Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. CMOS suggests that non-English terms be italicized on first use, a practice I follow when editing nonfiction. I am currently editing a novel set in Caesar’s time, featuring Roman weapons and other Latin terms. Does this practice also apply to novels? I find the italics interrupt the flow in fiction.

A. Many rules that work well in nonfiction are better forgotten in novels. Readers of fiction are used to encountering words that at first sight may be nonsensical. Your job is to make sure that readers don’t have to wait too long for the context to make the meaning clear.