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.
Recently I read through a book to make notes for a professional voice actor who would be reading it for an audiobook production.
One of the goals of Fiction+ has been to encourage writers and editors to leave the stylebook behind whenever it gets in the way of creative expression.
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.”
When it comes to punctuation, there’s a difference between formal prose and creative writing.
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!”
In novels and stories and other creative works, words spoken by a character are normally set off from the narrative with quotation marks, and the speaker is identified in the run of text by tags like “she said.”
A comma is normally placed before a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, so, yet) that joins two independent subject-verb clauses—that is, clauses that could stand on their own as complete sentences. . . .
In editing formal prose, we fix nonstandard English without hesitation. But in editing creative works, we often need to throw out the stylebook so a narrator or character in a novel or play can abuse grammar to good effect. . . .