There are so many moments to take in during the editing process, but perhaps one of the most basic considerations is HOW it all happens. There are certain things that HAVE to happen, but they might not always happen in the right order or in the same way for everyone. If it happens and it happens well, is the HOW really that important? Maybe. Maybe not.
Chicago Manual of Style
Opinions are like . . . you know: everybody’s got one. House editing style guides and preferences are no different. Browse through any random collection of imprint house publications, periodicals, or online articles, and you’ll witness a menagerie of guides, including The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), the Associated Press Stylebook(AP), and a smattering of personal preferences seemingly chosen at random. The resulting style format can resemble an amalgamation of spare parts—something akin to a Frankenstein’s monster of house style. The curious aspect is the specific, obscure details individual editors decide to take a stand on—the hills upon which they choose to fight and die.
I recently had the pleasure of attending my first professional editing conference, Red Pencil 6: Tracking Changes in Editing. This biennial conference is put on by the Northwest Independent Editors Guild and, according to the organization’s website, welcomes more than two hundred editors from the Pacific Northwest and beyond for a day of learning, networking, and camaraderie. This year’s conference took place on September 23 at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. I was thrilled to be able to attend the event with seven other Ooligan editors.
“Please take back out every Oxford comma,” a journalistic-minded author of mine once said. I began my editing career using Associated Press (AP) Style, so I understood his suggestion, but the house style at my current company mandated the use of the serial comma. We had a short, spirited, and (thankfully) respectful debate about it, and ultimately house style prevailed. I convinced the author that the meaning in his writing remained unchanged and using a serial comma accomplished something important to the company—it maintained consistency throughout their titles.
In the US, there are two style guides for professional writing and editing that reign supreme. In one corner, we have the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), currently in its sixteenth edition and beloved most in the arena of book publishing. In the other corner, we have the Associated Press Stylebook (AP), the most widely […]