3 Good Reasons Why You Need A Style Sheet

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Earlier this past Saturday, I promised in my Behind the Scenes: Draft #3 DONE post that I would elaborate more about my Writing Tip: the style sheet, and provide links to free resources. So, here we go!

While going through Draft #3 of my WIP: V.Chronicles this past year, I fast discovered I needed to get more organized with my notes. I was changing place names, phrases, keeping certain words italicized, and numerous other details to create my WIP’s world. But how do you keep track of so many changes while you continue revising?

Being a do-it-yourself kind of person, I scribbled all my notes into a Word doc and attempted some organization to keep track of things. But as the list of changes grew, and I kept having to refer back to those notes, it took more and more time to find a specific note when I needed it, and keep track. That’s when I learned about this gem: A style sheet! I had created my own messy version of one without realizing it, but an organized one is so much better! It’s a great tool for writers, and here are some reasons why:

  1. You can group names and other nouns in one place, making it easy for you to refer back to as you revise your work.
  2. Specially italicized words, and any phrases specific to your book, can be grouped and kept neatly in one place, so you can be sure you won’t forget them.
  3. When you hire an editor or have a friend read over your work, you can hand them this nifty style sheet. They’ll be able to see which specific words should always be capitalized, or italicized, and also how unique names are spelled in your story’s world.

If you’re like me, and have many changes and revisions to make, I advise you take a look at this style sheet by Sue Archer on her blog post (scroll down to the link at the end). You can download the PDF free there! And Sara Letourneau has a differently styled revisions sheet here.

I hope this is of help to any of you writers out there. 🙂 Keep on writing!

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25 thoughts on “3 Good Reasons Why You Need A Style Sheet

  1. This post reminded me that I need to start typing up my Draft #3 checklist for TKC. It’s not the same as a style sheet… but I need to do it soon if I’m going to start editing in a couple weeks!

    And I agree, consistency in italics and capitalization is very important – not only for the reader’s sake, but also for your own as the writer. I don’t have a style sheet per se for TKC, but I know from my work experience with editing that I needed to italicize foreign words, song lyrics, and text that Eva reads from letters and other written sources. I’m planning to check on that consistency (as well as capitalization and other things) during Draft #3, just to make sure it’s correct.

    Thanks for reminding us how important it is to check the small details of our manuscripts as well as the bigger-picture aspects. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I could remind you. 😉
      Agreed, Sara. There are so many things to keep track of the further into editing we go! I hope you’re Draft #3 comes along smoothly. My Draft #4 is doing well, so far.
      Your revisions checklist is similar to a style sheet, don’t you think? Clearly different, but similar?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks again! I actually typed up the checklist this past weekend, so I might start Draft #3 as soon as this coming weekend.

        I’m not sure if I’d call my checklist a style sheet… Though you could use it that way, if you wanted. It could include reminders of how certain words should be spelled or capitalized. So, yes, you could use the template that way, but it has other purposes as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Style sheets sound very helpful. I got the chance in my internship to edit a manuscript recently, and while I didn’t have a style sheet, I cannot tell you how helpful the glossary was!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t heard of doing a style sheet before. It sounds interesting! Scrivener usually helps me keep notes like this organized. ^ ^


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m now more convinced that this is a good idea. I’ll look over the style sheet link in more detail. But I think it’s something that could help. I do have a lot of inconsistencies. I was going through my first draft a while ago and realised I’d changed a character’s name halfway through. Not quite sure how that happened. 🙂


  5. Brilliant idea. I swear EVERYONE is more methodical and organized than me. I uh . . . just edit words and stuff, and take really scattered margin notes. *blushes* This post reminded me that I need to be a little bit more organized if I actually want to get The Last Coffee Shop through edits in a sort-of timely manner 😛
    Lovely tip 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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