Rule K: Keep a style sheet for your novel

Linda’s Rules of Writing

A silhouette of a man with gears turning in his head.
All these gears need to be creating, not trying to remember how to spell a character’s name.

We’re onto the letter K in Linda’s Rules of Writing of the A to Z Challenge, and the importance of Keeping a style sheet for you novel.

A style sheet is a handy tool I learned about in an editing class.  It’s also a tool a lot of writers don’t know about.

It’s is a quick reference to words used in the story, as well as style formatting.  It helps ensure that a story is consistent, like spelling a character’s name correctly.  A copy editor will use one to make a story is consistent and follows the publishing house rules.

But it’s a useful tool for working on a novel, and especially a fantasy novel.  I had a terrible time remember how to spell one character’s name throughout the writing of the first draft.  Her name was Phannelia, which is a name that comes out of my family’s genealogy.  She’s not even a really a character in the story, since she’s dead long before it start.  But she gets mentioned a lot.  I didn’t have a style sheet then, so I’d have to scroll back to where I last used it.  A pain to do!

After I took the class, I started using it. I put characters names, place names, and event names.  It’s been very handy for a quick lookup when I can’t remember the name of an island.

You can make a simple one in Excel, or Word.  But if you want a template, there’s a free one from No2 Pen Blog.  What other tools have you found useful?

Caption: A to Z Challenge Logo