Editorial Content is the name of the monthly essay I write about editing topics for the Apex Book Company Patreon backers. Here is a preview of this month’s essay “Comma Sense.”
Did you know that of the 1,146 pages comprising the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, that 325 pages are dedicated to the proper usage of commas?
Okay, I pulled that fact out of thin air. But I bet many of you (myself included) would not be surprised if this was true. Out of all the elements of composition and grammar, the application of commas is simultaneously the most contested and the least important aspect of writing.
One of my most embarrassing editing experiences involves commas, a well-respected and uniquely talented writer of cosmic horror, and my personal obstinance. Way, way back in the early days of Apex Magazine, I approached this writer for a reprint. (She’ll remain anonymous because I don’t want anyone sending her this essay and reminding her of my mistakes.) Having her name in the zine would be a Big Deal. A stamp of quality and a statement of the type of content we wanted.
The query went well. She was gracious and obliged me with a fantastic story to reprint. I immediately accepted it and returned it to her with a couple of minor punctuation edits.