In a discussion elsewhere, the subject of style sheets for novels came up. At some point I’d learned that it’s a good idea to provide the copyeditor with a style sheet for one’s book: in other words, a list of the spellings of proper names and invented places, of any non-obvious capitalization rules, of any other style issues that might not be covered by the Chicago Manual or by house style. My understanding was that providing a style sheet was by no means required–copyeditors are in the business of compiling style sheets and working out (and making consistent) the rules as they go through a book–but that doing so was useful, and could result in a better copyedit. This made sense to me, especially since such a style sheet is basically a matter of writing down the rules I’ve already worked out in my own head, rather than expecting someone else to guess at them.
In the discussion, though, lnhammer and I seemed to be the only ones who’d ever heard of doing this.
Which leads to a couple questions:
– If you’re a writer, have you ever included a style sheet with a project?
– If you’re an editor or copyeditor or proofreader, have the writers you work with ever included a style sheet? And if they have, have you found such style sheets helpful, indifferent, or annoying?