4 Reasons to use a style sheet . . .

What is a style sheet? And why use one?

A style sheet is a document editors and authors use to record all the style decisions they make for a particular manuscript, often different from those found in a style manual or in-house style guide. They inform the author and editor about spelling choices, punctuation, numbers/dates, capitalization practices, abbreviations, and so on. You can also use it to list characters names, acceptable dialogue tags, formatting choices, hyphenated/unusual compound words, and foreign words, as well as anything unusual that should be noted.

For example, an author of a science fiction book may decide that the computer’s dialogue is always in Courier font and underlined. Another example might be the spelling of “okay”—perhaps the author wants “okay” to be always written as “OK.”

A style sheet is important because it:

  • ensures consistency—in both text and design;
  • maintains the author’s voice;
  • provides a reference for anyone working on the manuscript; and
  • can be used for all the books in a series.

Here is a sample of a style sheet that you are welcome to use:

Style Sheet


Consider gender-neutral pronouns . . .

A Review of A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni & Tristan Jimerson

“. . . we’re trying to create an environment where all are welcome in our lives and spaces . . . and this will eventually become the norm.” — from A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni & Tristan Jimerson

Recently, I saw a job description that used the masculine pronoun and then noted at the end of the text: “N.B. The masculine is used only to lighten the text.”


Language is changing every day. As editors and authors, we have the responsibility to pay attention and keep up with these changes. When editing non-fiction, one of the jobs of the editor is to advocate for gender-neutral language.

Gender neutral pronouns are not something new, yet, for some, the practice of using them in our everyday lives and writing is still a hurdle. Why? This is a loaded question. But perhaps one of the reasons is because we forget the power of a pronoun.

A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns reinforces the importance of using gender-neutral pronouns and lays out a plan of action in comic book form. It is a great resource for everyone and an asset to every workplace. As the title says, the guide is quick to read and easy to understand with simple charts, scripts, and examples to follow.

If you are still having trouble writing with gender-neutral pronouns after reading this book, then please rewrite the sentence to avoid pronouns all together because, as authors Archie and Tristan say, “nothing is a cool as being an empathetic and respectful person.”

Here is another worthy source to have handy when choosing which gender-neutral pronoun to use.

Review Sept 2018 

A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni & Tristan Jimerson