Other Cool Blogs: Magical Words August 18, 2015

Image courtesy of gubgib at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Style Sheets

I’ve been hunting around for a blog with details about what is needed for style sheets to share with you, my fellow writers, and lo and behold the amazing Melissa McArthur addresses them in her Magical Words “Copy and Line Editing” post.

What is a style sheet? In the old publishing houses, the style sheet provides information about the standards and practices of the publisher. In the editing cycle, the style sheet is created by the author to provide the content (line, copy, and proofreading) editor guidance on spelling of places, capitalization, and the like. An expanded version may be referred to as a “series bible”, aiding in the tracking of characters, locations, and history.

Specific things for a style sheet:

    • English or American spelling and words? (color/colour; elevator/lift)
    • Spelling of names and nicknames. (Kassandra, Troy)
    • Specialized language – foreign phrases used by characters, contractions (can’t).
    • Created words – for locations, names, and objects.
    • Punctuation and capitalization practices.
    • Physical: Hair, skin, and eye color; weight and height (and if it changes, when).
    • Body movement: stances, walking style, sitting.
    • What people can see immediately: Preferred clothing, occupation, weapons of choice.
    • Dialogue impacts: Verbal tics, education, voice (cracks, deep, etc.).
    • For a Series Bible – who has met whom.
    • Important locations (for a Series Bible, who has been where).
    • Room layouts (especially for fights).

Starting with a style sheet can slow things down when writing the first draft. But when you start sharing your baby with other people, giving the editors a starting point can bypass at least one round of questions.

Posts which fed into this:

Melissa McArthurs post (and the middle of a three-part series on the levels of editing): http://www.magicalwords.net/melissa-gilbert/copy-and-line-editing/

The Editor Blog, Fiction Editor Beth Hill, “Style Sheets – The Setup and the Benefits”:  http://theeditorsblog.net/2011/07/12/style-sheets-the-setup-and-the-benefits/

Additional Readings:

Lorna Faith. “How to Create a Series Bible for Your Fiction.”: https://www.lornafaith.com/how-to-create-a-series-bible-for-your-fiction/