Custom Style Sheet to Guide an Editor

Here’s an example of a custom style sheet to guide an editor in making choices for consistency in a fiction manuscript. If you don’t provide one as the author, the editor will have to create one.

See the complete style sheet for Artemis in the Desert as an example [pdf].

Best Practice: Include a character name list with correct spellings and a timeline for the action.


4WD — all caps

Askmonkey – init cap; made-up company name

batiked — l/c, adjective

Bendire’s thrashers — or any bird named for Mr. Bendire

Black Mesa — place name

BMW – no periods
1977  R100RS (Eliot’s)
2012  K1200RS (Pete’s)

Boing Boing — commercial web site

b.s. — l/c with periods — editor: see if you agree

buckbrush — l/c, one word

burl wood — l/c; two words

Carhartt — init cap

Catalunya — preferred (Catalan) spelling

Cedar City

CGI’d – an invented verb of obvious meaning in context

compadre — ital; Pete’s pet slang

crème brûlée — l/c, no ital

cronked — made-up onomatopoeia

Denio – town name

Diné, Diné’s — tribal name

Dr. Bronner’s — product name

dryland (wheat farming) — l/c, no hyphen

drywaller(s) — no hyphen; how they call themselves

Etsy, – online crafts store

FAIL Studios – Sean’s fake name for studio that made bad movie

fingerpaints, fingerpainting – no hyphen

firch – l/c, no italic – Texas slang

Froot Smacks — made-up commercial name

HOPE Produtions  – Sean’s fake name for studio that he wants to work with

Gaylen Hansen, The Kernel – real person, his character’s name

Georgette Heyer — real person

geezus — l/c, no ital

gol-durn  — l/c, hyphen;  character’s pet word

green-light – hyphenated, l/c (hyphen is standard usage per my check)

gym-rat — hyphenate as adjective; no hyphen as noun

Harajuka – init cap; outrageous fashion named for Tokyo district

HOPE Productions – Sean’s fake name for studio that he hopes will green-light a new media series based on Stairs of Sand

Jim Jarmusch — real person

Journey to the West — reference to the original Monkey King novel; init caps but no italics; sometimes context:  Journey to the Southwest or just Journey

kachina — l/c, no ital

Kawasaki — commercial name

Kayenta — town name

kensho — l/c, italic

Klethla Valley  — place name

Krauser bag — hard-case motorcycle saddlebags

Kwan-Yin — init caps, hyphenated

L.A. — periods

Laconia Media – Sean’s former business

lasered – l/c; simple past participle

machisma – l/c, no ital; “a” ending

madrona tree – l/c, ending “a” per Pacific NW usage

maledicta — l/c, no ital

Monkey King Defeats the White-Bone Demon — title caps, italics — 1st Laconia production; also a Monkey King tale in real life

Motorhorse —init cap – Eliot’s name for a piece of artwork

mph — lowercase, no periods

nail gun – l/c; two words

Neko Case — an actual name

Nootka rose – init cap, l/c

otaku — italic means “superfan unable to relate to reality”

outbuildings – 1 word, no hyphen

palo verde— l/c, roman

PBS — all caps, no periods

pete’s sake – l/c, for clarity vs. character name

Pinterest – init cap

plein air (painting — l/c, no hyphen

Portlandia — no italics; implied rather than real ref. to the show

redtail hawk – l/c, no hyphen

Ronin – spellcheck shows init cap

RPM — no periods, all caps

Rustoleum — commercial name

Sifu — init cap, italics

Sigur Rós — real band name


Southwest — init cap for geo area (like Pacific NW); l/c for direction

Spiritism, Spiritist — init cap per my online usage check

S.R. — with periods (means State Road, which should be clear in context)

Stairs of Sand — title caps, ital. the current media project

Steller’s jay — or any other bird named after Mr. Steller

sunbaked – no hyphen per autocorrect

Supai formations — init cap (geographic label)

SUV – no periods

tête-à-tête – l/c, roman

tinking – l/c – made-up onomatapeia

Toiyabe, Toquima  — init cap mountain range names

Tripitaka — proper name; monk in Monkey King story

tule – l/c

Tumalo Falls, Tumalo – town/camp name

twisties — l/c; rider slang for crooked highway

Que pasa, amigo — Pete’s Spanish in italics

U.S. – periods in all cases

Vibram — init cap (commercial product)

Village – init cap in shorthand form Limberlost town name

Visqueen – init cap (commercial product)

wearables – l/c — shorthand for “wearable devices”

White Hat hacker — init caps on White Hat

Wi-Fi — it’s trademarked, so it should be this way

About anniepearsonOK

Author of the Restoration Rules and Rain City series; managing editor of Jugum Press.

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