It’s Called a Style Sheet

Yesterday I learned something new. When you copyedit for a publisher, they want you to create something called a Style Sheet as you read. I’ve never done that in the past, not with all the books I’ve edited. At least not officially.

A style sheet is a guide for the proofreader and the editor, listing all of the punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, and miscellaneous stylistic elements of the book. It also contains a long list of words used in the book, especially foreign words and names, for consistency of spelling.

I’ve kept lists like this when I edit, for my own sanity and edification (especially when I edited the book on Greek history), but never realized that such a thing would be useful to others along the publishing cycle. So, it’s an easy element for me to incorporate into my routine…but why had I never heard of it before?

I sit with the Chicago Manual of Style by my side as I edit because, though my brain is a treasury of grammar and punctuation rules, I sometimes double-think myself and have to verify what I already know.

It’s amazing how organized I feel now that I know about style sheets. I’ll use them for all of my clients now, for their own use and for them to pass along to their publishers.

Learn something new every day.

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