This weblog is about editing novels, so most posts will feature the dry, dry stuff of characterization, setting, plot, rising action, theme, climax, and dénouement.
Even drier are mechanics of spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
So for this first issue, I’ll pick a non-issue, the serial or Oxford comma.
In The Colorado Kid, how did Stephen King punctuate the following?
This ninety-year-old man with the thin white hair, narrow face and piercing blue eyes was not one of them.
This ninety-year-old man with the thin white hair, narrow face, and piercing blue eyes was not one of them.
If I were lucky enough to be his editor, what would be my comment? To Steve or to you, I’d say, “You’re the boss. Choose the one you like and be consistent.” Any good teacher of creative writing and editor worth a chewed blue pencil would advise the same.
In effect, pick a style and stick with it for the entire novel. Stephen King employed the serial comma in The Colorado Kid. You can be the king—or queen—and decree to use it or lose it.