Guidelines for writing astronomical papers

for students writing their first paper (and others)
Rev. December, 2007

Here are a few generally accepted practices for science writing, with some of my own biases. I'm sure I've forgotten a lot of things that could be here. Suggestions are welcome. This is an evolving document.
The Big Picture General Guidelines General proofreading advice
When completing a paper, spend 6-8 hours (over several days) carefully going through a paper. The temptation when writing is often to throw down a bunch of somewhat-related ideas with a few citation to show that you're aware there's a literature out there on your topic. Your goal should be a masterful synthesis (especially for intros to theses and some papers) that demonstrates your mastery of your subfield. Writing is supposed to be educational...yea, even entertaining! Specific things