"Bunny-Fucking," "Cockbrisket," And Serial Commas: A Copy Editor’s Guide To Nicholson Baker’s Filthy New Book
by Tommy Craggs
Below is the copy editor's style sheet for Nicholson Baker's House of Holes, which The New York Times has called both a "porny Alice in Wonderland" and a "hideously glorious filthfest" (Sam Lipsyte said the latter; Sam Lipsyte would know) and which accomplishes what all great modern literature aspires to: using "Malcolm Gladwell' as a synonym for penis.
STYLE SHEET, 6 Dec 10
Nicholson Baker, House of Holes
Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed.
Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed.
Words into Type, 3d ed.
spell out large round numbers and numbers under 100
set decades as digits: "the 1950s," but "the fifties" and "the nineteenth century"
use serial comma
set letters used as letters roman and capitalized; set words used as words in quotes (see 225)
set sound effects, noises, and thoughts roman and without quotation marks
capitalize full sentences after colons: Do it like this
sentence fragments OK
commaless adjective stacking sometimes OK: e.g., "some huge soft heavy sad hangers"
use double possession: He was a friend of Bill's.
a row of dots under a letter, word, or phrase generally means "In some contexts this should be styled differently, but here it is fine as is" unless there is a query in the margin at that point, in which case it means "This is what the query is referring to."
Small angle brackets around the bottom of a phrase mean "See the query in the margin."
terms or names on the following pages that are in brackets do not appear explicitly in the text
starred items on the following pages have not been independently confirmed
ass jeans (240; see query)
ass pants (241; see query)
backcheeks (241; see note)
ball load (97; see query)
ballsack (31; see query)
(and much - much - more)