If the answer is "pick a method and be consistent", your question may be one of style.

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4answers
7k views

Which font should I use when I'm writing? [closed]

I know most people want to see courier, well, at least that is what I think (correct me if I'm wrong.) I would probably never be able to finish a novel or any kind of book for that matter (not ...
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1answer
79 views

Do you italicize fictional company names?

Generally in fiction writing, you don't italicize company names (even though you would italicize the name of a newspaper). But what do you do if the company name is fictional, especially a name that ...
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2answers
91 views

Are compound verbs frowned upon?

After finding out that adverbs were, to use hyperbole, about equivalent to a death wish for the quality of a piece, I was wondering about other bits and pieces of writing convention. Are hyphenated ...
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3answers
87 views

The extent of obscure references

How far is too far? If I am aiming for considerable accessibility, and, in my story, I mention Salvador Dali whose name is tier-2, not on the level of Picasso or Van Gogh, should I expect the ...
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1answer
259 views

Should I indent when I write just a short sentence?

I'm writing a curriculum vitae and in Special skills section I wrote as the following: 8- Special skills I have the following skills: C++ Objective-C Should I indent "I have the following skills"...
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3answers
137 views

How to reword this: repeated back on him?

I don't know how to reword this: Along the way, we see how the faults Jacob made earlier in life are repeated back on him. I know repeated back on him doesn't sound correct, but I ...
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3answers
48 views

How can a screenplay writer learn to write a novel?

I am the sort of person that is really great at coming up with amazing ideas, plot-lines, worlds, etc. for stories, but I'm not so good at putting them to paper - at least not in a novel. I'm really ...
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3answers
126 views

“And” vs “with” in description lists [closed]

When should I use the former or the later? Examples: It was a bird. It had a black head and wings and a golden underbelly. It was a bird. It had a black head and wings with a golden ...
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2answers
8k views

What is the correct location for page numbers in a report?

I am writing a report on our project in school, and we were discussing what would be the best place for the page numbers. It seems obvious, at least to us, that the page numbers should be right-...
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3answers
336 views

Words in author's native language?

Why in some essays or articles there are words in author's native language? (In other words, the essay is in English and there are some Spanish word spread out in whole essay) Does it necessarily ...
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1answer
189 views

Is it good style in fiction to write sentences as a flow of (disjointed) thoughts? [closed]

I was wondering whether it is okay to write like this or not: I never went for the grooves. But I did take a seat near the bar table and checked out the pretty ladies. Drinking was not my cup of ...
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2answers
171 views

Am I correctly referencing chapters which belong to the same book?

Looking for some help on how to reference chapters in a book inside of a booking I'm helping with. Should I be capitalizing Chapters 3 and 4 and would referring to chapters simply by capitalized ...
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4answers
74 views

Can an essay have a preface?

I'm writing a multi-faceted essay that will fill multiple pages (I suppose that it could be considered a collage of essays that build on each other to support one larger theme). This is something I've ...
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3answers
45 views

The difference between two speech formats

I am conflicted about which one is appropriate for a story, or whether it makes a difference at all. A few years ago, god knows where, I've seen speech that was formatted like so: Hello. - Tom said. ...
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4answers
306 views

How important is a story's introduction?

I would feel like an introduction would be the first impressions and knowledge someone has of a book, along with the cover, just like a good movie. However, you can just skip a book intro. I've heard ...
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2answers
138 views

Are using adverbs in dialogue/action tags a sign of bad writing?

Examples from my own writing: She smiled kindly. “Maybe I can help you. What are you trying to find?” "Probably," he said apologetically, as if he were personally responsible for this....
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3answers
96 views

Is the following “…noun, adjective…” structure allowed in fiction?

Exhausted, I continued lying on my back. A cloud drifted lazily in the sky, heart-shaped, its curves flawlessly outlined as if drawn with a compass. Or should I write this instead? Exhausted,...
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1answer
35 views

How to tell where to place a parenthetical em dash phrase?

Sometimes it's clear to me. But other times I get kind of confused. Example: After returning the materials back to their shelves, I turned—as were the others—the chair upside down on the table ...
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3answers
501 views

Screenplay format: Can character names be shortened after the first mention?

For example: TED DIBAR, (40s) swings his cape to the side, as he approaches Felix. Do I need to continue to use the character's full name, or can I shorten it in subsequent mentions?
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4answers
130 views

Indentation, paragraph spacing, when?

What are the proper rules for indentation in text? When should there be larger spaces separating paragraphs? In this particular example, I am writing a math book, so there are several different "...
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4answers
487 views

How to use “I think, therefore I am” in a more fluent manner?

I want to allude an experience that feels almost like Descartes' idea of "I think, therefore I am". Because the phrase is a proposition, I find it very difficult to fit in the statement in because I ...
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2answers
151 views

What can I write to improve reader participation at this blog?

I work for a costume company that has a company blog intended to inspire costuming and general ideas. We focus on Halloween sales, but we also have Renaissance and Oktoberfest themed costumes that ...
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2answers
34 views

What punctuation to use when a character is writing something down?

I'm trying my hand at editing a friends work, and I've got a little stumped. They wrote the following: 'Thinks he's the smartest one in the room,' Henry wrote on a piece of paper. (For context, ...
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3answers
69 views

Length of a scene?

Really, just how long should a solid scene in a chapter be? And what about when characters move setting but the topic is still relevant to the scene? How long would that be? Currently my scenes in ...
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2answers
28 views

Format for capitalizing quotes

Do you have to capitalize the second part of a dialogue if the second part is separated from the first. “Behind every great fortune,” he said as he started to zip up his jacket, “is a great crime. Do ...
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4answers
91 views

What do you think about having very different tones in a single story?

What if a chapter is incredibly depressive, dark, with intense language. And the next reads almost like a dialogue from a Seth MacFarlane comedy. Or even better, what if the tone switches occur ...
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1answer
258 views

What is it called when an author uses vague words for concrete concepts, “hedging”?

As an editor for an academic press, my pet peeve is when authors write sentences like "attempt to conceive of a possible approach to resolve X" instead of "try to resolve X". Obviously one big ...
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4answers
551 views

Dot after figure title?

Whether there should be a dot after a figure title (in a scientific book)? Note that I have figures numbered like "Figure 1. ..."
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2answers
338 views

Should I write “also known as” in full or as an acronym (aka)?

Example: It was located in the East Coast National Scenic Area, also known as China's Last Unspoiled Land. Is that how it should be written? Should I put it in quotes? Lowercase?
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2answers
362 views

Using Present Tense to describe a Fact on a story that uses Past Tense

newcomer here, and I have a question. I have a story that starts with the sentence, 'the ocean is vast'. However, I'm actually going to write my story in past tense form but changing that 'is' to '...
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1answer
94 views

Using “by” on the book cover

I have seen many books covers with the following format: [Title] by [name of author]. In other instances, the word 'by' is omitted. Is there any convention for using 'by' on the cover page of a ...
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1answer
98 views

Giving something an alias

Within a technical document I want to refer to a system or process by a shorter name. I have no idea what this process is called so searching the internet is not getting me anywhere. Is this correct? ...
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1answer
777 views

What are the names of the different levels of English?

In a recent discussion regarding software manuals, we came across the issue of different styles of writing / speaking in English. I am having a hard time finding a list of the different styles, such ...
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2answers
76 views

Clarity: What supports it? What hinders it? [closed]

A friend recently challenged me on communicating an idea clearly, and we ended up discussing clear thinking. I explained that in the idea communication process, concepts sometimes get tangled amidst ...
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2answers
97 views

How to close read and do an oral presentation on it in 12 minutes orl less? [closed]

so i am going to recieve a random passage from the book "1984" and will be given 12 minutes to read it, write all over it, and then do a 4+ minute oral presentation on it. My teacher also says to ...
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1answer
109 views

Is there a way of listing the elements that makes a real fact fun?

For instance I wrote this thing that is real God’s love is like your parents love / except for the ‘‘burning, crying, and screaming for eternity in hell" part / if you don’t obey them. and ...
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1answer
31 views

Mixing essay-like opinions with the story

Is it very uncommon or out of place to mix your own opinions within the story lines? Is it uncommon to change the tone from third person and talk to the reader directly? I have read many tips on ...
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2answers
30 views

A ballad or prose? [closed]

I am now planning to start with the third chapter of my novel. I got an interesting idea to write it as a ballad. But I am much better with prose. Will I better off if I continue writing prose or ...
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2answers
81 views

How to start writing short stories

I wish to write short stories based on the experiences I have from my life. Also, I love writing inspirational stories. But somehow, when I start to write them, I could not focus on the subject; also ...
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1answer
46 views

How should I break down a huge table of contents?

I am creating a table of contents for a book, and there are 4 ways of splitting information up. The biggest zones are 'Chapters', those can span several pages; these are bold, underlined and in large ...
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1answer
42 views

In what situation do you put a full-stop after an ellipsis?

In some style guides, I see this mention of putting a full-stop after an ellipsis when you are stopping the paused sentence and going onto another new sentence, but when reading several very well-...
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1answer
43 views

Lists of description appropriate for formal writing?

In a formal piece, is it appropriate to write a list, especially one of descriptions? It's the easiest way to get information across sometimes, especially on a tight word limit. For example, if I had ...
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1answer
39 views

How to use academic titles in the beginning of a paper

Should I use titles e.g. Dr., PhD, MS., BS, etc the beginning of a paper along with author names? Does the rule, if any, differ for different styles e.g. APA, MLA, etc.? Is the following, to make ...
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3answers
93 views

How can clarity and flow of long sentences be improved? [closed]

Sometimes it seems desirable to pack a lot of interrelated information into a single sentence, but such sentences can lack clarity or seem tiring. For example, the following sentence seems to leave ...
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1answer
80 views

When should headers be used in writing?

When I ask the Should I use hypophoras at the beginning of every paragraphs? question, Lauren Ipsum suggests me to organize things with headers while Kristina Adams advises me to avoid headers in ...
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1answer
35 views

Use of dash in section numbering

I am writing my thesis report and I am doubt which one is acceptable and correct? 1- Section 1 1-2- Subsection 2 Or this way? 1 Section 1 1-2 Subsection 2 And also if it is possible say that is ...
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1answer
41 views

Capitalize and/or hyphenate “ the Start Your Own Business project”?

I have come across a situation which drives me mad, and I cannot find any satisfying answer in the Oxford Guide to Style, which I tend to follow. The problem concerns the phrase "Start Your Own ...
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2answers
226 views

What are the Criteria that Distinguish a Thriller from Horror?

The criteria that come to mind are not exclusive to horror novels, so I'm a little confused and annoyed (annoyed because I find horror novels scary, and yet just cannot define it logically when I try ...
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2answers
48 views

Which opening for my book is better? [closed]

I am currently writing a fictional book. I have no idea how to introduce the new country and the history. I already have three ideas on how to start the book, but I don't know which one to use and ...
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2answers
65 views

Should I italicise when the protagonist quote other character's words?

For example in a story I'm writing a character says the following: “Be careful,” An-Mei said, ignoring my question. “No matter what, don't get close to her.” Later on the protagonist thinks ...