Writers’ Guidelines

Providence is happy to accept unsolicited manuscripts. Writers should familiarize themselves with the magazine and website, noting our commitment to rigorous analysis delivered in widely accessible prose aimed at a thoughtful readership, as well as our willingness to be edgy, witty, and to pick a fight and be polemical—all while motivated and seasoned by charity.

Topics

Providence publishes widely on matters intersecting Christian faith and theology with national security, foreign policy, international relations, political theory, defense, war, terrorism, global economy, energy, etc. Operating generally from within a Christian realist perspective, we have a strong focus on presenting the classic just war tradition as an alternative to pacifist idealism; on presenting moral claims as real claims as an alternative to cynical realism and therefore on expanding the definition of national interest to include more than security and economic, cultural, or political well-being; on presenting responsibility as an alternative to isolationism even as we also provision prudential limits to intervention; on standing against knee-jerk, indiscriminate anti-Israelism. That said, Christian realism is a wide tradition, and we are open to publishing views from across the political spectrum so long as they help address or advance our focal concerns.

Readership

Writers should presume an intelligent but non-specialist readership. In other words, the average reader has probably been to or graduated from college, but may not have studied foreign policy, international relations, or Christian ethics. When specialist ideas and words are mentioned, they should be explained or defined briefly.

Style and Exceptions

Unless otherwise noted, Providence uses The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), seventeenth edition.

For quick reference, below are some CMOS rules that some writers may not be accustomed to:

  • For definitions and spellings, follow Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (see 2.54).
  • Use the Serial (Oxford) Comma (see 6.19).
  • Professional and other titles should generally be lowercase unless used before a name (see 8.19-26). For instance, the president; George Washington, the first president of the United States; President George Washington.
  • Pronouns for God and Jesus can be capitalized if the author wishes, though Chicago recommends against it (see 8.95).
  • Regardless of length, all prepositions in a headline or article title are usually lowercase (see 8.159).
  • Generally, ordinals between first and one-hundredth are spelled out (see 9.6), including for centuries like the twenty-first century (see 9.32).
  • The United States should be abbreviated as “US” and not “U.S.” (see 10.4).
  • For the Arabic definite article “al,” put in lowercase (unless at the beginning of the sentence) and connect to the noun with a hyphen. For instance, use al-Qaeda and Bashar al-Assad (see 11.79). On another note, use Kim Jong-un instead of Kim Jong Un.

Our exceptions to Chicago include:

  • Chicago’s general rule for possessives requires almost all plural nouns end with an apostrophe and an s, even if the word ends in s. For instance, the possessive of bass is bass’s (see 7.16). Instead, Providence follows the alternative practice for words ending in s, so the possessive of bass would be bass’ (see 7.22).
  • For a member of the US Marine Corps, Chicago puts “marine” in lowercase (see 8.112; note that the word for a member of the US Senate, “senator,” is also lowercase, unless used as a title before a name). American tradition capitalizes “Marine,” and official US military style guides also capitalize words like “Sailor,” “Airman,” “Soldier,” and even “Family.” Providence will only capitalize Marine.
  • Numbers from zero through 100 are spelled out according to CMOS (see 9.2). However, Providence follows the alternative rule (see 9.3), which requires spelling out single-digit numbers (zero through nine) and using numerals for all others.
  • When creating endnote citations for articles found online, do not give entire URL. Instead, give only the domain name (e.g., ProvidenceMag.com).

Citations

We prefer narrative citations worked into the body of the text (e.g., “In her book Just War Against Terror, Jean Bethke Elshtain argues…” or, if more detail is deemed important, “In the chapter ‘The Pulpit Responds to Terror’ in her book Just War Against Terror, Jean Bethke Elshtain argues…”). That said, readability, flow, and accurate attribution are crucial. We want our readers to sense that arguments emerge from a body of traditional thought on these matters and our mission is aided by guiding readers to appropriate sources and thinkers. We are willing to defer to the writer’s judgment as to whether to use parenthetical page numbers or location indicators following quotations or when to resort to endnotes (never footnotes) to add supplemental commentary or to avoid clogging up the prose with a large number of citations.

For essays or blogs submitted for the website, please embed links where necessary.

Article Length:

For the website, we prefer to publish articles that are between 500 to 1,200 words long but are willing to publish longer pieces that are readable.

For the print edition, book reviews are between 800 to 1,200 words long, essays are 1,500 to 3,000 words long, and lead features are between 3,250 to 4,000 words long.

Payment:

We pay $100 per article for the website.

For the print edition, we pay $250 for book reviews and between $500 and $1,000 for essays and features.

Contributors will need to provide an invoice and fill out tax paperwork before we can pay.

Submissions:

Manuscripts in Microsoft Word format (.doc or .docx) can be sent to Marc LiVecche at mlivecche@theird.org.