Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. I edit short summaries for nonfiction books. As you know, for informal writing, the bending of grammatical and stylistic rules is tolerated. I’m establishing a style guide to produce all my summaries in consistent style. I would love to know how CMOS might help me, or if you have any other resource that book editors may resort to.

A. If you are a subscriber to CMOS Online, you can use our Style Sheet feature to keep track of rules you decide to bend. You can make as many style sheets as you like. Style sheets can be copied, downloaded, and e-mailed to other people. Within a style sheet, you can use a button to insert a hot-linked reference to any numbered section of the Manual.

The Notes feature would also come in handy, since it allows you to annotate any section of CMOS to include your own styles and rules. 

As for guidance on editing informal writing, the decisions you make will be specific to each author’s intention and tone and audience. It’s more a matter of editorial judgment than something you can follow rules for. But the guidelines in CMOS covering punctuation, hyphenation, capitalization, and myriad other topics should still be very useful.