NaNoBlogwhatever 9 of 30:
If you write fiction, your publisher probably uses The Chicago Manual of Style for consistency purposes, probably in conjunction with some house-made rules designed to ensure that, well, when given the opportunity, people don’t just make up rules on the spot. (Your non-fiction publisher might also use CMOS, but there are other books in use–and for both nonfiction and fiction, other supplemental books in use, too.) It’s a pricey book, and though there are differences in editions, you’d probably be okay picking up an edition one or two iterations back if you saw it for cheap. That said, big chunks of CMOS aren’t useful unless you need to cite sources, and there isn’t any real guidance for punctuating dialogue, which is one of the hardest things for many writers, in part because there are so many ways to do it right. . .and so many more ways to do it wrong.
What I meant to link you to, however, is the editors’ monthly mailbag, which you can sign up to be notified about via the link “Sign Up for Q & A Alerts” on this page. I love the little discussions–and how often the advice comes down to “Don’t try to fix it–just rewrite it!”
NaNoBlogwhatever 5 of 30:
Following on to yesterday’s post about typos, today I want to share a link about having a copy editor, with some bonus comma tips. Of course, Edan Lepucki had a wonderful experience, but I think that the reality is that copy editing is that stage when you have someone point out all your whoopsies, and it can sting a little. You can also disagree, or have a copy editor who doesn’t quite get you, or you can be at a stage in your understanding where you think your copy editor is wrong, wrong, wrong. Basically, an editor’s job is to query just about everything, and to give you the opportunity to be intentional. If an editor sees it, a reader will see it, and then the author gets to decide, through revision or application of stet, how to address a perceived problem.
I think this can be tough emotionally, but if you can give yourself the okay to step away, to see writing as an equation of words, just for a little bit, it’s easier. I often see people say hey, if I am not having my work picked at, I’m not sure my editor is doing their job–and I think that’s a fine way to approach it.
Relatedly, I think that making your own style sheet at some point when you’re just sure you’re done with the book, but after you’ve set it aside for at least a few weeks, can be a wonderful approach to self-editing. It’s a way to help you see whether your work is consistent–and consistent is nearly always better than inconsistent.
Of course, none of this matter RIGHT NOW, NaNoers. Just keep getting words on the page. How are you doing?