A great many common abbreviations behave perfectly well in any fiction or nonfiction context, including dialogue, when the general guidelines in CMOS are observed: Mr., Ms., CEO, p.m., PhD, UFO. Editors should have no quarrel with them, as long as they’re styled consistently.
Blurbs are quotations of praise that appear on book covers and jackets, in press releases, on author websites, posters, and ads, in social media, and in the unnumbered pages at the beginning of a novel or creative nonfiction book. They may be solicited or excerpted from published reviews.
In our Fiction+ series, we set out to help CMOS users adapt Chicago style to creative writing contexts. Sometimes, Chicago’s general guidelines already work just fine; other times, they need a little noodge to sit comfortably on a page of fiction.
Editors are never happy. First they throw a fit if you send in a manuscript without page numbers, but once you send them a paginated work, they complain when you try to discuss a sentence on page 67.
When we think about writing numbers, we tend to think of research papers, financial reports, sports columns, and other quantity-laden nonfiction settings. But novelists and playwrights and poets also puzzle over how to style numbers.
What exactly is the past perfect? And what’s wrong with using it?
Now and then, a writer or editor asks our online Q&A whether mentioning a brand name in a work of fiction requires permission or the addition of the trademark (™) or registered (®) symbol.
Recently I read through a book to make notes for a professional voice actor who would be reading it for an audiobook production.
The other day, I ran across this line in a recent novel by a best-selling American writer (key words are disguised): “His disposition warmed faster than did the gradually dawning day.”
A few months ago in a conference session, a group of novelists digressed into good-natured complaints about being copyedited. One writer drew a lot of laughs saying, “I mean, I got A’s in English! I know where the freaking commas go!”