for HBO Fans

7.2 There are two kinds of headlines: the first starts with the name of the show, followed by a colon and then the headline.  The second integrates the name of the show into the actual headline.  In the first, leave the show title alone.  In the second, place the show title in single quote marks.

EXAMPLES:

American Idol: A New Superstar Arrives

HBO's 'Entourage' Hangs Out at the Oscars

7.3 Recaps should use the following title convention.  EXAMPLE: 'Supernatural' Recap: Clever and Witty Headline