This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
----------------------------------------------------- Blogger Template Style Sheet Name: Scribe Designer: Todd Dominey URL: domineydesign.com / whatdoiknow.org Date: 27 Feb 2004 ------------------------------------------------------ */ /* Defaults ----------------------------------------------- */ body { margin:0; padding:0; font-family: Georgia, Times, Times New Roman, sans-serif; font-size: small; text-align:center; color:#29303B; line-height:1.3; background:#483521 url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/bg.gif") repeat; } blockquote { font-style:italic; padding:0 32px; line-height:1.6; margin:0 0 .6em 0; } p {margin:0;padding:0}; abbr, acronym { cursor:help; font-style:normal; } code {font:12px monospace;white-space:normal;color:#666;} hr {display:none;} img {border:0;} /* Link styles */ a:link {color:#473624;text-decoration:underline;} a:visited {color:#716E6C;text-decoration:underline;} a:hover {color:#956839;text-decoration:underline;} a:active {color:#956839;} /* Layout ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #wrap { background-color:#473624; border-left:1px solid #332A24; border-right:1px solid #332A24; width:700px; margin:0 auto; padding:8px; text-align:center; } #main-top { width:700px; height:49px; background:#FFF3DB url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/bg_paper_top.jpg") no-repeat top left; margin:0;padding:0; display:block; } #main-bot { width:700px; height:81px; background:#FFF3DB url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/bg_paper_bot.jpg") no-repeat top left; margin:0; padding:0; display:block; } #main-content { width:700px; background:#FFF3DB url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/bg_paper_mid.jpg") repeat-y; margin:0; text-align:left; display:block; } } @media handheld { #wrap { width:90%; } #main-top { width:100%; background:#FFF3DB; } #main-bot { width:100%; background:#FFF3DB; } #main-content { width:100%; background:#FFF3DB; } } #inner-wrap { padding:0 50px; } #blog-header { margin-bottom:12px; } #blog-header h1 { margin:0; padding:0 0 6px 0; font-size:225%; font-weight:normal; color:#612E00; } #blog-header h1 a:link { text-decoration:none; } #blog-header h1 a:visited { text-decoration:none; } #blog-header h1 a:hover { border:0; text-decoration:none; } #blog-header p { margin:0; padding:0; font-style:italic; font-size:94%; line-height:1.5em; } div.clearer { clear:left; line-height:0; height:10px; margin-bottom:12px; _margin-top:-4px; /* IE Windows target */ background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/divider.gif") no-repeat bottom left; } @media all { #main { width:430px; float:right; padding:8px 0; margin:0; } #sidebar { width:150px; float:left; padding:8px 0; margin:0; } } @media handheld { #main { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } #footer { clear:both; background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/divider.gif") no-repeat top left; padding-top:10px; _padding-top:6px; /* IE Windows target */ } #footer p { line-height:1.5em; font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; font-size:75%; } /* Typography :: Main entry ----------------------------------------------- */ h2.date-header { font-weight:normal; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; font-size:90%; margin:0; padding:0; } .post { margin:8px 0 24px 0; line-height:1.5em; } h3.post-title { font-weight:normal; font-size:140%; color:#1B0431; margin:0; padding:0; } .post-body p { margin:0 0 .6em 0; } .post-footer { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; color:#211104; font-size:74%; border-top:1px solid #BFB186; padding-top:6px; } .post ul { margin:0; padding:0; } .post li { line-height:1.5em; list-style:none; background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/list_icon.gif") no-repeat 0px .3em; vertical-align:top; padding: 0 0 .6em 17px; margin:0; } /* Typography :: Sidebar ----------------------------------------------- */ h2.sidebar-title { font-weight:normal; font-size:120%; margin:0; padding:0; color:#211104; } h2.sidebar-title img { margin-bottom:-4px; } #sidebar ul { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; font-size:86%; margin:6px 0 12px 0; padding:0; } #sidebar ul li { list-style: none; padding-bottom:6px; margin:0; } #sidebar p { font-family:Verdana,sans-serif; font-size:86%; margin:0 0 .6em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments {} #comments h4 { font-weight:normal; font-size:120%; color:#29303B; margin:0; padding:0; } #comments-block { line-height:1.5em; } .comment-poster { background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/list_icon.gif") no-repeat 2px .35em; margin:.5em 0 0; padding:0 0 0 20px; font-weight:bold; } .comment-body { margin:0; padding:0 0 0 20px; } .comment-body p { font-size:100%; margin:0 0 .2em 0; } .comment-timestamp { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; color:#29303B; font-size:74%; margin:0 0 10px; padding:0 0 .75em 20px; } .comment-timestamp a:link { color:#473624; text-decoration:underline; } .comment-timestamp a:visited { color:#716E6C; text-decoration:underline; } .comment-timestamp a:hover { color:#956839; text-decoration:underline; } .comment-timestamp a:active { color:#956839; text-decoration:none; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ #profile-container { margin-top:12px; padding-top:12px; height:auto; background:url("http://www.blogblog.com/scribe/divider.gif") no-repeat top left; } .profile-datablock { margin:0 0 4px 0; } .profile-data { display:inline; margin:0; padding:0 8px 0 0; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; font-size:90%; color:#211104; } .profile-img {display:inline;} .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 8px 0 0; border:1px solid #A2907D; padding:2px; } .profile-textblock { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif;font-size:86%;margin:0;padding:0; } .profile-link { margin-top:5px; font-family:Verdana,sans-serif; font-size:86%; } /* Post photos ----------------------------------------------- */ img.post-photo { border:1px solid #A2907D; padding:4px; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { padding:0 0 12px 20px; }

Anne R. Allen's Blog


My Photo

Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Style That Doesn't go out of Fashion: Style Sheets, Style Guides, and Why Audrey Hepburn Style is a Writer’s Best Friend

by Ruth Harris

What's a Style Sheet?

Look, guys, I don't want to freak you out but, if you're writing a book (or a short story or a novella), you need a style sheet.

If you plan to self-pub, a style sheet will save your sanity while you're writing—and after because a style sheet will save you time and money when you hire a copy editor. If you want to try trad-pubbing, you'll need a style sheet, too. Publishers have cut back staffs and copyediting, like a lot of things, ain't what it used to be.

In case you don't know what a style sheet is and maybe have never even heard of one, a style sheet is a list of all the important data—names, addresses, dates, people and places—in your manuscript. Creating a style sheet is straightforward: the first time a character or place name (or any other data) is mentioned, add it to a list. That list is your style sheet. Simple as that.

Your style sheet is a road map to your book, a quality-control tool that provides coherence and consistency.

Analogous to continuity in a movie, your style sheet will ensure, among other things, that your characters don't suddenly change names, marital status or political affiliation—or worse—in the middle of your novel. Trust me, it happens.

Like this: Your MC is James Q. Black. You don't want him to suddenly to become Jimmy Z. Brown and confuse the hell out of your reader or the agent or editor you're trying to sell. Because, guess what?, the reader will get confused and give up or you won't make the sale. A style sheet will save you from the vagaries of memory—and from yourself.

Or this:

  • Example #1: You want to make certain your reader knows exactly which character is facing an attack by alien hordes while dangling off the edge of a cliff by the fingertips. Is it James Q. or Jimmy Z, or, god forbid, Jane Z.—reader wants to know!
  • Example #2: Your heroine, Suzie Smith, lives at 21 Main Street. Add Suzie Smith plus her address to your style sheet. Will save you from calling her Suzy Smith a few chapters later and makes sure you refer to her address as 21 Main Street. Not twenty-one Main Street. And certainly not 22 Maine Avenue.
  • Example #3: Suzie's bff, Marianne, works at Lulu's Bakery. Add Marianne and Lulu's Bakery to your style sheet. Because if you don't, you risk glitches like: Mary Ann? Who's dat and what's she doing in this story? Loulou's Bakery? What's dat and what's it doing in this story? A confused reader is a reader who's going to love bomb you with a five-star review? Nope.

Character descriptions that ensure a blonde is blonde (unless a change in hair color is critical to the plot) can also be included in your style sheet. A six foot tall zombie is six feet, not five six. A scar on the right side of your gunslinger's face stays on the right side, doesn't wander over to the left or completely disappear (at least not without a credible explanation).

Style sheets how-tos.

Style guide or style sheet. There's a difference?

Well, yeah, although IRL sometimes there is overlap. Generally speaking, though, a style sheet keeps track of the nuts and bolts: 21 Main Street not twenty-one Main Street or 22 Maine Street, remember?

A style guide, OTOH, offer suggestions about how to write. Some publishers provide a style guide, a sort of house rules for writers.

To get started, acquaint yourself with a few tried and tested classics.

Just remember, rules and style guides are suggestions, not iron-clad laws. Once you know them and use them confidently, you can (maybe) break them as long as you know what you're doing.

Audrey Hepburn style and why it matters.

What did Audrey do that no one else did—or could do? She looked like herself. On purpose. Period.

Barbra Streisand and Diana Vreeland and Tilda Swinton are other examples. Among the men, think of Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and Woody Allen. Include Joan Didion and Joan Rivers, Steve McQueen and Steve Buscemi. And don't forget Grace Coddington, Steve Jobs, Diana Ross, David Geffen, Jackie Onassis, Tom Wolfe, Lauren Hutton, the Kardashians.

Style icons don't look like anyone else, they look like themselves and no one else. They do not follow trends, they set them. They are not fashion victims but style leaders.

They are unique and instantly identifiable. They don't fear owning their own wavy/frizzy/stick straight hair, scrawny/fleshy/muscular body, big nose/thick lips/long chin. They understand that the key to standing out is to work with what they have and to be the best version of themselves. On purpose.

What does style and looking like yourself on purpose have to do with writing and selling books?

In the tsunami/avalanche/crap ton of books being published and a flattening market as noted in a recent post by Porter Anderson, the big question is: how can your book stand out?

Style is how. Style is not fashion and style is not some fad that's here today, gone tomorrow. Style is enduring, unique, recognizable, desirable and, most of all, authentic. For a writer, style is writing like yourself. On purpose.

Consider Elmore Leonard and Ernest Hemingway, Tom Wolfe, Jackie Collins, Janet Evanovich, Robert B. Parker, and Raymond Chandler: each one has developed an immediately recognizable style.

Finding your own style isn't quick and it isn't easy. Which doesn't mean it's impossible. Or, even worse, no fun.

Stephen King has an answer to the question of why developing a style of your own can be difficult: "Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation."

When you write, are you afraid of what critics/your Mom/a reviewer/your crit group will say? Do you feel pressured to prove to the world how smart you are and how brilliant your prose? Do you want to impress a Paris Review critic or your high school English teacher?

Do you shrink from ideas that seem too far out/too freaky/too scary/too ordinary/too done-to-death? You know what I mean: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. You don't want to write that. Not again.

Or do you?

And you do know, don't you, there there are maybe 7 basic plots?

Are you holding yourself back from developing a unique style because you're afraid? Of what? Of the nay-saying phantoms in your head? Of what "people" will say? Do you cringe from imagined hostile reviews?

Is your writing suffering because you're afraid of what people you don't even know much less care about are going to think?

Does the thought of a one-star review send you to the shrink?

Do you want to hide or do you want to shine?

Now you're beginning to see what I'm getting at, aren't you?

But, you say, if I let go, if I indulge my nuttiest, weirdest, furthest-out or done-a-million-times idea, people will laugh at me, sneer at me, think I'm crazy, call me untalented.

The fact is, you're right. Only a few examples needed to make the point: 

  • Jackson Pollock was ridiculed and called "Jack the Dripper."
  • Picasso's Cubist paintings were considered "shocking."
  • Elvis Presley was considered "vulgar" and his performances were censored and even cancelled because he was said to be a threat to the morals of American youth.
  • And let's not even go into all the huge bestsellers (Harry Potter, anyone?) that were rejected over and over before finding their readers.

Mahatma Gandhi reduced the outraged, you-can't-do-that reactions to a formula: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

So then what?

How do you develop a style of your own?

The obvious answer is that a writer must face his or her fears. Booze is popular. So is chocolate. But, honestly, don't both seem a bit passé in this time of organic, grass fed, artisanal, gluten-free Everything?

The advice of an in-demand sports psychologist gave me an idea for a different approach. Why not accentuate the positive? Why not conquer fear with confidence?

The psychologist's theory is that if a golfer is a good putter, s/he should practice putting until s/he becomes a superb putter? This expert's approach was not to focus on correcting an athlete's weaknesses, but on polishing his/her strengths.

Writers can take the same approach: write what you're good at. To bring the end of this post back to the beginning, as you polish what you're already do well—narrative, dialogue, characterization, humor, horror, thrills, romance—you'll will inevitably hone and define a style. It will be as individual as a fingerprint, as recognizable as Streisand, Tilda or Audrey and you will develop it by doing what you like best—and by practicing what you're already good at.

Simple, yet not so simple, and, yet, eminently do-able.

Plus, like many of the best things in life, style is FREE.

What about you, Scriveners? Do you have a distinctive style? Did you experiment with several before you came up with one that's really "you"? Have you ever changed a character's name and forgotten to go back and change it? (I once sent a partial to an agent where the heroine's name changed halfway through. Ack!)...Anne


When it comes to style, you can't beat Chanel. Read The Chanel Caper by Ruth Harris for only $2.99 on all the Amazons

Chick Lit for Chicks Who Weren't Born Yesterday

Here's what USA Today bestseller, Vanessa Kelly says about The Chanel Caper in Love Rocks:

"The Chanel Caper is a romantic comedy, a thriller, and a send-up of the big city lifestyle in the wake of the global financial crisis. All the disparate elements of this very funny story are tethered by the engaging Blake, a smart, sensible, and dryly witty heroine intent on saving her marriage. It's definitely a romance for the grownups, set against the backdrop of the bright lights of the city that never sleeps."


The Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Contest. $10 fee Unpublished fiction. 1500 words or less. Simultaneous submissions ARE welcome. All entries will be considered for publication in Fiction Southeast. (a prestigious journal that has published people like Joyce Carol Oates) Winner gets $200 and publication. Deadline: Dec. 1st

Writers' Village International Short Fiction Award winter 2015. Cash prizes totaling $3200.Ten further Highly Commended entrants will have their stories acknowledged at the site and gain a free entry in the next round. Entry fee $24 INCLUDES A PROFESSIONAL CRITIQUE. Any genre of prose fiction may be submitted up to 3000 words, except plays and poetry. Entries are welcomed worldwide. Multiple entries are permitted. Deadline: November 30th.

The IWSG Short Story Anthology Contest 2015.  NO FEE! The top ten stories will be published in an anthology. (Authors will receive royalties on sales.) Eligibility: Any member of the Insecure Writer's Support Group is encouraged to enter – blogging or Facebook member (no fee to join the IWSG). The story must be previously unpublished. Entry is free. Word count: 5000-6000. Theme: Alternate History/Parallel Universe. Deadline: November 1st

RROFIHE TROPHY NO-FEE SHORT STORY CONTEST NO ENTRY FEE. For an unpublished short story. Minimum word count 3,500; maximum to 5,000 words. Winner receives $500, trophy, announcement and publication on anderbo.comDeadline October 15.

Glimmer Train Press Family Matters  Prize: $1,500 and publication in Glimmer Train.  Entry fee $18. Stories up to 12,000 words: about families of all configurations. Deadline: September 30.

Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest $4,000 in prizes. Entry fee $10 per poem. Submit poems in modern and traditional styles, up to 250 lines each. Deadline: September 30.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've never used an actual style sheet. I have an outline, character details, and a list of names, places, and other things I need to keep track of. I guess I'm already doing it, just in a messy way.
My style is simple and easy to consume. Not too many quirks to me, but I can go for solid and morally founded, because that is my style. And focusing on what we do best - I have heard that before.
Thanks for mentioning the IWSG Anthology Contest! We're already getting some great entries.

September 27, 2015 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Linda Maye Adams said...

I have used a style sheet. I did a newsletter at work that had to get through a woman who had been nicknamed "comma mama" -- so nicknamed because she insisted on serial commas. People got really angry over that! Me? I had to get the paperwork through her, so she was the boss. I paid attention to what she corrected and added that to the style sheet; certain words turned up hyphenated, for example, though that wasn't how I would do it. She also sent out a list of common mistakes because she was tired of making corrections, and anything that was not common sense, I also added. It kept me from reinventing the wheel each time I did the newsletter.

Style: Yes, mine is so distinctive that I've been wary of filling out anonymous surveys at work. I'm pretty sure people can tell it's me.

September 27, 2015 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Alex—Messy doesn't matter. Whatever works, does! ;-)

September 27, 2015 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Linda—Love it! You're the master of style jiu-jitsu. :-)

September 27, 2015 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Sasha A. Palmer said...

A great read as always, Anne. You certainly have a very distinctive "Anne (with Ruth)" style. Part of the charm of your blog is its authenticity. Cannot beat that.

September 27, 2015 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Sasha A. Palmer said...

I did it again, Ruth. Called you 'Anne'. I apologize, I really should pay more attention. Your duo does such a great job, love your blog. Thank you.

September 27, 2015 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

How true how true. I'll never forget being in the middle of the Rowena trilogy, and not being able to remember what colour eyes my hero had. He was the hero, dammit! But several books had come before him, and I was getting mixed up.
I now teach all my Crafting a Novel students to write detailed character profiles for each of their important characters. Ditto important locations, particularly if you are world-builidng. And keep those sheets handy for the sequels.

September 27, 2015 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Ahoy Ruth & Anne,
I've never called it a style sheet, but I tend to work with a steaming heap of unorganized notes that live at the end of the MS when it's in progress, then migrate to the beginning of the MS during revisions. It is hugely helpful. Thanks for another fine post.

September 27, 2015 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Sasha—All is forgiven. Come home. ;-)

September 27, 2015 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Melodie—Yep. Even omniscient authors don't know everything...including the color of the hero's eyes. lol

September 27, 2015 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

CS—Doesn't matter if it's a steaming heap or a mess or a list. As long as it helps keep the writer on the right track it's done its job!

September 27, 2015 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger mindprinter said...

Ruth, this is such a treasure trove of information. I've bookmarked just about every link in it. Especially the style sheet template and the style guides. I loved what you said about working with your strengths as a writer. What a concept! And one of the best definitions of style I've ever read. Have you considered writing a how-to writing book? Bet you've already done that. If not, all of your posts are pitch perfect. You've probably got plenty of material already. BTW I used that great quote you sent me (about writing gay characters) at the writers conference for one of my classes. Talk about pitch perfect. My best, Paul

September 27, 2015 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger DMS said...

What a helpful post! I have been thinking for a while that I should make a sheet with the important information about my book (characters, setting, etc.) I started one- but never finished. I should also include some of my common mistakes as reminders to myself. Thanks so much for all the information. :)

September 27, 2015 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Howett said...

I guess I do this naturally. I never knew it had a name. When starting on a new story I mark some names in yellow to make changes to later, if i'm in the flow of getting it all down, then make a list of the characters at the top of the file to remind me of the growing cast. I think writing Plays has helped me with this process.

Love the Gandhi quote.

Some interesting links. Thanks for sharing, Ruth. Have a pleasant Sunday.

September 27, 2015 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Paul—Yeah, I think about collecting some posts into a book. All I need is the time to do it. Ha.

Re working w your strengths, this quote in today’s NYT is from a Yankee hitter who’s on a hot home run streak: “Everyone takes what they’re good at and perfects it and molds it and makes it their own.” Very well stated and can certainly apply to writing as well as slugging baseballs.

Hope the quote helped at the conference

September 27, 2015 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Jess—Thanks! Adding a list of common errors is a great idea! We all make them and need to warn ourselves. This is a terrific way to accomplish that.

September 27, 2015 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Jacqueline—Thank you! Sounds like you’re keeping yourself on track. Super important especially as the book gets longer & more characters need to be corralled.

September 27, 2015 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger Phyllis Humphrey said...

Like Alex, I was making a style sheet each time i started a book. I just didn't know that's what it was. And my writing style didn't appear until I got reckless and just wrote what I wanted. Then I discovered a publisher who was looking for that!

September 27, 2015 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger Frances Caballo said...

When I was a journalist, we memorized the AP Style Book. I often refer back to my initial training when I write, however, I know that the Chicago Manual of Style is the preferred style book in the publishing industry. I think it's a great idea for fiction authors to create style books for their novels. What an easy way to remain consistent throughout the pages of a developing story. Thanks for exploring this idea, and suggesting great resources, in this post.

September 27, 2015 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Phyllis--does being "reckless" mean not being afraid? ;-)

September 27, 2015 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Frances-thank you for the kind words. Happy to hear the post was helpfu

September 27, 2015 at 3:04 PM  
Blogger Jan M. Leotti said...

Ruth, Oh, how I love this post. First, thanks for the tip on the style sheet--had no idea what one was. I will use one from now on! I so appreciate the insight that being yourself is how you stand out, no matter what that unique quality might be. It sounds simplistic, but it's not, when it seems society is more concerned with conformity. I love how you used the various actors/writers/singers to explain this point. Perfect. And yes, Anne, I once had re-written a spell in a story, then forgot to add the rewritten one back in before I hit 'publish' on my self-published book. Had to take it down. Still re-writing other things, though. If I'd only had a style sheet... :) Thanks so much Ruth and Anne. Wonderful as always.

September 27, 2015 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Jan--thank you! Very gratifying for Anne and me to know that what we've done is helpful.

Yes, a style sheet is indispensable! And, yes, being yourself *sounds*simple but as you say, it's not. Between the pressure to conform and our own fears / hang ups, there's a lot to fight thru. But soooo worth doing.

September 27, 2015 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger mindprinter said...

It did big time. I had the quote upfront. The first thing folks saw on the creating authentic LGBT characters handout. Thanks again.

September 27, 2015 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

I have one though it's more like a style book. :) The thing I have to do is remember to update it, if I add new information or change something.

September 27, 2015 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Southpaw--O yes! Those pesky details like updating. ;-)

September 27, 2015 at 5:50 PM  
Blogger Nicola Marsh said...

I've published 55 books and never used a style sheet…this information is fantastic! Have always wanted a resource to keep information straight for my series, which is always tricky.
Thank you!

September 27, 2015 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Nicola—Your style sheet to the rescue! It will save time, money and sanity. And it’s free!

September 28, 2015 at 3:54 AM  
Blogger Patricia said...

"Why not accentuate the positive?"
This is genius. And such great advice. Thank you for this, Anne. It's something I'm going to focus on from now on.

September 28, 2015 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Patricia--This post is 100% from Ruth. And I agree it's full of fantastic information and inspiration!

September 28, 2015 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Linda K Sienkiewicz said...

This is great advice for any writer, self-published or not! I've always kept notes on a master sheet as I write. It's vital, especially in stories that cover a span of time.

September 28, 2015 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Linda–Thanks for the kind words. "Vital" is the perfect word! To (mis)quote: Don't start a book without it. ;-)

September 28, 2015 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Nicola Marsh said...

Have used it for my new series, gives me so much more confidence that I'll keep details straight in subsequent books. Think it'll be a life saver!
Have always wanted something like this.
Thank you!

September 29, 2015 at 2:36 AM  
Blogger Stephanie Faris said...

I just started using Scrivener--it isn't free (although there's a 30-day trial) but OMG--everything is right there. You can add your synopsis and do character sketches for each person. The best part is, when I forget a character's name, I just have to look to the left and there it is, in the left-hand panel. You can do places, too. I also took the advice to name each chapter with the setting and basic info. of what will be happening in that setting. It's like a mini outline.

October 1, 2015 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Stephanie—Scriv is great, isn't it? I use the Notes function and make one page into a style sheet. Super handy—and indispensable.

October 1, 2015 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Melissa Yi said...

Argh. Sounds like I should have started a style sheet from the get-go. Well, better late than never. Thanks, Ruth.

One tip: I use my iCalendar to mark out the dates when things happened to my protagonist, medical resident doctor Hope Sze. That way, I know what day she started on her emergency rotation, or saved an escape artist/Elvis impersonator's life, or got kidnapped. Even more crucial now that I've started writing short stories interspersed between her novels. ;)

October 19, 2015 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Melissa—Thanks for the kind words—and for the fabulous tip! Just brilliant.

October 20, 2015 at 4:42 AM  

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home