Re: RARA-AVIS: Style sheets for novelists

From: Rene Ribic (
Date: 07 Mar 2003

> My friend Susanna J. Sturgis, who copyedits fiction, sent this message
to a
> publishing list. She granted me permission to forward it to lists
> novelists; the more who read it, she says, the easier her job will be.
> Joy, who sticks to easy stuff like monographs
> > I rarely see usage notes or a style sheet accompanying mss. _now_.
> > astonishing (to me, anyway) number of published novelists don't know
> a
> > style sheet is, or they didn't before I told them. <g> IMO, they're
> > especially useful for fantasy, historical, and science fiction, but
> recall
> > mentioning style sheets in a discussion on the SFRT (Science Fiction
> > RoundTable -- those were the days <g>) on old GEnie, and almost none
> the
> > (mostly experienced) authors knew what they were. (If they did, it
> > usually because they received the CE's style sheet with the edited
> > manuscript, but this practice didn't seem to be all that common
> >
> > I'm currently copyediting a trade history book. Any proper name that
> > acceptable variations, you can be pretty sure that my author has
used all
> of
> > them. <g> My style sheet isn't quite as long as the book, but it's
> > there, and if the guy doesn't like my choices, I don't want to hear
> > it. <snark>
> >
> > In my exasperated opinion, agents and acquiring editors ought to be
> > suggesting that their fiction authors (and some others as well)
include a
> > short style sheet with their finished mss., and then this style
> should
> > accompany the ms. through the production process.

Pardon my ignorance, Joy, but what in blue blazes is a style sheet?


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