One of the problems I encountered writing “The Tower” was writing numbers. Out of habit, I found myself just writing the number down, such as 99. Even when I would edit, I would not catch my mistake because it seemed normal to my brain.

Another problem I encountered was everyone has their number rules they use. One person would tell me to write every number out (ninety-nine) forever. Someone else told me to only write them out, up to one thousand. I finally decided I had to find one source and stick with it. I may have to change because of a publishers wishes, but at least I will have a base line to follow.

I finally decided to follow Merriam-Webster’s guide to punctuation. There are a few basic rules.
1. Write you numbers out until ninety-nine
2. Use the hyphen between written out numbers only if the first word ends in ty.
3. Whole numbers, up to ninety-nine are written out if followed by a hundred, thousand, million. Exp. (ninety-nine thousand) not 99 thousand.
4. Numbers that begin a sentence are written out.

There are numerous rules to follow, but the above are the basic ones. I found it was very helpful to me to have a small punctuation guide to follow. It is very difficult to get things written which will satisfy everyone. Bottom line is you won’t. When you are satisfied  and have edited to the best of your ability, then let someone else’s eyes look at your work. I have found it amazing what I don’t see.

About shirleymclain930

I'm a retired RN enjoying my retirement to the fullest. I liked adventure and travel and making friends. I have 6 dogs and 1 cat. They are like having a house full of three years olds. Now for the rest of the story. My Granddaughter and her husband now live with us and they have 4 dogs and 4 cats along with a giant Flemish Rabbit. My Granddaughter has now added beautiful, Olivia to our household. My fourth Great Grandchild. They are a large part of my life and I can't imagine them not being around. I spend most of my time sitting in front of my computer working on my latest book or talking about Essential Oils. On the personal side, I'm married to a wonderful man who spoils me and I love it. I am very much a country girl. I love living on our 5 acres on Pole Cat Creek watching the deer and other animals occasionally stick their​ heads out of the trees. It's a fun life.
  • Doug says:


    Me, not being a published author, never considered the numbers vs letters conundrum.

    Intersting post.