How to make your own editing rules sheet

Professionally known as a Style Sheet.

I’m not referring to a list of what matches what hanging in your closet.

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Or the hottest trends from InStyle Magazine. 

No, this is a document where you define the writing style and rules that apply to your WIP.

  • Is the style of your WIP American or British English? 
  • Do you use contractions? (This is one of my problems. Sometimes I feel like a contraction sometime I don’t.)
  • Are you going to spell out the numbers or not?

See where I’m going? Finding these errors first is very important to presenting quality work to an editor that you’ve done some of your own redline editing.

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I call mine a cheat sheet. Some writers use an electronic file folder, others like Scrivener’s templates to help with character info to keep the story uniform. 

But, now that I understand the importance of an actual Style Sheet is, I’m going to streamline the process for my next project. 

Why do I want to use a Style Sheet like Sue Archer shares in her blog? Because my “cheat sheet” has grown into a large folder. And as such, too big to be of much use.

This one sheet, when applied to each individual project will make polishing my stories much easier. You might want to click on Sue Archer’s blog and check out the template she provided. I did.

Robin Rivera gives 3 Reasons Authors Need Style Sheets

Take special note of #2. Amazon will soon be holding writers to a higher standard and consistency in our books will be more important than ever.

So from now on I’ll make a specific Style Sheet tailor made for each story and book.

Hopefully this process will enable me to produce a more professional piece and prevent an editor from cringing at first glance. 

What about y’all?

Do you use a Style Sheet for consistency? For editing?

If not, what do you use?

Talk to me people. My inquiring mind wants to know.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and Amazon.com, stop by and say hey! Please remember to with a click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

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15 thoughts on “How to make your own editing rules sheet

  1. Thanks for the mention, Jean! I’m glad my style sheet template was helpful for you, and I am happy it’s being shared with others. I find it to be a very valuable tool in my own editing work. All the best to you with your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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