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

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17
votes
8answers
35k 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
123 views

What aspects of written dialogue are important when giving characters a unique voice?

I have a project that I am working on in which I need to write quite a few fictional informal email correspondences between pairs of characters. I am not using these characters in any other context. ...
3
votes
2answers
58 views

Repeating a subject

Can I repeatedly use the same subject to start several sentences in a paragraph that describes a process? Does it build continuity or become redundant? For example: A passenger arrived. He ...
7
votes
4answers
370 views

How should I capitalise headlines for professional Web writing? (Sentence case vs title case)

I'm often uncertain about how I should capitalise headlines for professional writing on the Web. The two options I'm talking about are: Just capitalise the first word and any other words that would ...
1
vote
0answers
19 views

What aspects of written dialogue are important when giving characters a unique voice? [duplicate]

I have a project that I am working on in which I need to write quite a few fictional informal email correspondences between pairs of characters. I am not using these characters in any other context. ...
10
votes
9answers
351 views

Swearing in a book, within a context. Too offensive?

I am currently writing a science fiction novel. The characters are almost uniformly pirates and/or miners in the asteroid belt. Having worked in the mining industry, and grown up around mining towns ...
3
votes
2answers
118 views

Using comma splices in dialogue

At university, it was drilled into us to avoid comma splices like the plague, but I keep seeing them in all different types of famous, best-selling novels. I read things (all in dialogue, in inverted ...
1
vote
3answers
56 views

Should you emphasise text within quotation marks?

e.g. Bold: Click "Setting" then click "Options". Italic: Click "Setting" then click "Options". Or even underline? Or none quotation marks? Click Setting then click Options. Which ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

Use of ellipses at the end of a passage [duplicate]

My actual passage is a bit involved, but I've had this come up a few times over the years, and I've never resolved the issue. So I'll give a generic passage. I posted this question on ELU but didn't ...
6
votes
3answers
9k views

Abbreviation for “figures” in scientific papers

In scientific papers, the term "Figure" -- referring to an illustration in the text -- is often abbreviated as "Fig." But is "Figures" abbreviated as "Figs", "Fig.s" or "Figs."? I am proofreading a ...
1
vote
1answer
10 views

APA Headings- Frequency

How often should you use a heading? Are there any guidelines or limitations to using headings too often (i.e., every paragraph, every other paragraph, etc.)?
8
votes
6answers
3k views

Examples for books that don't use (traditional) chapters? [closed]

I'm a big fan of Terry Pratchett, and he doesn't use chapters (mostly). Are there any other authors who tend to not use traditional chapters or chapters at all in novels?
2
votes
2answers
79 views

How to write about paternal and maternal grandparents?

What are some practices to write about paternal, maternal grandparents, especially when their names are not used? In my case, the names are not given. One method I am considering is "p-grandfather", "...
7
votes
4answers
126 views

Is it possible for characters to get stuck reacting the same way to everything?

Alright so I am new here so I'm not sure if it's okay to ask this type of question, but I am wondering if it is possible for characters to get stuck in a sort of 'rut' where they react to things with ...
10
votes
4answers
426 views

What are potential pitfalls for a young writer?

Though I'm by no means perfect, I generally consider myself a good writer. The issue is that most older writers I know look back on their writing at my age and cringe at the sentences their artless ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

How to make a list enjoyable to read?

I think I'm a Modern Man by George Carlin, is a good example. And, after analyzing it, I've come up with some techniques. Varying sentence length I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium. ...
4
votes
3answers
100 views

Writing figures in novels

I believe that most of the time, it is advised to write out figures as words in novels, rather than writing the actual figure. E.g. He's twenty years old. He lives on the fourth floor. However, are ...
-1
votes
2answers
84 views

Is there a name for the **writing** tic/technique in which the **writer** inserts an aside beginning with “well”?

Is there a name for this writing tic/technique (which I find very annoying, by the way): Please note: these examples are in the form of dialogue which belies the context in which my question was ...
1
vote
3answers
187 views

Using acronyms in fiction writing

I'm wondering whether I can use acronyms without the period between each letter in fiction writing. Adding the period seems kind of clunky and stops the flow of the sentence a little but I don't want ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

How to format neural actions in a story

I'm writing a short story with androids and cybernetically enhanced humans who have access to neural interfaces. Essentially, they open up some kind of computer terminal, but it's via internal sensors ...
2
votes
2answers
113 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
115 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
428 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
160 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
223 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 tried,...
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
38k 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
91 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
154 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
155 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 well-...
0
votes
1answer
253 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
144 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
300 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
824 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
178 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
75 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
628 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
237 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
120 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 ...
1
vote
6answers
260 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
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 ...
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
48 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 ...