Writing for Sharper Iron
Sharper Iron is always looking for thoughtful writing from a Christian perspective. The best way to get involved is to submit an article. Articles should be around 1000 to 2000 words in length.
Send articles in publishable format (proofread by several people, spell-checked, grammar-checked, and ready to go).
Normally, authors must be believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and agree with our Doctrinal Statement.
Please e-mail the article to the editor as a Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or OpenOffice (.odf) file. (Use the contact form to obtain the best email address.)
Document Specifications: Following These Saves Us Some Work
- Left aligned
- A single, mainstream font throughout (Arial is preferred)
- First lines of paragraphs not indented
- No empty paragraphs/lines between paragraphs (for white space between paragraphs, use paragraph styling)
- Italics for emphasis (not underlining, bold, or ALL CAPITALS)
- Headings to divide up the content (bold these or use heading styles)
- One space after periods (separating sentences), not two.
Use quotation marks correctly
- Use double quotes (“) around quoted text, not single ones (‘) unless the quote is within a quote. (He said, “James called me ‘bellicose and pugillistic’ yesterday.”)
- Commas and periods never go outside quotation marks. (Best: He said, “Hi.” Avoid: He said “Hi”. Best: … a “thingy,” a “dealybob,” and a “gizmo.” Avoid: … a “thingy”, a “dealybob”, etc.
- A question mark goes inside the quotation marks if what you’re quoting is a question, otherwise, they go outside the quotation marks. (He asked, “What’s that mark on your forehead?” I shrugged. It was more of a number, really, but was there anything wrong with calling it a “mark”?)
- Use block quoting (indenting) when a quotation is large enough to extend for three lines or more.
When quoting or paraphrasing another author, cite sources within your article itself whenever possible. Footnotes are more work, but OK if necessary. When possible, use in-text citations similar to MLA style.
Example of how to include quoted material in an article: John Doe says in his book Modern Praise, “The best praise is the praise on your knees” (5). Another way: As one expert put it, “The best praise is the praise on your knees” (Doe 5).
In MLA style, both of the above would also require a section like this at the end:
Doe, John. Modern Praise. Univ Podunk Press, 2005.
Another option, if not too unwieldy, is to include adequate source information in the text, like this: A scholar of clever quips wrote, “The best praise is the praise on your knees” (John Doe, Modern Praise, 2005; 5).
The idea is to help readers find the source if they’d like to research further, but Sharper Iron doesn’t require source citation to the standards of academic writing.
For Scripture quotations, use the version you prefer. Include the version abbreviation in parentheses after the first quoted or paraphrased passage of Scripture. You do not need to include “KJV,” “NASB,” etc. each time you quote a verse unless you switch versions from the previous quote. Include the reference when you quote or paraphrase a verse. Format Bible references as follows:
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (KJV).
Jesus told Nicodemus God “gave his only begotten Son” (KJV, John 3:16).
Double-check Bible quotes for accuracy. Accurate quoting includes spelling, punctuation and capitalization (note: KJV does not capitalize pronouns in reference to God).
When using abbreviated names for books of the Bible (best only in parentheses), these are generally preferred:
Plagiarism: Don’t Do It
In the Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers, Lynn Quitman Troyka writes:
Plagiarism is presenting another person’s words or ideas as if they were your own… . You do not need to acknowledge information that is considered common knowledge—for example, that Columbus’s ships landed in America in 1492… . You must, however, acknowledge the source of any words you quote. Along with your documentation, you must always use quotation marks or, if the material is more than three lines, an indented format. You must also acknowledge your source when you paraphrase or summarize someone else’s ideas… . Writing the words of others in your own words does not release you from your obligation to attribute the material to its originator.
If you have not already submitted one, please include a short bio—a few sentences about your background. Including a link or two is fine.
Feel free to ask. Use the site contact form.