In What's New, Writing

Writing and publishing a book could be the most deliciously yummy experience of my life.

Here’s a rundown of how it’s worked so far:  I wrote the book.  Told myself my first draft was brilliant.  Got massively rejected by every agent in the history of agenting.  Workshopped, cried, gave up on writing forever, (rinse, repeat).  Rewrote three chapters as a young adult novel.  Convinced myself those three chapters were brilliant (because all desires for literary success must be well-peppered with self-delusion).  Sent them off to just ONE agent, the best YA agent I could find.  Cringed and waited for rejection.  Got asked for the full manuscript instead.  Wrote said manuscript in ridiculously record time.  Convinced myself it was brilliant.  (Picking up on the pattern here?).  Landed the first YA agent I queried, who sold the book in the first round of submissions with multiple offers, which I thought gave my fantasies of brilliance a little cred.

And then, yeah, the editing process started.  The first round involved a 10-page, single-spaced editor’s letter so painful I couldn’t make myself open it for weeks.  Then I made the changes and sent the manuscript back.  Then my editor sent the manuscript back to me again with more stuff we’d missed.  After that I plowed through those edits (mostly hitting “accept deletion” in the Word doc) and sent it back to her.  She then sent it to a copy editor, a fresh set of eyes.  And there’s where it got wonderful!

The copy editor created a Style Sheet!  What?!  In this magical document, everything of note in the book was listed alphabetically, names, places, phrases I “coined.”  (These she marked, “coinage, stet.”  I mean… can I hug her now?!?)  Despite the fact that I was admonished for my use of interrobangs (interspersed throughout this blog post too – look for them.  They look like this and I love them: ?!) watching the book take shape through editing has been exhilarating.

The copy editor  also made a wonderful list of every character mentioned, which I’ll definitely reference while I’m building out the book’s page on this site.  My life is so amazing right now.

Anyway, without further ado and with much gratitude to all the amazing editing professionals who have made The Secret Side of Empty a much better book than I ever could have made it on my own, here is The Secret Side of Empty Style Sheet, A through C:

Style Sheet

The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu


Verified Spelling and/or Styling (Webster’s 11th ed. unless otherwise attributed)


a cappella

abuela (Google Translate: grandmother)

AC (abbrev. air-conditioning)

acequia (Google Translate: ditch)

after-party (M-W Online Dictionary)



asado [Google translate: roast)



beach ball

bear-hug (v)

bicolor (n)

big-time (adv)


“Blackberry Brandy” by T-Bird and the Breaks (

BMW 3 Series (cap S & no hyphen per

Bodas de Sangre (Lorca work)

“Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen song)

boot camp

Boy Decoder Ring


break-up stories

Calacatta marble

“California Dreamin’” (Mamas & Papas song)

checklisting (coinage; stet)

cheerleaderiness (coinage; stet)

Chelsea-verse, the

Child Protective Services


coed (adj)

Coliseum, the

CoverGirl (




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