What numbers do you spell out when you write?

Source:  Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

We English majors and grammarians like to think we remember all the rules about writing, but there’s nothing wrong with a refresher to help us get it right.

I recently finished a project which contained narrative with a lot of dates and numbers, large and small.  I wasn’t sure which numbers should be spelled out and which should be in numeric form.  This handy article from Writer’s Digest explains it all.

While the article states that there are different opinions on the subject, here’s the general rule:

  • Spell out all numbers 0-9.
  • Use numeric symbol for 10 and above.


  • Spell out all numbers that begin with a sentence.
  • Never spell out calendar years, even if they begin a sentence.
  • Always use figures for ages of people, dates, monetary amounts, percentages and ratios.

Now that’s a rule I can follow!

What’s your policy on spelling out numbers?  What grammar and writing rules are you sometimes unsure about?

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Who’s That Indie Author? Malia Zaidi

Who's That Indie Author pic

Author name
:  Malia Zaidi

Genre:  Historical Mystery

BooksA Poisonous Journey and A Darker Shore


Bio:  Malia Zaidi is the author of A POISONOUS JOURNEY. She attended the University of Pittsburgh, and studied at English at Oxford University. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides, vicariously in countries throughout the world. A POISONOUS JOURNEY is her first novel in the Lady Evelyn mysteries series. The sequel, A DARKER SHORE will be available later this year.

Favorite thing about being a writer:  Creating characters. It starts with choosing a name, and from there the development of the figure just branches out. I want my characters, be they good or bad or, hopefully as humans often are, somewhere in between, to seem as real as possible. My favorite books are favorites because of their characters, much more, even than the plot, though, obviously, I aim to make a good go of that as well. These are characters I feel I know so well, I close the book almost surprised, and definitely a little disappointed, that they are not real.

Biggest challenge as an indie author:  Finding readers and the whole concept of self-marketing. I think many authors are like me in that we like to spend an inordinate amount of time with fictional people, but are not quite social animals adept at peddling our wares in the loudest tones. I have found a wonderful community of readers through Goodreads, however, where I was active even before becoming an author, and which I truly enjoy.

Favorite book: The impossible question! I might have to be unoriginal and say Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice closely followed by the Harry Potter series and William Goldman’s brilliant The Princess Bride. When it comes to characters, I’m not a Carrie or a Samantha, I’m definitely a Hermione.

Contact Information:
Website: maliazaidi.com
Blog: The Princess and the Pen
Twitter: @MaliaZaidi
Facebook: Malia Zaidi @maliazaidiauthor

Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Why not get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author?

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details, and follow along on Book Club Mom to join the indie author community!

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What’s That Book? The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Whats That Book

: The Art of Fielding

Author:  Chad Harbach

Genre: Fiction

Rating:  ***

What’s it about?  Westish College star shortstop Henry Skrimshander thought he was headed for Major League Baseball, but now his throw is off.  He must do something, but what?  As the season unfolds, Henry grapples with self-doubt and several other characters, including the university president, struggle with their own challenges.  Each character hopes that their beliefs in love, family and relationships are strong enough to carry them through.  A dramatic conclusion awaits at the season’s end.

How did you hear about it?  I was interested in the idea of an athlete facing a slump because it’s a common topic in college and professional sports commentary.

Closing comment:  I was disappointed with the book because I thought it was going to be about overcoming adversity, one of my favorite themes, but it is more about unlikely relationships and situations and unrealistic characters.

Contributor:  Ginette

Have you read something good?  Want to talk about it?
Consider being a contributor to What’s That Book.

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for information.

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Who’s That Indie Author? Bryan Collins

Who's That Indie Author pic


Author name:  Bryan Collins

Genre:  Creativity, Productivity, Non-fiction

BooksA Handbook for the Productive Writer; The Power of Creativity

a-handbook-for-the-productive-writer      the-power-of-creativity

Bio:  When I was six years of age, I read The BFG by Roald Dahl. I was enthralled by the idea of a Big Friendly Giant who collects the dreams of children.                             

Dahl was a creative God to me, so I decided I wanted to become a writer. I did all the things I was supposed to do. I went to school and then college and later, I got a job as a journalist. There was just one problem. I wasn’t a very good journalist. I didn’t have the nose for news that journalists need and, although I enjoyed writing, I couldn’t give my editors what they wanted. I missed my deadlines, and my news stories were inconsequential. Journalism cast me out. The recession didn’t help.

I drifted in and out of other jobs (I once even plucked chickens). Then, I discovered today’s writers spend time building relationships online and self-publishing.

So, I started a free email course, Become a Writer Today to help writers launch their careers and become more creative and productive.

Favorite thing about being a writer:  That you can take an idea, shape it, tell stories about it and (hopefully) help other readers with your work.

Biggest challenge as an indie author:  Balancing finding the right readers and then finding enough time to write is always a challenge. Also much great writing involves being unremittingly honest and not holding back from painful truths while writing. Doing this is always a challenge because it takes more work.

Favorite book:  There are so many to pick from and really depends on what I’m reading right now, but in no particular order I recommend:

The Journals by John Cheever, Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life by Twyla Tharp, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Contact Information:  You can find me on my website:  Become a Writer Today or ask me questions on Twitter @bryanjcollins.

Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Why not get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author?

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details, and follow along on Book Club Mom to join the indie author community!

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Ernest Hemingway – love him or hate him?


I’m getting ready to read A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway’s memoir of Paris in the 1920s.  During this time, Hemingway wrote both The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms and became part of the expatriate community in Paris, which included Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Dos Passos.  This group is commonly known as the “Lost Generation”, a description Hemingway made popular when he wrote The Sun Also Rises, and a phrase to whom he credits Gertrude Stein.


Hemingway died in 1961 and A Moveable Feast was published in 1964.  My copy of the book includes a foreward by Hemingway’s son, Patrick and an introduction by Seán Hemingway, the author’s grandson.

Now you either love Hemingway or you hate him.  I happen to think he is one of the greatest writers of all time, but many readers become frustrated with his style.  I have always liked his simple dialogues, word choices and descriptions because I think they make the characters and events all the more moving.  I recently read a review of The Old Man and the Sea  in which the reviewer commented that she thought she would like it better now that she was older but she still hated it!

I’m still working on reading all his books and short fiction, but you can check out my opinions of these:

A Farewell to Arms

The Old Man and the Sea

The Sun Also Rises

“A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”

“Hills Like White Elephants”

“The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”

What do you think of Papa Hemingway?

the paris wife
If you enjoy reading about Hemingway and the Lost Generation, you may like The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.


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Who’s That Indie Author? Dennis Macaraeg

Who's That Indie Author pic


Author name:  Dennis Macaraeg

Genre:  Thriller and Romance

BookSomewhere in the Shallow Sea


Bio: Dennis Macaraeg is an American author who is passionate about writing themes that include action and adventure, love story and travelogue. Dennis’ first thriller was inspired by his backpacking trip to the Philippines when he was in his 20s. He lives in San Diego.

Favorite thing about being a writer: Creating my world. Looking forward to writing and researching for my next novel and promoting my book every day; those are my rewards. When someone tells me that he or she enjoyed reading my book…I’m on cloud nine.

Biggest challenge as an indie author: Telling book lovers that my novel exists. And of course, the grand challenge for most writers, finding the time to write.

Favorite book: This is a tough one to answer. As long as the book has significant challenges to overcome and two people are falling in love, that’s the one.

Contact Information:  Find out more about Dennis Macaraeg by visiting these author links:

Website:  dennismacaraeg.com
Blog:  Dennis Macaraeg – Author of Somewhere in the Shallow Sea
Facebook:  Facebook Author Page
Instagram:  denniswriter
Twitter: @DennisMac2015

Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Why not get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author?

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details, and follow along on Book Club Mom to join the indie author community!

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My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

My Name is Lucy Barton
My Name Is Lucy Barton

Elizabeth Strout

3 book marks1 half bookmark

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

How do you put the hushed experiences of your childhood into words?  Should you?  Does recreating oneself and assimilating into New York’s diverse population give you enough distance to promise happiness?  Lucy Barton, narrator in Elizabeth Strout’s most recent novel, My Name Is Lucy Barton, tries to do these things as she reflects on her family, marriage and friendships.

In her narration, Lucy tries to explain her evolution as a fiction writer.  She talks about her past, particularly a period of her life in the 1980s, when she was hospitalized for nine weeks for an unidentified infection.  Her mother, whom she hasn’t seen for years, boards a plane for the first time and travels from Amgash, Illinois to be with Lucy.  She provides an unexpected comfort.

Her being there, using my pet name, which I had not heard in ages, made me feel warm and liquid-filled, as though all my tension had been a solid thing and now was not.

Not a surprising reaction, until Lucy tells about a lonely childhood, growing up hopelessly poor and living in a garage until she was twelve.  She’s estranged from her father, who suffers from a traumatic war experience in Germany.  Other unnamed events haunt Lucy and her brother and sister, who coped in their own ways.

As they pass the time in the hospital, however, Lucy and her mother connect through her mother’s stories about other people in Amgash.  This opportunity to become mother and daughter is not completely fulfilled, however, because they only dance around the tough subjects.

Lucy’s story moves between her time in the hospital, her childhood and marriage, bringing the reader to the present in the final pages of the book.  A chance meeting with a popular fiction writer makes her wonder about her own career.  The writer tells Lucy’s writing class, “You will have only one story.  You’ll write your one story many ways.  Don’t ever worry about story.  You have only one.”

I’m not sure I completely understand this book.  It’s extremely readable, but for someone who likes to know the facts, it’s also frustrating.  Everything in the story is vague:  Lucy’s illness, her past, her relationships, her marriage.  I had a hard time getting a grip on the message.  What’s probably the point is how nearly impossible it is to understand relationships and how hard it is to talk about painful memories.  Maybe the only way to do that is forget the past and connect in any way you can, as Lucy does in the hospital with her mother and when she returns to Amgash for the last time.

The only solid relationship in the story is between Lucy and her doctor, who becomes a father figure to her, yet Strout deliberately leaves him unnamed and he fades from Lucy’s life once she leaves the hospital.  I wanted to know more about this character.

The danger of a fast read is in missing important themes.  I may have to re-read this one to understand it better.  Have you read Lucy Barton?  What was your reaction?

Note:  Summer is over, but I’m still reading my Summer Reading Challenge books!  Take a look at my choices for the 16 in 16 Challenge:

Book 1 – A Book You Can Finish in a Day:  The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner
Book 2 – A Book in a Genre You Typically Don’t Read:  The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
Book 3 – A Book with a Blue Cover:  The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Book 4 – A Book Translated to English:  I Refuse by Per Petterson
Book 5 – A Second Book in a Series:  Brooklyn on Fire by Lawrence H. Levy
Book 6 – A Book To Learn Something New: The Beginner’s Photography Guide by Chris Gatcum
Book 7 – A Book That Was Banned:  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Book 8 – A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Always Wanted to Visit:  Calmer Girls by Jennifer Kelland Perry
Book 9 – A Book with Non-human Characters:  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Book 10 – A Book Recommended by a Librarian:  Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
Book 11 – A Book Being Made into a Movie this Year:  A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Book 12 – A Book with Bad Reviews:  The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Book 13 – A Book Written the Year You Were Born:  Onion John by Joseph Krumgold
Book 14 – A Book Written by Someone Under 30 /Over 70: The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler
Book 15 – A Book “Everyone” Has Read but You:  My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Book 16 – A Book Chosen for You by Your Spouse, Partner, Sibling, Child or BFF:

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