At Last! A Style Manual For Fiction Writers!!!

Vaughn C. Hardacker

Vaughn Hardacker here: Are you in a quandary trying to find a gift for the writer in your life? Have you given thought to a style manual? When I became serious about writing I was told that two books were essential to learning the craft : The Chicago Manual of Style ($52.99 on Amazon) and Merriam-Websters Collegiate Dictionary ($10.68 on Amazon). I believe there is a more apropos manual of style.

Several months ago a member of my weekly writer group spoke about a book titled Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style ($13.19 on Amazon). Benjamin Dreyer (vice-president, executive managing editor and copy chief, of Random House) has written a style manual that reads like your favorite novel. It is authoritative as well as amusing. In the past when I had a question about style, I would get my CMS and look up the item of interest.  I have read Dreyer’s English cover-to-cover and enjoyed it. The material is written in such a manner that I was entertained as

Dreyer’s English

well as educated. It was reminiscent of that one professor who created a learning environment that made me want to attend every class he/she taught.

Dreyer offers lessons on punctuation, from the underloved semicolon to the enigmatic en dash; the rules and non-rules of grammar, including why it’s OK to begin a sentence with “And” or “But” and to confidently split an infinitive. He will let you know whether “alright” is all right (sometimes) and even help you brush up on your spelling–though he notes: “The problem with mnemonic devices is that I can never remember them.”

This book would be invaluable to anyone who wants to build their writing skills and should be mandatory for people who spend their time editing and shaping prose.  I believe that the book’s greatest strength is that, unlike most style manuals, it was not written by the English faculty of a university–who most likely have never actually written a novel–but rather by someone who has actually worked in the publishing industry.

About Vaughn C. Hardacker

Vaughn C. Hardacker has published seven novels and numerous short stories. He is a member of the New England Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, and the International Thriller writers. Three times he has been a finalist in the Maine Literary Awards Crime Fiction category, SNIPER in 2015, THE FISHERMAN in 2016, and WENDIGO for the 2018 award. The second installment of his Ed Traynor series, MY BROTHER'S KEEPER, was released in July 2019 and is available through all major booksellers. A signed copy can be ordered directly from Vaughn ( RIPPED OFF is his most recently published crime/thriller, it was released on January 25, 2023 by Encircle Publications. He is a veteran of the U. S. Marines and served in Vietnam. He holds degrees from Northern Maine Technical College, the University of Maine and Southern New Hampshire University. He lives in Stockholm, Maine.
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5 Responses to At Last! A Style Manual For Fiction Writers!!!

  1. John Clark says:

    Thanks Vaughn, this does sound fun as well as useful.

  2. Kate Flora says:

    Great to learn about this, Vaughn. Thanks.

  3. Brenda Buchanan says:

    Cool suggestion! Thanks, Vaughn!

  4. maggierobinsonwriter says:

    I have this on my Kindle, but I’ve yet to have a chance to read it. Must remedy that.

  5. Anonymous says:


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