How to Create a Style Sheet

Written by on August 15, 2013 in How To - Leave a Comment

A style guide for your manuscript? When you, as a self-publishing author, prepare to start working with your book editor, you should take the time to create a style guide to help you organization your manuscript and guarantee that you and your editor are on the same page. The creation of your style guide will help you in your pre-editorial review, allowing you to deliver a solid manuscript to your editor. It also means that your editor will know a little something about your book – as well as how you write – before diving into the project. In the end, you’ll be much happier with your finished project.

In writing your style guide you should…

Define Your World

Whether you’re writing a novel or a coaching book, your book editor will appreciate a primer on the world in which you are writing. A few paragraphs describing the background of your book – or the history of your fictional setting – will give your editor valuable insight on what to expect before starting to edit the text.

Identify Your Terms (and their spellings)

If there’s language that is particular to your book, take highlight it in your style guide. List words specific to the world your novel or industry, carefully noting any interesting or unusual spellings. This will allow your editors to adjust their word processor spell check systems before starting the book editing process.

Explain Your Voice

Think about how you’re writing your book. Think about your language and approach and spend some time reflecting on how you want to sound throughout your manuscript. In your style guide, write down key elements of your voice to allow your editor to examine it and get into your mindset as part of preparation.

Introduce Your Characters

Whether you’re covering case studies for your coaching book or composing the next great fantasy epic, there’s value in introducing your editor to the names you’ll be dropping along the way. The spelling, along with a quick bio, leave your book editor better prepared to work with your manuscript.

List Your Peeves

Working with a book editor is tricky, especially if you’re someone who identifies as a writer because both writers and editors have preferences and peeves that they may not enumerate before starting the editorial process. However, if you take the time – as a writer – to think about these issues for inclusion in a style guide, you can avoid any squabbles later.

As a writer, have you composed a style guide for your work? What went into it?

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