Style Sheets for Academic Editing

Tweed provides a style sheet with every completed editing job. The writer can use the style sheet as a guide to the edits I’ve made and as a crib sheet for cleaning up future documents even before they’re edited.

But What is a Style Sheet?

A style sheet is a record of types of changes made during the editing process and often covers the following aspects as they pertain to the document at hand:

  • capitalization
  • hyphenation
  • use of italics
  • spelling
  • punctuation
  • formatting

Usually, a style sheet only includes decisions that differ from or are more specific than what can be found in the prevailing style guide (in publishing, it’s often The Chicago Manual of Style).

For Tweed’s purposes, however, I include not just a list of terms and ad hoc rules but also some guidelines that I think will benefit the writer as he interprets my edits and goes on to other writing projects.

Sample Style Sheet for Academic Editing

Sample Academic Editing Style Sheet

This is a sample style sheet (PDF), mocked up from work I’ve done on a wide variety of projects. Despite the disparate content, this sample gives you a sense of what a style sheet is and what it can do for you as a writer.

I usually phrase entries as sentences so that they are most useful to writers. It must be said, however, that no style sheet is a replacement for a style guide or mastery thereof. I don’t list every editing decision that I make; I focus on the ones most important for the document and hand and that I think a writer could rather easily understand, research more thoroughly, and deploy on her own.

Thus, Tweed style sheets are somewhat unlike those that are used internally at publishing houses. My hope is that these documents make post-editing work rather swift for writers, and many of my clients have gone out of their way to confirm that the style sheets are useful as they move forward in their professional writing lives.

I also use style sheets when I’m writing and revising my own scholarship. During your next big academic undertaking, I suggest you try putting one together for yourself. Even if it’s pretty basic, a style sheet will streamline your process. Your future publisher will notice that you’ve paid attention to consistency in your document, and that can only bode well for you in the acquisitions (or peer-review) process.

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