|BEE organized--use a style sheet!|
WHAT IS A STYLE SHEET?
A style sheet is basically a glossary of terms used for a piece of writing, usually a novel. Open up a document, type in the words (in categories if you like), and save them. It’s that simple. Or use an Excel spreadsheet to have columns to keep track of things pertinent to each character or geographic location.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A STYLE SHEET?
1. It often makes a copyeditor’s job easier; he or she will love you if you have everything organized into one document.
2. It helps you keep track of your worldbuilding—especially if you write speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, etc). Majorly helpful if your world is complex or extensive.
3. It helps you be CONSISTENT. After you nail down the spelling and words/expressions you want, you can do a search in the manuscript to check for consistency. Did you hyphenate a certain word—or use it as a compound word?
4. To make sure all your characters don’t sound alike, so they speak uniquely. Some characters may not use contractions. Others may say “gonna” instead of “going to.”
WHAT THINGS DOES A STYLE SHEET KEEP TRACK OF?
1. Coined words unique to your setting
2. Slang particular to the book, setting, or each character
3. Unique spellings appearing in the manuscript, or ones not familiar to the reader.
4. Expressions one character says repeatedly that no other character says
5. Nicknames for certain characters and who uses those nicknames
6. Names or titles of geographic locations
7. Distinct vocabulary for each character, depending on their education or background
8. Historical backgrounds and settings if you’re writing historical fiction
9. Magical incantations, spells, and rules
10. Your manuscript's particular symbolism and what each instance means.
Do you use style sheets, and if so, do you find them helpful?
Do you think a style sheet would be good to use even for non-speculative fiction?