When I’m editing, I use the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). It’s a big rule book—or style guide. Mine clocks in at 1026 pages and weighs over three pounds. J
(And FYI—I titled this post the big book of orange because the 16th edition of the CMS is orange. The dust jacket is the pretty blue you see in the picture, but the actual cover is orange—as in bright pumpkin orange.)
A style guide basically sets the standards of writing, along with formatting, and documentation. The part of the book I use the most is the style and usage guide—which is a little less than half the book. It’s overwhelming, but thank goodness for a good index and table of contents.
The point of using a style guide is to stay consistent in your writing. So not only does it cover all those pesky grammar and punctuation issues, but also much more. These are the general headings in the Style/Usage section—the place I spend most of my time.
Grammar and Usage, Punctuation, Spelling, Distinctive Treatment of Words, and Compounds, Names and Terms, Numbers, Abbreviations, Foreign Languages, Mathematics in Type, Quotations and Dialogue
So the CMS is my go to reference when I’m editing. There are many different type of style guides, but the CMS seems to be one that is often used in general fiction publishing, and that’s why I chose it.