Why You Should Try a Style Sheet

Sue Archer

A style sheet is a critical tool that an editor uses to maintain consistency throughout a manuscript. Style sheets are not just for editors, though — writers also benefit from using them, both during the self-editing stage and when collaborating with a professional editor.

What exactly is a style sheet?

A style sheet is a place for capturing stylistic decisions on items such as spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. A style sheet is used by an editor to confirm that the appropriate style is being applied consistently throughout the entire work. The editor refers to it constantly, checking for accurate spelling and capitalization on all key terms and validating all stylistic decisions.

A style sheet is typically in the form of a simple text document. It consists of three main pieces:

  • An overview, which describes the work being edited and any style guides or dictionaries that will be used while editing.

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You Talk Too Much – A Dialog Exercise

Dan Alatorre

Your humble host. Your humble host.

I like to see how things are done behind the scenes, so I figured maybe you guys would, too. Here, I set aside one of my early drafts of The Water Castle to show how I evolve my patented dialogs.

(So many people find writing good dialogs to be difficult, so we have discussed it before, here, here and here.)

My characters tend to talk a lot, but they – like yours – have to do things during the conversation or it gets dull fast.

So I laid out the process in a little different manner this time.

First, I think up what these people need to convey in the scene.

Then I try to have each person’s speeches be quick, pithy, and irreverent. Sarcastic. Not mean, because they love each other, but instilled with the barbs that only friends and family can trade.

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3 Quick Tips To Fix Common Dialog Mistakes

Dan Alatorre

A Quick Dialog Exercise

Periodically, I take an example from my critique group, change the names of the characters to avoid making the author uncomfortable, and use it as a demonstration of stuff we don’t see ourselves that others might. Here is an example of something I have accidentally done a LOT of, and how to correct it.

Read the following short passage. (The girlfriend has been watching her boyfriend dance while he cooked, and then they sit down to dinner.)


“So apart from skiving off today, how’s uni going?”

“It feels like a huge backward step. I’d prefer to be back at work.” She poured two glasses of water. “Have you won any more contracts?”

“I have actually. Remember the urgent sample screenshots you pulled together just before you left?”

She surprised herself at being able to remember anything about those last few weeks. “Was it that catalogue…

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How To Use Pinterest Group Boards to Increase Your Blog Traffic

Suzie Speaks

Pinterest group boards

When it comes to Pinterest, I’m still very much a newbie. A good bloggy friend of mine, Elena from Fabulously 50 and Living With Batman was (and still is) the biggest influence on my Pinterest activities – after achieving a monumental amount of success with her own account in a very short space of time she very kindly analysed my profile, boards and activity and then gave me a detailed list of things that I needed to do to start gaining traffic to my blog.

And oh my gosh, it works! Within just four months I have gone from receiving 100 views for the month of September 2015 to at least 100 views a day in January 2016. In fact, by the end of this month I’m set to reach 4,000 views just from Pinterest alone. Yes, it’s hardly taking the blogging world by storm, but think about this over…

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Always On My Mind


1blog110Decisions. The average person now makes more decisions in a day than most did in weeks, months, even years. Decisions can engulf us. Haunt us. Overwhelm us. Interrupt us. Even stalk us in our dreams, ummm, a Nightmare on Choice Street? Choices are great, but too many can make it difficult, or almost impossible to make and trust decisions. Then comes the morning after, littered with “Did I make the right choice?”, “What did I do?”, “Can I return this?”, “What was I thinking?”.


Even in blogging there are so many decisions. At first, it felt frightening, like I was that boy in Jurassic Park, when Dr. Grant was explaining how Velociraptors kill.


Now I’m more like Chris Pratt, on a motorcycle, riding with the Velociraptors in Jurassic World, which for me was an all-out, action-packed cheesefest (in a good way), but a noticeable lack of Jeff Goldblum

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THE BLOG TOUR – starring Author Gordon Bickerstaff


Blog 6 The Best and Simplest Advice for New Aspiring Writers

If you aspired to be an electrician or a plumber then you would spend a few years learning your craft. If you aspire to be a writer then it is important to learn your craft, and to learn the writing craft you need to take off your reading for enjoyment hat, and put on your apprentice writer hat.

Learn from the experts. Read a book for enjoyment then read it again as an apprentice writer with a critical reviewer hat on. Discover how the writer held your interest. Learn the writer’s techniques in unfolding the story. Examine how the writer has revealed and described characters, and places. When I’ve read a good book, I may read it three times (not in succession) to understand the writer’s techniques. If I learn something, I make a note – maybe a paragraph…

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