Editing with STYLE!

Happy almost end of the week all! I have spent this week revising, and editing a novella I finished on Sunday. It’s been a time-consuming project (especially with a May 15th deadline looming, eek!) but it has made me fall all the more in love with using a style sheet while editing.

So, what is a style sheet?

As awesome as this would be... It is not a style sheet.

 A style sheet is a way to compile details of your manuscript in one place. In the manuscript I’ve been working with there is a character named Benett…. Or was it Bennet? Both showed up in the read through and if I wouldn’t have had ‘Benett’ written in my style sheet I likely would have missed it totally.

Now, the way a professional editor uses a style sheet and the way a writer will use a style sheet. I find it very useful for noting traits of my characters to ensure that my blue-eyed villain doesn’t suddenly turn his ‘storm-grey’ eyes on someone.

Here’s the style sheet I’ve been using:

It might seem a little silly to have a sheet like this, but if you go from someone missing their left arm to picking something up with their left hand you’re going to be in trouble.

Now, here’s another style sheet used by an editor:

Hers is focused on ensuring uniformity across the work. so if The Net shows up on page 8, we aren’t going to suddenly switch to Internet on page 35. This is also a great, great tool to use for writers. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is for you to change formats over the span of a story.

For a piece of work not based in reality, the style sheet is excellent to make sure that the Lemurians don’t suddenly become Lemurans who speak Lemur. It’s simply another way to organize data and information to make it easier to quickly recognize and see. The chart can be made by hand, or on Word or Excel or however else you want to make it. There really isn’t a wrong way to create one as long as it works for you.

So, do you use a chart like this? Or do you organize your thoughts a different way? Let me know!

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3 Comments »

  1. Laura Said:

    The biggest problem I have with style is grey/gray. I decided that since the character with grey eyes who wears grey a lot had an e and no a’s in his name, I’d stick with grey. Though now that I think about it, I probably have a lot of uncorrected gray’s I haven’t caught…

    • Yeah, that can be annoying, but style sheets can help with finding those issues. Keeps everything together so you can just glance from it to your work and see you need grey with an e not an a.

      • Laura Said:

        I’ve never tried style sheets, but I might make one for the fun of it. 🙂 I do do character sheets, though—well, they’re not precisely sheets so much as they are long paragraphs or pages of notes. Character relationship sheets are more helpful.


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