So there you are, clattering away at the keyboard and filling page after page with enthralling dialogue and vivid imagery. Suddenly, your fingers halt as your brain wrestles with a question of grammar. You have a sentence in mind, but you’re not quite sure if the phrasing is acceptable.
What do you do?
Do you forge ahead, risking potential editorial wrath? Do you take the not-quite-easy way out and re-write the entire line, thus avoiding grammatical conflict?
You grab that coat by the lapels and consult the Chicago Manual of Style. Now in its sixteenth edition, the CMOS gives definite and definitive answers to your most pressing prose questions. Is the singular they acceptable, or is the more formal (if slightly stilted) he or she required? Are social titles always abbreviated? What on earth is an em dash, and when should you employ one?
Even a first-time reader will find that the CMOS is user-friendly, with clearly marked sections, a cross-referenced index, and a how-to section for editors. After a few consultations, you’ll have no trouble flipping to the correct page for the answer to almost any question.
While it’s not the sole authority on composition—publishers often have a house style, and other countries have established rules of their own—the CMOS is an excellent reference for novice and novelist alike.
Oh, dear. There is one thing that the Chicago Manual of Style can’t help with, and that is bailing out a flooded basement. Three and a half inches of rain in an equal number of hours? Sigh. Thankfully, my sweaters are stored in the attic. Have a lovely week, everyone. Stay dry, and remember: a well-turned phrase is always in style!
|Grateful that any bailing to be done does not involve jail, The Style Maven makes up for a chronic lack of sleep by consuming vast amounts of caffeine. You can read about the adventures of her alter ego, The Procraftinator, here.|