A Snarkling subscribes to Vogue for Writers (cover art-George Clooney of course)

Miss Snark,
I'm newly addicted to your blog and have a question for you, if you don't mind. As a magazine journalist, I get highly annoyed when people submit stories to me that are chock full of obvious AP Style errors. Should writers submitting manuscripts stick to a certain style (Chicago? AP? Something else?) or would you be OK with it as long as the writer is consistent throughout?

There's a book about style? geeze, I maybe should get one.

Some nitwit (clearly not a snarkling) said on some sour grapes drenched post over yonder that clearly I wasn't an agent cause I punctuated my parenthesis and quotes incorrectly.

well, to that I say "fuckoffanddie".

Then of course, in the comments line over here somewhere, I get snapped at for ya'll instead of y'all.

Ya'll are in need of colon-ic: kindly, Miss Snark provides one.

Now to be on point so to speak: I totally agree there should be a consistent style in a manuscript. Most of the time I ask people to follow what's laid out in Writers Market or the other publishing books; that is, I'm not going to be rabid on the subject but you have to do a couple things right and the rest has to be consistent.

Mag journalism is different. They ARE nutso about style format. So are newspapers. Maybe cause they're working to deadlines that make Miss Snark reach for the gin pail and not a job application.

Almost every website I've seen gives suggestions for style, and things to watch out for. As in most things, following the directions given will be a smart move.

Now, I'd like to discuss the proper use of the ampersand. But first.. a gin&tonic.


Tribe said...

Mrs. Tribe is an editor at a national weekly...and more often than not arrives home complaining not only about the fact that freelancers don't adhere to any style, but get so, so pissy when their stuff is edited to make it conform to one style or another. They must have forgotten what "work for hire" means.

antfarm said...

Seems to me that ya'll is fine, cos it fits with yanno. Yanno?

K said...

It's mostly the tiny things I wonder about ... whether it should be OK or okay, etc. I doubt stuff like that would be a deal-breaker, but I'd like to annoy the agent and editors as little as possible.

And thanks for answering my question. :)

Ric said...

I had an editor friend edit my ms., and couldn't figure out what he was doing in some spots. Turns out, he is an old newspaper guy and used the AP style book. Fine, it was consistent at least.
Then I run into an agent who insists I use Strunk & White.
Then, there are agent's websites that request you use only Chicago.

Miss Snark, I think the question begs a more definitive answer. We're just looking for additional guidance on how not to send agents to their gin pails. Apparently, little things are all that is necessary to tick some of them off, and we certainly wouldn't want to do that, especially late at night.

Miss Snark said...

Ric...yea, no late night pissing contests please. One was enough.

As to style, I honest to god can't tell you to do anything OTHER than look at an agent's website and follow the directions. My site is pretty general: put it on 8.5 x 11 paper, double space, no whack job fonts and try to spell everything right.

OK versus okay..I could give a damn.

Laid versus lay..that I care about but that's not style.

If someone wants you to follow the AP style handbook, do it.

If they want Chicago do it.

Be smart of course and save each version so you're not going back and forth.

Almost every PUBLISHER I know has a stylebook, but that's for when the project is SOLD, not in submission.

Hope this helps.

Ric said...

Miss Snark,

What a lovely and thoughtful answer.



Desperate Writer said...

Well, being a Texas girl, I stick by the y'all, instead of "you all" or "ya'll." And I was brow-beaten by CPs until I finally made OK "okay."

Desperate Writer wonders if Miss Snark wiped the gin infused drool off her TV screen after watching George Clooney on Letterman last night. :) Awfil thing, that back injury he had, I shudder to think what would have happened to him had they not found out that he was leaking spinal fluid.

OrphanGirl said...

Your boyfriend is going to be on the Daily Show tonight, if your PI hasn't already let you know. ;)

Miss Snark said...

ohhhhh!!!!! Miss Snark will now have to remove the aquarium from the television and tune up the rabbit ears to see her beloved.

Will y'all start worrying if I talk about his subliminal messages to me that I picked up during the interview?

tepy said...

I had a girlfriend named Kay. Once, while we were closely entwined, I said "Ohhhh Kay."

Miss Snark, will you have my babies?