Linda Maye Adams

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

3 Comments

  1. Sounds like a good way to stay organized. I write what you might call a style sheet (just put down some points), and it helps when trying to remember important details while moving through the story. Organization is key.
    Thanks for sharing this. Was fun visiting your blog.
    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

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  2. It’s such a little known tool. I’ve been surprised at the people who haven’t heard of one. But it’s something the publishers in New York do use and would definitely benefit any indie author. I saw the value of it doing a newsletter because the boss’ secretary kept flagging the same words.

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