As teenagers, we stifled giggles whenever we sat behind the lady with the pineapple hair. I theorized that she hoped its astounding height would be slimming. I also guessed that she did not own a hand mirror and had never seen her hair from the rear. This tallest of beehives was teased and sprayed with little back support, like a peacock’s display.

This was the late 70s, so the beehive had been out for nearly a decade. Such a fate seemed unfathomable when those years constituted half our lifespans. Now, of course, it’s obvious how someone could fall even farther behind the trends. (And let’s not discuss our own style of the era, the Farrah Fawcett mane.)

So what gives us away as writers of a certain age?

1) “Type two spaces after each final punctuation mark.” Gone. Now all manuscripts match the book rule: one space. It’s such a hard habit to break, I use Find-Replace to check my own work as well as my clients’.

2) “Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em, then tell ’em, then tell ’em what you told ’em.” Who has time for that anymore? Get attention, get to the point, get out.

Editors! We’re makeover artists. Writer friends–the handheld mirror.

What have you changed in updating your writing style?
Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011