Alchemy

Alchemy

Transforming the ordinary

Recent Posts

How Does an Editor Prepare to Edit Your Work?

How Does an Editor Prepare to Edit Your Work?

Editing is much more than looking at punctuation, spelling, and grammar, and even those aspects are complex. Editors have to prepare to edit a work in a number of ways including education, consultation, and making careful decisions about what and how to edit. Below are […]

OK vs O.K. vs Okay vs ok – Which do I use?

OK vs O.K. vs Okay vs ok – Which do I use?

In short, they’re all acceptable. I was taught to spell out OK or ok or O.K. as its full word ‘okay’. But I wanted to question that. My favourite style guide Chicago Manual of Style (US- used in publishing, academics, and more across countries), and […]

Style Manuals and Guides

Style Manuals and Guides

As an editor, a style manual is my most important tool. As a writer, a style manual helps improve my writing and ensure consistency in content.

Editors use style manuals to ensure writing and publications are consistent. Manuals or books are generalized standards for design and writing elements like punctuation, spelling, and grammar.

Guides are specialized standards specific to an organization (like a publisher) or a publication such as a document, a book, a series, or a website.

Style manuals and guides ensure the writing and design conventions, words, and quality are consistent and relevant to their audience. They may incorporate elements of branding as well.

I would venture a guess there are over one hundred style guides and manuals that are published. On top of those are all the specialized in-house style guides publishers use.

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is commonly used in published fiction, academic social sciences and arts disciplines, and creative non-fiction, especially in the US and Canada (and sometimes the UK). There are:

  • national press style guides and manuals
  • different manuals for scientific and medical texts like IEEE  which is based on CMS
  • MLA (scholarly publications)
  • APA (used for psychology and some social sciences)
  • New Oxford Style Manual (UK)
  • many editing handbooks with style conventions
  • DCITA’s style manual (AUS)
  • Greenslade’s style manual(AUS)

The list goes on and on. You can see one collected list of style manuals and guides by country here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_style_guides

An editor will have a favourite style manual, and/or will choose one or more manuals to fit your manuscript or writing project. My favourites are CMS 17th edition, New Oxford Style Manual, Canadian Press Stylebook, and Greenslade’s style manual.

If you writers want to explore these manuals to improve your writing, please do. If you are in the US and Canada, start off with CMS 17th  online or physical. If you’re in the UK go for New Oxford Style Manual, and if you’re in AUS go for Greenslade’s.

For the Story – Your Story Your Budget Editing Promotion

For the Story – Your Story Your Budget Editing Promotion

What you get: 1 round of edits for whatever your budget. What you need: a manuscript up to 200, 000 words, a story Catherine loves Catherine will take on a limited number of manuscripts to edit for the month of August and September. Pay what […]

Famous Books with Errors

Famous Books with Errors

It is a lot of work to write a book, and authors and editor’s everywhere can never, no matter how hard they try, be perfect. It is a fool’s errand to consider perfection the goal. What ultimately matters is the story shines through in clear and well-written manner. We do our best for readers. We want to put our best foot forward, but no matter how hard we try someone will always find something we missed. It doesn’t help that English has many dialects and subjective choices when it comes to grammar, syntax, and punctuation (it is why we use or create style guides as editors).

Follow the link below to some famous books that readers still loved (or hated to love or loved to hate) with errors.

Meanwhile I am going to be in a corner trying not to worry about the errors in my own books….

5 Famous Novels that Have Huge Mistakes

Dashes (including faltering vs stuttering in dialogue)

Dashes (including faltering vs stuttering in dialogue)

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about faltering and stuttering in dialogue and dash usage. It can get pretty confusing which to use when. It all comes down to what industry you’re writing in, but you should be checking a style guide right for […]

Reduce Word Count and Improve Clarity

Reduce Word Count and Improve Clarity

The most important aspect of your writing is your story. Get your plot, characters, subplots, data, conclusions, and heart of your writing down on the page first. If you’re stuck or face writers block, check out author Adam Dreece’s Get Unstuck video. The next important […]

Self-Publishing isn’t a quick fix, Traditional Publishers aren’t fettering the market

Self-Publishing isn’t a quick fix, Traditional Publishers aren’t fettering the market

Saskatchewan Book Publishing Week

Editors Make Mistakes Too, and it is Okay

Editors Make Mistakes Too, and it is Okay

It is a lot of work to write a book, and authors and editor’s everywhere can never, no matter how hard they try, be perfect. It is a fool’s errand to consider perfection the goal. What ultimately matters is that the story shines through in […]