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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

6
votes
4answers
260 views

Using capital letters for shouting

I respect that with the power of language, we don't necessarily need to capitalise anything, because a description of how a character is speaking is more powerful. Take my example: The hooded man ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Should I use contractions on a non-fiction work? [duplicate]

It is many things, as we’ll see in Chapter TBD, but at its heart, it is just software. I heard it was bad to use contractions, but it seems a bit wordy to say: as we will see.
0
votes
0answers
64 views

According to Bakhtin, why is poetry monologue, and a novel dialogue? [closed]

Addressing the idea of heteroglossia, why is poetry generally unable to exhibit heteroglossia? What specifically is the "other speech" in a novel that shows heteroglossia?
91
votes
20answers
4k views

The “Rules” of Writing

There are a lot of axioms that get tossed around in creative writing courses, books on writing, and of course, the internet. Often, these little gems are explained to new writers as though they were ...
0
votes
1answer
126 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
158 views

Best way to convey an immediate change of scenery

Okay, bear with me. Think of it like this: My character is stuck in an situation whereby every time he sleeps, he wakes up at a different time (as in the past/future, not 8:00am), in a different ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

What does “MC” in section break mean?

I saw - I think at least a few times now - authors separating sections of a story with ~MC~MC~MC~ or something similar. What does that mean? Is it an acronym for something, or just some odd ...
10
votes
6answers
13k views

Should I indent the first line of the first paragraph in a chapter?

I was reading a thesis report of a friend and I noticed that he didn't indent the first line of the first paragraph in each chapter. I don't remember noticing it anywhere before until I saw it there ...
0
votes
2answers
50 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
46 views

How to style a film or book title?

Let's say I had a character which was looking at a book shelf and I wanted to mention a particular book that they were looking at, let's say it's Lord of the Rings, should I put the title in quotes? ...
36
votes
20answers
4k views

How to name the characters of your story?

I find it hard to name my characters. Every normal name sounds funny if applied to a product of my fantasy. If I take a common name, I may get the image of someone I know into my head. And that may ...
10
votes
5answers
549 views

Switching POV: Should it ever be done at all?

When I started, I had a nasty habit of hopping from perspective to perspective to perspective. I forced myself down to one perspective per chapter, but I still wonder if it's acceptable to do it at ...
0
votes
1answer
80 views

Synonym recommendations for “chuckle?” [closed]

Apparently I want to use this word a fair amount ("she chuckled," etc.), or, more specifically, a word that means "a short and [soft or gentle] laugh." When I comb online and other digital thesauri, ...
4
votes
4answers
132 views

Is extraneous language appropriate in academic writing?

I teach a course in academic writing. My students, who do not have much writing experience, add many phrases, as in What are these extra phrases added to the beginning of sentences called?, to the ...
4
votes
3answers
254 views

A friendlier way to write charges or fees to clients?

What is a better way to write in an email to tell my client that I will charge him a fee of say $100? Often, I feel very reluctant to write these ways: I will quote the hosting and development ...
0
votes
1answer
182 views

Comma between the following clauses in AP Style?

The AP style says that a comma is not needed between two clauses that have the same subject. However, it would become ambiguous if I removed the comma fromt the following: When you walk straight ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

Using pronoun in an essay: 2nd person or 3rd person?

1) Working in a wide range of positions can improve a person’s experience and make him more successful. 2) Working in a wide range of positions can improve your experience and make you more ...
2
votes
1answer
334 views

How to cite a Terms of Service in APA style

I need to cite a Google condition using APA style. I have the following paragraph, but when I pass it through Viper I get plagiarized. How shall I do?
1
vote
1answer
83 views

becoming better blogger when I write about diverse topics

I often tend to treat my blog as my diary and thereby end up having a mix up personal and general blogs on my site. I understand that it does not attract readers - a mixed bag of one liner and ...
5
votes
3answers
372 views

Overusing “the” and “I”

I'm not a native English speaker, and I find that my English writing contains too many definite article "the" when writing scientific reports, and too many "I" when writing in informal settings (like ...
6
votes
4answers
259 views

Italicize part of a word in fiction?

I am wondering if I can or should take a bit of stylistic license and italicize just part of a word: He took a sharp turn back into a side street, and collided hard with something that sent him ...
2
votes
5answers
153 views

Punctuating Thoughts

Following my question here I am still unsure if it is a 'hard and fast' rule to italicise thoughts. My preference is to use normal quotation marks, so that if a person is thinking in a dialogue ...
3
votes
2answers
603 views

Changing narrators

Is it ever a good idea to change narrators in a short story? In one of my short stories, the narration starts in third person 'eye of god' mode. Then it moves to each character - there are only two ...
1
vote
3answers
143 views

When to use contractions and when to use complete words?

These are some passages from Man-Eating Cats by Haruki Murakami. He'd been dead set against out marriage from the start, and his tone of voice said he'd finally been proved right. He had ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Pros ans cons of writing a plot based on the present and past tense (character's point of view)?

I'm not sure if I should write my first book in the present or past tense. The book is about a doctor in a clinic who is analysing his patients. e.g. I said, VS I say. I thought for a while ...
1
vote
1answer
76 views

Shift in tense and starting a historical account with the present tense

I was just writing a historical overview of a battle and decided I'd write the introduction in the present tense--the present tense being a narration of a specific event during the war. I just ...
3
votes
1answer
63 views

Publisher field in Book Review when the book is obtained for free from the internet

I'm writing a book review as part of my English Holiday Homework. The book (or rather, prolegomenon) that I'm reviewing is Battle of the Books by Jonathan Swift. Due to obvious reasons for my ...
4
votes
7answers
178 views

Level of description in a story

I have often come across stories where the author has described a particular scene or action of a character in minute details. e.g. If a character has to open a door, the description is about how the ...
46
votes
20answers
2k views

How to overcome the fact that I can't write?

My problem is that I basically suck at writing. Especially prose. Part of it is basically because I don't practice as much as I could. Part of it is because I'm just not talented in that way. ...
2
votes
5answers
444 views

Techniques for creating variety in prose

When I write my short stories, I usually end up using a direct style as follows: Tim remembered the day he had to say goodbye to Cathy. He did not really have a choice. He had to let go of Cathy, ...
0
votes
1answer
92 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
391 views

Resources on Minimalist Style of Creative Writing

I recently found out (see here) that my writing style can be described as minimalist. I am fascinated by this 'revelation' because it has helped me understand why I write the way I do. (I have no ...
2
votes
3answers
96 views

How much can I talk about other people's works?

Let's say I'm writing a novel set in the future, clearly on Earth, with all the history that has happened through today. Obviously in the real world, there are numerous works of fiction that are ...
2
votes
2answers
94 views

Is it possible to publish stories with experimental spacing technique? (aka, blank pages, etc.)

I've got a few stories that employ experimental stylistics. The piece that is giving me the most trouble, though, is split up into five sections-- each section begins on its own page. It's hard to ...
2
votes
6answers
271 views

How do I keep up with current written English language?

I am a speaker of English as a foreign language. I appreciate that English is a living language and that different regions in the world use English differently. I wanted to know how I can keep up with ...
3
votes
2answers
191 views

Should a piece of fiction be made of 100% concise writing?

I recently finished reading William Strunk's Elements of Style. The book mostly teaches how to write concise paragraphs (e.g. by removing, changing, and rearranging words). So I decided to apply that ...
3
votes
3answers
105 views

Units to use in travelogue-book (time, weight, temperature, distance, etc)

I'm writing a book (travelogue) about Japan in English, detailing my walk across the country a few years ago. My target audience is English speaking countries, and I'm trying to write in American ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What's with all the hate on adjectives and adverbs?

Ok, I'm starting to get a feel for this, but I'm hoping someone can explain it more clearly for me. I learned in all my English classes that sensory imagery is important, which naturally involves a ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Writing a newspaper article summary

First of all, I'd like to apologize in advance for my horrible English, but it's not my primary language and I still can't help but make some blunders. I have been assigned to write a newspaper ...
1
vote
1answer
115 views

Does this sound like someone at the end of their conflict with emotions? Please help

The more I reject the demon, however, the more its pertinacity grows with unyielding resolve. He follows my every thought with conviction — has an answer for my every action, and speaks words ...
6
votes
3answers
119 views

Variation in paragraph length

I've learned that variation in sentence length is good. How about paragraph length? I always end up with paragraphs like this: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

What does active voice mean?

I was reading on here about passive voice but didn't really know what active voice was. I read some examples but was hoping for more insight. What does it mean to write with the active voice?
-2
votes
1answer
157 views

Style Critique (1200 words) [closed]

The Shade of the Magnolia Tree Against the carmine coloured sand his robes seemed to fade. With a jump a bolt of pure crimson followed him like a shadow. His robes broke the unending horizon of the ...
1
vote
4answers
495 views

Is this stylized writing successful or gimmicky?

This is a ~3000-word piece, with deliberately stylized writing. Is the style of this piece successful or gimmicky? Does it read smooth or choppy? He sat on top of the highway. City on a hill. He ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the best practice for displaying a personal website url in a resume?

Like most veteran coders in the IT industry, I have an out-of-date website that I use to link to different activities I'm involved with online, like Twitter and Stack Overflow. Up until now, I haven't ...
16
votes
8answers
2k views

What makes writing emotional?

Over the years, my English professors seem to have agreed on one thing: that I'm a superb technical writer, but terrible at eliciting emotional response in something like a story or an argumentative ...
1
vote
3answers
275 views

How to avoid repetition

How do you avoid too much repetition both in writing and speech? I feel like I'm repeating the same word over and over again when I'm writing or talking to people. The price of this tablet is X ...
3
votes
2answers
264 views

Creative writing use and abuse

I am wondering what is the limit, if any, of justifying one's writing style as being creative. I have often seen the use of a single word or phrase as a 'sentence' for creating impact. Example: "It ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What paragraph style should I use for an e-book?

I have often heard of the advice that "use a style that works best in your situation". In regard to paragraph styling for an ebook, there are a few options: A single space (between paragraphs) and ...
7
votes
3answers
255 views

Techniques to write for a wider audience

Many years ago, I wrote a short story that used specific information from my cultural background e.g. a belief that if you dream something, it is a form of a vision (superstition, some may say!). This ...