A sense of style

After a recent conversation with a writer/editor/journalist friend, and having spent much of the past two days proof-reading an 80p technical product catalogue, I am reminded of the benefits of keeping a style guide — even as a novelist. Particularly when one is writing fantasy.

Style guides are used to maintain consistency across a publication. For example, if only the author(s) of the catalogue I’ve been proofing had decided up front on how to express compound words such as ‘infra-red’ (as opposed to ‘infrared’ or ‘infra red’). It’s of particular benefit where there are multiple authors, who each might be predisposed to choose a different version over one of the others.

I’ve been keeping a style guide for my fantasy novel, although perhaps not as diligently as I might. This is because I’m forever making up words and I need to remember how to spell them, especially where they are compound and I may not recall whether I used a hyphen or not . . . or whether, for example, I capitalise the made-up word or not. Because I’m the sole author of the piece, most of the other potential variables are ironed-out by my own habits — but not always!

Novels are large, messy beasts, and if they are written over a long period of time it is possible (some might argue probable) that some of the finer details get lost in the broader picture. I figure that any available tool that could help with consistency — to save the poor editor and/or proof-reader some valuable time — is a tool worth implementing.

One thought on “A sense of style

  1. Style Guides also come in handy when it comes to putting together a glossary or character list for the beginning/ end of the book, or (as David Weber is wont to do) publishing detailed technical specs on how the ships and missiles work.


I'd love to hear from you...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s