Saturday, September 5, 2009

Chicago Manual of Style

Just thought I'd drop a quick note about my experience using the Chicago Manual of Style. I spoke about it before, but had only used the Q&A section. The Q&A is free, but doesn't necessarily contain everything you might need. The manual is in outline form, so looking up particulars is relatively easy. You can access the outline free also, in case you want to learn more about it before subscribing.

No, I don't receive a kickback from them. (Unless they really want to reward me for the mention... I could force myself to accept a gratuity.) I do like to share whatever great things I happen to stumble over in my quest to write this book. I have used the Q&A a couple of times, and thought it was very helpful.

Yesterday I had a brain fart. That's what I call it anyway. I had a punctuation issue come up where memory failed me. I knew I knew the answer, but it was buried deep, and I didn't have time to find a shovel. I clicked on my shortcut button for the manual. I tried the Q&A, but, after a few clicks, I hadn't found the answer I wanted. I quickly decided to bite the bullet and make the HUGE investment of $30/yr for a subscription. Delightfully, they offer a 30 day free trial! Although I will pay the fee when my 30 days are up, I do appreciate an extra month.

I spent less than a minute signing up. They send a confirmation e-mail. I clicked on the link in the e-mail and accessed my awesome manual. From the time I decided to sign up until I had the answer that had sent me there in the first place, took about 3 minutes. For less than a dime a day, I now have access to an indexed reference that is quick, user-friendly, and concise. Unless you are an expert in the area of grammar, I encourage you to check out the online manual.

I love being a writer in this day of technology. I can't imagine myself, years ago, sitting in a stiff chair, facing a typewriter, surrounded by stacks of reference materials, (atlas, dictionary, thesaurus, grammar text...) feeling creative. When the juices are flowing, I want as little interruption as possible. If I have to lift my fingers from the keyboard to the mouse, I can deal with that!


Stephanie Faris said...

Cool! I need to check into that, too. I imagine now, when someone critiques something you've done and it disagrees with the manual, you'll feel pretty smug!

Susan R. Mills said...

Okay, you've talked me into it! I'm subsribing!

Terri Tiffany said...

I've got the hardback-love the old-fashioned way:)