Style Sheet for the Fiction Writer

What is a Style Sheet and How it Can Benefit You

If you are writing fiction, spend the time to create a style sheet. The style sheet is an informal document that you can create for yourself, an editor, or a publisher to indicate your style preferences.

For instance, if you do not want a serial comma used in your writing, you would indicate this on the style sheet. A serial comma is the comma that comes before the “and” in a series of listed items. For example: Apples, bananas, pears, and oranges.

Woman in long sleeved white shirt writing with pen in notebook

What's Included on a Style Sheet

  • Style preferences like using a serial (Oxford), or not
    • Apples, bananas, pears, and oranges (serial comma used). Apples, bananas, pears and oranges (serial comma not used).
  • Preferences for styling numbers or dates
  • Capitalization preferences
  • And more…

Style sheets save time in the editing process because you are telling the editor up front what you prefer. They will not have to contact you as often to ask questions about what you prefer. It is also helpful for them to make changes in the document that you mistakenly forgot, ie: eye color not right from one chapter to another.


Style Sheet example

Advantages of a Style Sheet

So, you don’t need to use a style sheet when you are writing fiction novels, novellas, etc. That much is probably obvious. However, since style sheets are so easy to fill out. Why not?

A few advantages are:

  • Maintain consistency in your style preferences:
    • serial commas, punctuation, typesetting, etc.
  • Keep characters straight:
    • eye color, relationships, etc.
  • Spelling of character names and places are correct every time:
    • Michelle vs. Michele, Rachael vs. Rachel
  • And my favorite –> Keeping everything consistent when working on a series:
    • because who needs that stress 🙂

If you’d like a free style pack that includes templates, click on the picture below. It’ll take you to the main author resources page where you can request your complimentary template

What's Included in the Style Pack

  • Style Sheet:
    • See example above.
  • Character Grid:
    • Character name, physical description, relationships, personality, flaws, etc.
  • Places and Institutions Grid:
    • List geographic places with correct spellings.
  • Word List:
    • Include any unique words and spellings that are integral to the story.

Thanks for visiting my website. I hope you are getting valuable information. If you have a request for a resource on a certain topic please let me know here

For more information about me and my copy editing and proofreading services, visit the About and Services pages.

Have a fantastic day!

Michelle Merritt

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