Non-fiction is a form of prose writing that factually describes real events and people, sometimes offering additional commentary. This tag should be used for any questions relating to non-fiction, including non-fiction formatting and technique, non-fiction critiques, and the publishing of ...

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Paragraph flow, verb inversion and last sentence tone

The paragraph below is a conclusion for an essay. I have three problems with the paragraph that I would like to review with you. This experience showed me that ignoring an interpersonal conflict ...
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1answer
90 views

Advice on choice of epigram

I am writing a paper on Internet censorship in China and was considering starting it with a thought provoking epigram to draw the reader. The title of the paper in question is: China's Internet ...
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10answers
539 views

How can one make technical issues more accessible to a non-technical audience?

Most of what I write is non-fiction -- technical books, blog posts on open source topics, political stuff, etc. Lately, I find that some of the topics I am trying to present are much more technical ...
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1answer
127 views

Should I use different pen names for different audiences (non-fiction)?

I am working on three separate works for three different audiences. All are non-fiction. One is for children ages eight to twelve, another is for teens ages fourteen to twenty, and the third is for ...
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3answers
298 views

Please help me polish this paragraph.

I'm learning English as a foreign language. In one of my writings, one paragraph goes: But it's not saying we just indulge ourselves and turn into wild beasts. We train our brain hard so that we ...
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3answers
724 views

Do you need to get author's permission to quote him in a non-fiction book?

I have a non-fiction book idea that would frequently use quotes/reviews from a specific author. Would I need to get that author's permission to quote him/her, and to base the entire book on these ...
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438 views

Citing speech and interviews in biographies

I am currently writing a biography of a band, and have a question regarding citing quotes, such as from interviews. Is it necessary to cite everything a person (for example a band member or manager) ...
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1answer
774 views

When do I need to obtain permission to photograph and write about a business, work of art, or person?

I am preparing a book which will include lots of short passages, on a variety of subjects, many of which are related to a single area in a city. Each passage will also have a photograph, which I ...
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891 views

Is it good style to use latin phrases in english scientific literature?

I don't know how much and deep actually school kids in the US get in touch with Latin. In Europe you can choose it on many high schools and the use of it common in mainstream media. For some areas of ...
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243 views

Software for instructional book

I saw this question on software for fiction writers. I'm wondering if there is software out there for non-fiction/instructional/research writing? Seems like yWriter and Scrivener focus on organizing ...
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1answer
174 views

Where can I find exercises to help me develop fictional writing techniques useful in narrative nonfiction?

I usually write explanatory nonfiction, but now I am interested in something more narrative--think Erik Larson or Rebecca Skloot, for example. I write clearly, and understand basic ideas about ...
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1answer
173 views

How much should I reveal about my book idea to a publishing house representative?

I am a faculty member at a small liberal arts college and a colleague and I are working on a textbook that is still basically in outline stage. The idea is not completely novel but there are not a ...
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150 views

All persons fictitious - where to place it?

I've got an all persons fictitious disclaimer similar to the one mentioned at All persons fictitious disclaimer — ideas regarding modification? but where should I place it? Bear in mind, this is a ...
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270 views

Correct order for Thesis Front Matter

What is the correct order of the following pages comprising a doctoral thesis: Title, Abstract, Colophon, Copyright, Dedication, Preface, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of ...
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1answer
537 views

Length of non-fiction article and what to do about it

I have been working on a non-fiction (mostly biographical) article that currently is about 9,000 words and I have perhaps 30% more to go, so perhaps the final article would be 12-14k words or so. I ...
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3answers
233 views

Writing a math exercise book

I am in the process of compiling a collection of exercises in Linear Algebra, (freshman course). This is mainly just a series of examples, with a short theoretical introduction to each chapter with a ...
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3answers
310 views

What makes for interesting travel writing/blogging?

I wanted to hear a few words about travel writing. What qualities make for the most engrossing stories, especially for readers who are just sort of gauging their interest? I've read a number of ...
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4answers
519 views

Which goes first: summary, background or justification?

I am trying to write a long expository piece and cannot figure out which information should come first. Here are three candidates: A summary/abstract lists the main points, without necessarily ...
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2answers
88 views

What are effective ways of working with a nonfiction editor?

How do you defend the integrity of your work while maintaining a cooperative and friendly rapport? Specifically, how can one work with an editor who is perhaps a bit overzealous?
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395 views

Is there a typical structure for non-fiction popular science books? If so, what is it?

Is there an accepted or suggested structure for writing non-fiction (specifically, popular science) books? As an example of the type of book I mean, there's Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational: a ...
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3answers
1k views
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745 views

Strunk and White vs “Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace” by Williams and Colomb

I'd like to improve my writing and have been considering getting either The Elements of Style by Strunk and White or Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace by Williams and Colomb. What are their ...
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10answers
285 views

An alternative to saying 'users' when describing features

I'm creating some copy describing new web-app features for a number of different audiences (users, managers of sections of the site, owners of sub-sites which use our platform etc.). I'm finding ...
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4answers
355 views

Can I use “We” to refer to me and the reader?

I am writing my thesis and in many cases I want to take the reader through an example. For example: Besides the advanced composition rules, it is also important to have a set of basic rules to ...
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1answer
509 views

Is an overview clearer when outlined with bullet points, or when written in paragraphs?

I am writing a short piece for a technical audience. In essence I have three main points, each with sub-points. A few of the sub-points themselves have sub-points. I cannot help but find it clearer ...
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3answers
476 views

When *should* I use passive voice?

Is there ever a good time to use passive voice in nonfiction?
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4answers
993 views

Common words to avoid when writing formally

I am rather useless at writing formal English and sometimes find that I can come across informal with my choice of words. So I wondered what common words and phrases should be avoided when writing an ...
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519 views

What are the key skills for a new technical writer?

For those that are just starting out, what are key skills they should have or learn to be a good technical writer?
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248 views

How long can I expect to wait between accepting an offer and signing?

I accepted an offer from a publisher recently on a non-fiction title. It's my first book and naturally I'm excited. My agent negotiated a good deal since which time the publisher has not been in ...
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2k views

How do you come up with non-fiction story ideas?

My biggest problem is that I'm often at a dearth of ideas. I can target a publication or radio show or whatnot once I've got it, but I'm just not good at coming up with them. Tips?
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7answers
984 views

Verb tense for technical document titles

I'm writing a technical manual about creating database systems, and wondered what is the best verb tense for title names. My ideas are: Continuous (-ing) form: (e.g. "Creating a Cluster", "Creating ...
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3answers
547 views

Are composite characters in creative non-fiction okay?

I come from a journalism background and am very interested in the dying style of narrative journalism, or creative non-fiction. I was discussing a project with a potential editor and said I didn't ...
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1answer
219 views

What is the process for publishing academic papers?

While studying in my first term as EPIR student I had to prepare several papers. I gave those to my family and friends, to read and comment upon. I was surprised when they advised me to publish them. ...
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2answers
114 views

How can you submit your writings internationally?

I live in Argentina, and I've always wondered if (given the case of having something worthy) I'd be able to submit it to publishers in, for example, the USA. Of course the writing would be in English. ...