Style Sheets for Authors – a darned good idea! I’ve just finished doing a ‘light Americanisation/Americanization’ of my second Amy Green book and I was fascinated by the differences between the meaning of some Irish-English words and American-English words.
For example American readers have no idea what a ‘gooseberry’ is, ie ‘being a gooseberry’. They don’t have en suites – they have just plain old bathrooms. I guess in America en suites are probably the norm in hotel rooms and houses! And there were loads of other examples.
But there were loads of instances when the meaning of what I was trying to say was lost because – well, because it’s just the way I say it. And it would have been useful for my American editor to have some sort of heads up on these things as they often repeat in my writing.
Hence for the next book I’m going to type up a style sheet for her, a list of all the funny bits and pieces, strange spellings, place names etc – anything I think might be useful in working out what I’m trying to say on paper! Because these are things that are carrying on from book to book if you are writing a series.
You might like to try it too. It’s particularly useful for things like names that are spelt differently to American names – it means the editor won’t have to keep checking on the spelling for each book. In my case, the magazine Clover writes for is called The Gloss, but in the American book they call it the (small t) Gloss. It’s a small detail but it will make life easier for everyone next time around if I jot it down right now on my style sheet.
Anything that makes life easier for my editor and for me makes sense!
See the posting at Book Ends Literary Agency for more on this subject: http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2010/06/style-sheet.html
Let me make it clear. A style sheet is different from a series bible. A style sheet does not include the nitty-gritty details of your world or your characters. It’s for editing purposes. A style sheet should include spellings of names or stylistic changes you’ve made to the spelling of other common words. For example, if you’ve decided that "Prom" is capitalized throughout your book, that would be something you would include on the style sheet. "Prom" is not technically a proper noun.
Yours in writing,