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

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30
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3answers
1k views

Explicitly correcting yourself while writing - how appropriate is it ?

Like so: He worries – well, not worries, but laments a little – that he senses people don't read Henry James anymore (sentence source: Monkey See, NPR Blogs ) I've used this style myself ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

What is this citation style called?

What is this citation style called: P. Schmid-Saugeon, J. guillod & J.P. Thiran, Towards a Computer-Aided Diagnosis System For Pigmented Skin Lesions, Computerized Medical Imaging and ...
4
votes
5answers
908 views

How to explain something mid sentence

I'm writing a review for a fiction book and I'm using a lot of terminology that is specific to the book and I feel that it has to be given some context and explanation. Otherwise any reader would be ...
4
votes
2answers
239 views

Style of writing as told from the point of view of the main character

What would be a good style for writing a story from one point of view while keeping the narration interesting? I mean you can't go into too much detail as what a person does during the day is fine for ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it okay to quote a saying, even if i don't know who said it?

If it is okay to quote then how should i quote it. For example, "Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions." - Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959) Now if i don't ...
3
votes
3answers
139 views

Formatting blog posts like the pros

I am new to writing. I have seen Jeff Atwood's blog and I am really impressed how he writes. I have seen a similar manner on wordpress docs too. I am still confused with some issues while writing. ...
3
votes
1answer
452 views

What is the style used in ISO/IEC publications?

I'm in the process of preparing a document to be sent to ISO/IEC WG14. What is the official style used in ISO/IEC publications (if there is one)? If there is no official style guide, is there a ...
9
votes
5answers
142 views

What style suggestions are common for which words are used in hyperlinks?

With a purpose of avoiding "More details here" style links that do not provide any information in the link itself, what styles are common/popular/suggested? A good example case (with bold as the ...
3
votes
1answer
647 views

Writing an artist statement , not a thesis

Question Hello, I need guidance writing an artist statement for a gallery. Specifically, what's good practice, and what should be avoided? Thanks, Thoughts I'm a visual artist appearing in a gallery ...
0
votes
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 ...
1
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0answers
1k views
15
votes
8answers
4k views

What breaks suspension of disbelief?

So much of Sci-Fi and Fantasy requires the viewer (or reader) to suspend their disbelief: The speed of light can be circumvented, magic works, vampires are real (and may or may not sparkle), etc. ...
1
vote
2answers
199 views

What free tools are there to help me improve my English?

I am in the process of writing a research paper in Computer Science. Are there any free tools/browser plugins/web sites/latex plugins that would help me improve my English? I am looking for some nice ...
4
votes
4answers
996 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
100 views

Is it a Good or Bad thing to use 'I' Regularly in Magazine Articles?

Do readers want to read articles where the author refers to themselves and their experiences, or would they prefer the author to leave themselves out of the article? When I say 'readers' I'm ...
11
votes
4answers
500 views

How do you avoid the problem of all the characters in your story sounding the same?

There's a common flaw that I can easily detect in amateur writing, (and of course my own) which essentially boils down to all the characters "sounding the same", dialogue-wise anyway. Trying to ...
6
votes
1answer
652 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
90 views

Could anyone point me in the direction of some resources on conversational writing

Im looking to improve my writing , i would love to know if anyone has any tips on developing an engaging conversational writing style.
5
votes
4answers
497 views

What makes a good action scene?

Action, in any storytelling medium, is the relationship between build up and pay off. While cinema may emphasize the payoff (pyrotechnics play well to theater-going crowds) it seems that the written ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

What needs to be included in a corporate style guide?

What kinds of things need to be included in a corporate style guide that can't already be found in S&W, AP, Chicago Style, etc?
3
votes
6answers
224 views

Please help me improve this sentence…

In a first-person narrative, I’d like to use the following sentence: It took me nearly a decade to write this script, and now I’d pitch it to the top producer in Hollywood. I’m not following ...
4
votes
2answers
100 views

What are some ways to denote presentation style outside of written text.

I would like my document as I am writing it to be independent of software layouts as I think it would be a better decision to make at the end of the process. What would be good ways to denote ...
1
vote
0answers
81 views

Looking for story that deliberately overused “get” [closed]

It was in Writer's Digest, probably the early 1980s, when I saw this. One of the regular columnists (or was it an irregular columnist?) went on a brief rant about careless writers overusing the word "...
11
votes
4answers
600 views

When should I avoid the passive voice? When might I use it?

An opinion exists that overusing of the passive voice can make writing harder for reading and understanding. Is it true for all kinds of writing? How to follow this advice without overemphasizing it? ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the most effective way to deal with flashbacks in a novel structure ?

In writing a novel, often flashbacks are difficult to manage: if too long and detailed, they can appear as second class (at worst, aborted) plots whose only task is to sustain the main plot line; if ...
5
votes
4answers
381 views

Rules and resources for scientific writing

The writing style in scientific papers in the natural sciences, e.g. chemistry and biology, seems very different from many other kinds of writing. There are usually severe restrictions on the length ...
13
votes
1answer
328 views

Checklist for making sure your writing is Atomic?

Question: Can someone please give me a list of things to check when reviewing a document to make sure that it is atomic. Atomic? Meaning that anyone can start reading at any section in a document ...
7
votes
2answers
304 views

How to emphasize a quote is written, not spoken?

In a similar question on EL&U, I asked about suggestions for indicating that a quote is written instead of spoken. Robusto's answer suggested several possible approaches: For longer quotes of ...
4
votes
3answers
280 views

Simplicity is fundamental in design. How about in writing a novel?

I'm a web designer. The first rule in design is KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). How about writing a novel? Is simplicity fundamental or just an option?
11
votes
3answers
275 views

Is it a good idea to write a summary of a plot before writing the full version?

Sometimes when I write a plot I get confused about the motivations of the characters and how events connect as I change elements. Is it a good idea to write a summary first in order to organise ...
5
votes
2answers
245 views

How can you build an interactive tone into articles?

I was wondering about tone in articles lately. My articles don't tend to be interactive. It feels like most of them are just flowing one way. How does actually tone contribute to the quality of an ...
0
votes
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
184 views

How should I approach possibly unfamiliar pop culture in fiction?

So sometimes I get an idea that forms specifically around some aspect of pop culture. They're often song lyrics. If the reader knows the song, they appreciate the symbolism and allegory or whatever ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How to make a letter interesting?

I have a question regarding the art of letter writing. I believe in the old-fashioned way of maintaining pen friendships (not necessarily a relationship, but could be) through hand-written letters, ...
16
votes
9answers
2k views

Tips for expanding my vocabulary?

Looking back through my texts, I noticed that I often use a lot of the same words and resort to using quite a basic vocabulary. I was wondering if there are any good exercises or anything else for ...
2
votes
0answers
232 views

Is Strunk and White's “The Elements” full of “stupid grammar advice?” [closed]

In a previous question I asked about The Elements, RegDwight posted a comment containing a link to this article by Geoffrey K. Pullum: 50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice. There is also a lengthier ...
14
votes
5answers
706 views

What is flash fiction?

Is it simply defined by its short word count? Or are there other accepted conventions in flash fiction? If it's just the word count, how short is too short? How long is too long?
3
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
29
votes
4answers
2k views

How do you avoid purple prose?

I try to watch out for bland, overused adjectives and I keep adverbs to a minimum but -- I hear this phrase a lot and I'm not even sure what it means?
9
votes
6answers
986 views

What are the tricks to avoid repetition in writing?

After some time of working on my research, I usually have a structured information of my results, which I can best describe in bullets/numbers. Unfortunately, this is not what academia expects. For ...
16
votes
4answers
597 views

As a non-native English speaker, Is it better to get translated or get copyedited for long texts?

My English level is average. I can write fluently and my vocabulary is not too limited. With the thought in mind that the end result must be perfect, is it better for me to write my long text (100 ...
5
votes
1answer
122 views

What are some appropriate uses of readability tests?

Do you use readability metrics (such as Gunning fog or Flesch-Kincaid) as you're working on a piece? If so, how do you use them, and what benefit do you get from using them?
12
votes
5answers
788 views

When is a prologue useful?

Prologues tend to get a bad rap on the internet, and sometimes for good reason. They're often used by as an excuse to start a novel with an info-dump. However, it seems to me that people often ...
13
votes
4answers
532 views

How can I transition from academic writing to fiction writing?

I always receive the same critique when I write fiction. The critique is good for my characters and plot, but I am told that my writing style is stiff, awkward and amateurish. When I wrote academic ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Writing 19th century upperclass English dialog

I was recently rereading bits of Pride and Prejudice and the dialog is absolutely brilliant. How can I learn to write dialog that sounds like it is from this general era? For example are there any ...
10
votes
3answers
401 views

How can multiple viewpoints be used without breaking the flow of the story?

I'm currently writing a story in first-person that has a connection to a series of external events - things that the main character has no way of knowing but are vital to the progression of the ...
7
votes
2answers
451 views

How many liberties can one take with syntax and grammar rules when writing poetry?

I've begun to wrote a small fable in verse for my girlfriend, whereas she gets one part of the story for each day before Christmas since the 1st December. She likes it, however she tells me nearly ...
11
votes
4answers
467 views

How do you vary dialogue within stories?

How do you vary dialogue within stories? I often find myself writing "'sentence/dialogue' said character", and it sometimes gets really repetitive. How is this managed? These are the only words that ...
4
votes
1answer
316 views

Pros and cons of using perspectives?

What are the pros and cons of using first person/second person/third person perspective in your story?
13
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7answers
1k views

What helpful writing exercises do you use?

The two I do most are dialog and description related. When I meet a person or I'm just sitting people watching, I try to write their description in my head as if I was describing a character in a ...