A Style Manual for Outdoor Writers

We use the AP Stylebook to help us maintain consistency in Arizona Wildlife Views. I just received a new version, an update of the reference that’s been on my desk at Arizona Game and Fish since 2004.

Leaping nearly a decade of style changes means re-reading the manual, always a mind-awakening exercise. It’s not a book of rules. There are helpful reminders about the differences between words such as “affect” and “effect.” Reading it stimulates my word-loving brain.

To edit books, we use the Chicago Manual of Style. The AP Stylebook of 2004 had 378 pages; the 2013 edition holds 483. Chicago beats them both: the 16th edition is more than 1,000 pages long. No, I have not read it cover to cover.

I don’t refer to the Chicago Manual often unless I’m editing a book. There’s another style manual I call on much more frequently. The Outdoor Reference Manual is published by the Outdoor Writers Association of America, a professional association I belong to. In this slender volume lives a lexicon for boating, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor sports. From “aback” (a type of sail) to “zooplankton” (aquatic animals that feed on algae), it’s all in the manual.

If you write about outdoor recreation, I highly recommend this book as an essential reference. It’s available in the store at owaa.org.


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