The editorial department often gets asked a lot of questions about resources that editors can use when they need help on a project. We thought it would be a great idea to compile a list of resources that every editor should have in their arsenal.
Here are seven fantastic resources for when you need help with your copyedit:
- The Chicago Manual of Style This resource will be your lifeline, your bread and butter, and your bible when it comes to editing. The majority of the publishing industry relies on this as their standard best practice, and there are only minor in-house changes to the guidelines outlined in Chicago. As every editor knows, there is a rule for everything, and Chicago has the complete list of every rule in the industry. While it is tricky to navigate and search, it offers the most expansive list of rules, policies, and guidelines.
- Merriam-Webster I feel like this is one of the most overlooked resources in the editing arsenal. While it primarily functions as a dictionary and thesaurus, I use it to check for variations in spellings, especially when it comes to hyphenations. Merriam-Webster will tell you what specific parts of speech require hyphens so that you can make a more informed decision. It’s also great for making sure variations in spelling due to different parts of speech are accurate.
- Grammar Girl Grammar Girl is a gem for writers and editors alike. It has been named one of Writer’s Digest’s best websites for writers on countless occasions. Mignon Fogarty, the founder of the website, offers short tips to help improve your writing, covering everything from grammar questions to tips and tricks for pesky grammar rules. If you have a question about anything related to grammar or writing, Grammar Girl has you covered!
- The Subversive Copy Editor This is a great resource for copyediting guidelines and conventions. This website is vast and varied, covering everything from guidelines to help you format your manuscript, tips to help you remember the standard rules for adjectives, and even things like rights and permissions.
- The Conscious Style Guide The Conscious Style Guide is my go-to whenever I am editing anything with sensitive topics or content. The Conscious Style Guide has compiled all of the latest news, observations, and style guides related to conscious language into one cohesive space for writers and editors to use.
- The Radical Copyeditor Similar to the Conscious Style Guide, this is another great resource for conscious editing and sensitivity reads. The Radical Copyeditor is a great resource to pass along to authors who may need extra help writing about sensitive topics. The writers have compiled guides on everything from writing about transgender people to using the adjective “diverse.”
- Purdue Owl’s Guide to AP Style As an editor you won’t deviate from Chicago very often, but on rare occasions when you need to edit using AP standards, I recommend this guide. It covers the basic deviations from Chicago and is very simple and easy to understand.
All of the resources I recommended were mainly websites that function as a find-and-go resource, but if you ever have the free time, I highly recommend looking through The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn and Marilyn Schwartz and Developmental Editing by Scott Norton. Both are excellent books to keep handy whenever you are undertaking a copyediting project.
The next time you get stumped by a manuscript, you can’t remember whether to use “which” or “that,” or if you just want to browse for some useful information on conscious editing, be sure to check out these resources!