Writers, do you believe your readers won’t notice misinformation in your fiction? Think there are no fact checkers out there? You’d be wrong.
Your writing is read by people with all types of backgrounds and experiences – both personal and professional. When a novel deals with or even lightly touches on issues with the military or government, some things are open to creative license, but others need to be accurate. This includes things like abbreviations, reference styles, phrasing, rank capitalizations, terminology and more.
Here’s a list of resources (as of the writing of this post) we’ve compiled to help you get the facts you need to keep those parts of your novel beyond reproach; we’ll add to it as we discover new sites.
Air Force Communications Resource, Tongue and Quill: http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/saf_cio_a6/publication/afh33-337/afh33-337.pdf
Handbook that covers all aspects of communication including government information resources (helpful for authors!).
Air Force Official Memorandum: http://www.airforcewriter.com/officialmemorandum.htm
Sample of an official Air Force memorandum, including references and style.
Army Correspondence Manual:
Detailed manual for preparing and managing all types of correspondence in the US Army
Department of Defense: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/511004m_v2.pdf
Communications manual covering forms of address, salutations, closings, how to address members of the government (Congress, senators, etc.) and enlisted military personnel of all levels, ranks and their abbreviations, and more.
Marine Corps Correspondence Manual: http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/MCO%205216.20B.pdf
Includes capitalization, punctuation, abbreviation, military grades and organizations and much more to be used in Marine correspondence.
National Geographic Style Manual: Military Ranks:
Abbreviations, capitalization, and other standardizations of military rank references, including links to other branches of US armed forces.
National Guard Bureau Manual: http://www.ngbpdc.ngb.army.mil/pubs/CNGBI/CNGBM5051_01_20130516.pdf
Manual for editorial guidance and document preparation including preferred word usage, acronyms, abbreviations, style and more.
Navy Correspondence Manual: http://www.marforres.marines.mil/Portals/116/Docs/G-1/AAU/AAUDocuments/CORRESPONDENCE%20MANUAL.pdf
Detailed manual with everything you need to know about how correspondence is phrased, formatted, abbreviations used, etc. by the US Department of the Navy.
Notre Dame Editorial Style Guide:
Preferred style and terminology for Notre Dame media and publications.
US Government Publishing Office:
Style manual with the rules of form and style used for government printing.
West Point Style Guide:
Insignia, marks, terminology, typeface, heraldry, colors, publication design standards and more for West Point.
AP Stylebook for Military Titles:
List of military titles that includes rules for capitalization, abbreviation, order of reference and more for all branches of the military according to AP style.
Let us know in the comments if you know of any other helpful government or military reference sites!