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.
Switching to italics for the occasional word or phrase borrowed from another language—and not listed in a standard English-language dictionary—can be helpful to readers.
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.
Anyone who learned to type on a QWERTY keyboard would be excused for thinking the semicolon is the most important mark of punctuation in English; why else would it be sitting right there on the home row?
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.
A few weeks ago at my local library I came across a novel I’d been wanting to read. I didn’t have time for another book, but I took it home anyway.