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

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2
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2answers
108 views

When not to use commas before dialogue (and capitals)

I'm struggling with when to omit the comma before dialogue (as well as when to use capitals) in fiction writing. My understanding is that you would omit the comma before/after something like "he says" ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

Playwriting: What is the difference between parentheticals and stage directions?

Coming from the World of Screenwriting, it proves difficult for me to discern the usage of parentheticals from the usage of stage directions in a play I'm writing. I need to know which is for what and ...
5
votes
4answers
425 views

In present-tense narrative, does “I spend the NEXT few hours…” make sense?

I was directed to the writers stackexchange from the English/grammar forums. I'm writing a novel in present-tense. If all the actions are in the present-tense, e.g. as the character is experiencing ...
6
votes
4answers
158 views

How can I convey something without going into details?

I am considering writing a novel in which society has fallen into a perverse pit of debauchery. This is necessary to the novel, but it also presents some problems. I want the reader to know just how ...
1
vote
1answer
217 views

Having a character quote an entire stanza of a poem

I am working on a long form fiction item.In this one of the characters will quote the first Stanza from a poem. Normally with speech one opens quotes, adds the text, and closes quotes. However I do ...
1
vote
2answers
50 views

Acronym issue transitioning from prose to dialogue

Fiction. There is a group called the Mental Health Access and Referral Team. In prose, I can either use M-HART or MHART. In dialogue, I'm a bit stumped. (I use THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE.) I think ...
4
votes
4answers
121 views

I like to write but I keep stopping myself

I have this problem where I always just can't seem to be satisfied by my choice of words resulting it me never getting far in writing. Almost every sentence I would think "This isn't the kind of ...
3
votes
1answer
69 views

What is the fine line between “confidence” and “presumption”?

I am about to apply to a grad school, and I have prepare the SOP for it (think it like a cover letter to apply to a job). I know the rule: show what I've got, not tell how I think I'm cool. I've ...
0
votes
2answers
63 views

Where to insert chapter breaks

I've recently written something about the length of in-between a short story and a novel. I've had a bunch of friends edit it, and all of them say that I should insert chapter breaks. I wrote the ...
12
votes
4answers
37k views

Must every piece of speech get its own paragraph?

I've had a few people read pieces of narrative writing I've done, and they seem to take issue with the fact that I sometimes put a piece of speech inline with the rest of a non-dialogue paragraph, ...
5
votes
1answer
86 views

Format keyboard keys in documents

I'm writing a guide to give step-by-step instructions to complete some tasks on the computer. At some points, I need to indicate pressing keys on the keyboard; how may I format the letter/symbol to ...
2
votes
1answer
28 views

How do you properly add paragraphs into a research paper?

I'm writing an MLA formatted research paper and want to add the following into my paper. "Legislature The Legislative branch is Parliament, comprised of the Head of State and the Legislative ...
1
vote
1answer
86 views

Relative clause or a new sentence. Which is better in an introductory paragraph?

I wrote In our approach, we rely mainly on the page's content to detect a data region, which in our definition is comprised of a node or a range of nodes in the DOM tree, constituting a ...
0
votes
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 ...
1
vote
3answers
143 views

Techniques to get rid of “was” and make one's writing more engaging

These are my techniques: Changing the order of the sentence: I was happy because of what she did. What she did made me happy. Using "in" and "on": 1999 was the year I devoted myself fully to ...
1
vote
2answers
148 views

What are the drawbacks of writing too much in the active voice?

I always hear people say, "Write in the active voice," so I decided to eliminate passive voice from my writing (as much as possible). It made my writing stronger, but I wonder: Does writing too much ...
0
votes
1answer
41 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
246 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
143 views

Why does this software suggest capitalizing the word 'dragon'?

Why did Grammarly suggest capitalizing the word 'dragon' in this sentence? It says it does not fit the context so needs to be capitalized: Small birds chattered and scooted about in the undergrowth ...
0
votes
4answers
295 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 ...
6
votes
8answers
821 views

How to format common words that are made “special”?

In my novel, there's something that the characters refer to as "darkness". It symbolizes the bad thoughts of depressed/suicidal people. A short silence. I imagined Joel nodding his head in the ...
1
vote
2answers
158 views

What are the stylistic advantages/disadvantages of each narrative tense?

I often find myself writing multiple copies of everything I write, which is very inefficient, because I'm unsure how which tense or tone-of-voice I want to commit to. I've only taken one creative ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Multiple personalities character's speach in text

I am writing about main character, which have multiple personalities. I know how i want to write them, but for reader it can be really disturbing and hard to for orientation. At the same time i will ...
6
votes
2answers
626 views

How do I stop using 'which' to explain things

I've been recently writing a lot of graduate school papers and I've noticed that I consistently use the word which to explain concepts. I have a feeling that there is a better way to express my ideas ...
2
votes
5answers
229 views

How to write about disgusting subjects?

Context : I'm starting a story with supernatural creatures and trying to make it both gory and funny. Some creatures I use are really gross. For example, one of my characters is an akaname, a ...
0
votes
2answers
113 views

Writing about a future hapenning with a present time narrative

What sort of a literary technique is it when writers narrating their story in the present time (in first person) talk of an incident that happens to them in the future? I recently read a non-fiction ...
116
votes
21answers
6k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
9k views

What are widely-used UK-English style guides?

In the UK, what are the equivalents to Chicago Manual of Style, the Associated Press style guide, Yahoo, APA, MLA, etc? Most importantly, what are their intended audiences? (AP is used for ...
1
vote
6answers
251 views

What makes a bestseller - Writing or Setting?

Note: I define 'setting' as where and when a novel takes place, as well as what the genre entails. It is the background to the picture of the story. I realize there are a lot of factors that ...
0
votes
2answers
90 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

Very long sentences: personal style or just bad writing?

I'm writing a story targeted towards children in which the protagonist is a young girl. I find that in writing her dialog and the narrative, I'm producing a lot of very long sentences, to the point ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

How to cite a report in APA style

I have been trying to go through Mayfield Book on Technical Writing to find out how to do an in-text and parenthetical citation of a source that I found online. The source looks like a report with ...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

Is it OK to add description just because a chapter has none?

I am trying to write without description, only narrating the perceptions of my protagonist, both external (what happens) and internal (what she thinks). I want to avoid all those explanations that are ...
3
votes
8answers
455 views

Developing your writer's voice

I'm a relatively new writer and sometimes I feel like my writing is too bland and that I'm struggling to develop my writer's voice. Does anyone have any good tips? Thanks
2
votes
5answers
165 views

How can I stress a certain word in a medium that doesn't allow for font embellishments?

Many of us probably encountered it before on a social media like Facebook or Twitter, or in the comments section of a major website. You've decided what you want to say, but you want to stress a ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

Addressing “logo-ification” of an organization's name in their literature

I need help finding some style rules to address an issue with a client. I'm working with an organization whose logo uses caps and italics with no spacing, like so: VANDELAYindustries Kind of '90s, ...
3
votes
2answers
100 views

Effective differentiation of dream sequence from “normal text”

There are lots of questions about how to write about dream, how will it be in a book etc. I have a bit different question. Imagine this situation: I was walking down the street to the entrance of ...
1
vote
2answers
94 views

Setting Up The Climax & Eventual End of The Story

I've been suffering a lot of problems with my writings recently. I started off a great story, where a girl is accepted in a prestigious school in a far off city. The story I've written in my head is ...
0
votes
2answers
135 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
3k views

How far into a story can I go until not physically describing main characters becomes really weird?

I'm writing a Third-Person POV Fantasy, and I want to publish online, but I can't give a cover or a summary, or anything else to help introduce the story... Plus, my title that doesn't explain much, ...
5
votes
5answers
189 views

How To Write Concisely

I am a high school student, and am concerned with my recent compositional tendencies. This past year, I took AP English Language and Composition. It was a rather difficult class, as writing is not my ...
5
votes
3answers
297 views

What's the best way to punctuate a list with an comma-containing item?

Examples: She looked tough: pieced nose, broad eyebrows, tousled hair, almost spiky. I tried picturing him: his tiny body swinging above the ground, his eyes bloodshot, almost popping ...
0
votes
1answer
154 views

How do you make page numbers in google docs? [closed]

I really need to know how to make the page numbers in google docs look like a real book. I know how to do the page numbers, but how do you do them half on the right side and half on the left (like an ...
-1
votes
2answers
245 views

Avoid repeating specific words with no synonyms

For a short essay assignment (650 word limit), I'm writing about how my experiences with learning Norwegian shaped me as an individual with the underlying idea centered around how sharing a common ...
2
votes
2answers
177 views

Mixing dialogue and action in the same paragraph?

I know you can add dialogue to the same paragraph as an action to show who's talking, but what happens when a character is making a speech and it's broken up by actions (hand movements, looking at ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

Main noun: How do you decide where to place it?

I'm not very sure if it's called "main noun" (sorry, I didn't pay attention in my grammar class). But anyway, here's an example: I decided to start my search at the library. Why? Well, it had more ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

When should a chapter end?

When writing a novel, when should I end a chapter? Note that I'm not talking about chapter word-count (that topic was discussed here). I'm interested to know when should I end my chapters ...
4
votes
3answers
273 views

Capitalizing generic names

I have a story with several characters. I've decided that I won't give them names, but refer to them as their titles. For example, the grocer. The cleaner. The officer. Currently I capitalize ...
0
votes
4answers
90 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
158 views

When is repetition good?

I'm aware that, in writing, repetition is sometimes bad. For example: "You forgot my birthday!" I said. "No, I didn't forget your birthday." "Then why didn't you wish me happy ...