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WORKING SMART PART TWO
I am a stickler for consistency in my writing. I do not want the neighborhood bar to be called “The Spot” on page 10 and “the Spot” on page 100. If you care about consistency, create a style sheet. Then you don’t have to remember whether you capitalized fascist or communist. You will have the rule in your style sheet. It will also help when you write the sequel. No need to thumb through pages or do a word search to see how you used a word in the first book.
Most fiction editors use the Chicago Manual of Style for guidance and the Merriam Webster Dictionary for word spellings and capitalization. A style sheet is invaluable if your book will be sent to a proofreader after editing because it lets them know exactly how you want certain words to appear in your books. Today, a beach in Point Richmond is referred to as Keller Beach. However, during the time period in which the book is set, it was referred to as Keller’sand that is how it appears in the book, proofreader’s tantrums notwithstanding.
Here is a section of the stylesheet for In the Shadow of Lies: An Oliver Wright WW II Mystery.
In the Shadow of Lies Style Notes & Word List
- All words used as words should be
- Foreign terms that do not appear in M-Wand are not proper nouns should be italicized in every
- All spellings and formats of foreign terms have already been fact-checked. Please do not change spellings, formats, or accents.
1930s (but “the thirties”)
Army Air Forces
Army, the (when referring to the US Army as an institution; but ” the army” in general use, e.g., “he was in the army” )
Asperger ‘ s syndrome
Cafe Avellino, the
coast guard cutter coast guard ferry coast guard, the Corsair
Currier & Ives
I must admit that I strayed from the advice of my first editor who followed the Chicago Manual of Style and insisted that the m in marine be lower case when referring to an individual person. However, the Marine Corps prefers that the Mbe capitalized, so as much as I don’t want random capital letters sprinkled throughout the pages, I did what the Corps asked. They are the Marines, after all!
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Mary Adler was an attorney and dean at CWRU School of Medicine. She escaped the ivory tower for the much gentler world of World War II and the adventures of homicide detective Oliver Wright and his German shepherd, Harley. She lives with her family in Sebastopol, California, where she creates garden habitats for birds and bees and butterflies. She is active in dog rescue and does canine scent work with her brilliant dogs — the brains of the team — and loves all things Italian.