Do you follow a style sheet?

This is so true for publishing houses. Those incapable to have it or unable to follow one, fail to impress. If you are a writer – of any kind – most importantly, a bold face in online media, a style defines your appearance.

Here, we’re discussing a Style Sheet in terms of factors that will take you places and will help you express better.

Style Sheet may be taught to you as a standardised booklet or guide material teaching or enforcing certain rules and principles of journalism. It may appear bookish at times as it teaches this, asks you to follow that and tutors on language, grammar among other things. A style sheet may confuse you with usage of ‘9’ or ‘nine’, ‘am’ or ‘a.m.’ and so forth.

While a standardisation of rules should be left for big organisations for whom everything is right, may you follow some basic principles which will guarantee you certain degree of credibility in all your endeavours

Further on, you can decide fonts, size, colour and tools for make up based upon individual choice or target audience. Depending on your nature, some of the prescriptions below might be absolute fun and some might be strong adherence. Choice is yours. But, before you start reading on, ask yourself – Do you really want to know how to write?

Remember, stories must be factual, objective, newsworthy, interesting and informative. And before doing a news story, always ask yourself: Why should anyone read this?

Your Style Sheet, over the years, will take care of spelling, punctuation, and news writing practice so that your stories will be accurate and consistent and also objective.

Your first paragraph should state the story facts (WHO, WHAT, WHERE, HOW and WHY) so that the readers know exactly what the article covers. The second paragraph may mention the significance of the event (i.e. WHY this event is newsworthy).

Once it is established as who was involved, what happened and how and where, subsequent paragraphs can dwell upon further details.

You are ready now to reveal your true colours. Let newsrooms fight over the debate if it should be al-Qaida, Al Qadea, al Qaeda or al Qayada, you simply define it through your writing Style. A terror group will never change to Buddhist principles if you spell it right or wrong.

Neeraj Bhushan
More than a bystander. Chocolate soldier. Pineapple lover. Roman Holiday movie fan.