Pacman or Pac-Man? Phony or phoney? Post-modern or postmodern?
At some point in your writing you’re going to need a style guide. Many publishers use the definitive Chicago Manual of Style, but it’s weighty — and expensive! Online tools are quicker — and cheaper — and the best general style guide I’ve come across is the one published by the UK’s Guardian and Observer newspapers. Entries are often short and to the point:
Here you’ll find:
- A style-related quote. (There’s a different one on each page, indexed to the letter concerned, from Aristotle to Zeno by way of Vampire Weekend and Yoda.)
- A plug for the Guardian’s style guide on Twitter, worth following, if only for gems like this:
- A clickable A-Z index (much more useful than their homepage).
- An illustration of one of the phrases therein.
- And the meat and potatoes, the entries themselves.
The guide is slightly English-centric. You’ll find references to the 11-plus and freshers’ week, but it’s well maintained and bang up to date.
It’s also a great “grazing” resource. Take these two entries, for example:
Or this—proof that even tired cliches can still be made to work:
(PS: It’s Pac-Man, phoney and postmodern.)