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

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6
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3answers
113 views

When and how often edit the style and content of a story?

An early story I did I edited again and again to make it better. But in the end, I got the feeling the result was worse than before. Recently I tried to write (short-stories) in one go and only check ...
6
votes
3answers
132 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
654 views

What is “head popping” and why is it bad?

Most of my writing experience has been with first person, nonfiction stories. Now I want to try some fiction. I'm working in third person, but I'm a little bit confused about how to pull something ...
6
votes
1answer
574 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
242 views

Best Practices To Learn By Reading?

I've been browsing writers.se for a while and I've noticed a lot of folks state you have to READ to be able to write. I'm currently having trouble working time to read fiction into my daily routine. ...
6
votes
2answers
946 views

Should I prefer long or short sentences in scientific writing?

Currently, I am writing papers with rather short sentences: About half of them contain around 20 words, about 10% to 20% even less. I am doing this for three reasons: I find short sentences easier ...
6
votes
2answers
95 views

First person with co-authors?

I'm rewriting a technical book that will list two authors: the original author and me. Much of the text has been changed and there are some informal parts where reader is addressed in first person: "I ...
6
votes
2answers
146 views

What is this writing standard called, and where can I look up the exact details?

My English instructor said that he wants us to submit a heading and a header on our essays, taking the following form. The first page only should have our name, his name, the date, the subject (not ...
6
votes
3answers
632 views

How to use parentheses

Parentheses have many uses; I find myself reaching for them often. Increasingly though, I realise I can convey the same meaning without parentheses with little or only minor loss in succinctness. ...
6
votes
2answers
295 views

What exactly is wrong with 'It was a dark and stormy night'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is “It was a dark and stormy night..” not a good opening? The phrase in question is derided everywhere. Wikipedia calls it infamous and purple prose, the ...
6
votes
2answers
202 views

Use of punctuation within quotes with single words or letters

Consider the following sentence: Huego becomes fuego by discarding its "h" in favor of "f". Do not omit the trailing "s", which is key to the overall meaning here. Nueve comes from the Latin word ...
6
votes
3answers
647 views

What is the proper format/style for using and properly citing code in an APA paper?

I'm working on a paper that covers concurrency in Java, however to properly explain many concepts I feel code samples are basically needed. However, I don't know how to properly cite code I've ...
5
votes
6answers
996 views

Referring to oneself in first vs. third person in online profiles

Suppose I am writing a post/blog, how should I mention myself? For example, Ray Wenderlich (Site Admin) Ray is an indie software developer currently focusing on iPhone and iPad development. ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Is it overkill to follow style-guides for technical writing?

I currently work for an engineering company as an electrical engineer. A good chunk of my time is spent writing testing reports or instruction documents. Currently my company doesn't have any sort of ...
5
votes
5answers
660 views

Choosing between your Mother Tongue and other language

Ok, I know I was warned, but what to do, I had this question since very long. I have decided where to write(platform like computer or notepad). I am in process of deciding my way of writing, but the ...
5
votes
3answers
180 views

How to leverage social proof?

How can one use social proof as an argument without sounding like "just because everybody is doing it so should you"?. My problem is trying to demonstrate with social proof that trendy ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Is emphasizing a point by underlining still appropriate?

Instinctively I find underlining for emphasis distracting and much prefer bold or italic. From my research it seems underlining is a carryover from typewriters that were incapable of italicizing or ...
5
votes
5answers
687 views

Do empty pages need a number?

I would like to start each chapter on the right side of the book, as there are few chapters with a different point of view. I know numbering has to continue on the white page which might appear in ...
5
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
128 views

How do I cover a lengthy time period with only a few interesting details?

I'm writing a book about my three weeks of travel in Belize (is that even enough time for a book?), and I'm wondering how I can cover the first day and build a foundation without being boring. There ...
5
votes
3answers
200 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
355 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
466 views

How to indicate that a single letter was removed from a quotation

Suppose a source text says: 1 Timothy 2:4 says that God desires all people to be saved. Now suppose I want to quote it like this: It is possible for God to "desire all people to be saved." ...
5
votes
1answer
145 views

What's the ideal usage for italics for names?

I write articles on a website about anime, manga, cosplay, etc. I want to know whether I should italicise the names of anime or not. In some articles, I have to put the name of a certain anime too ...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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, ...
5
votes
6answers
853 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the correct way to write a fractional number in a formal letter?

If I'm talking about a length of time in a cover letter, let's say 5.5 years, what would be the correct way to write this? five-and-a-half years 5-1/2 years 5.5 years
5
votes
4answers
451 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
117 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?
5
votes
2answers
89 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
1answer
134 views

How to cite the C# Language Specification Version 5.0

I'm currently working on my thesis and need to cite a specific section of the C# Language Specification Version 5.0. The specification is available here, but I can't find the authors and the ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How to quote from a foreign journal that has not been translated?

I need to quote from a journal written in Arabic. What should I do? Write it first in Arabic then followed by translation and indicating that it is my own translation (translated by author)? Can I ...
5
votes
3answers
78 views

Deaf speechmarks? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How does one present spoken dialogue as a secondary language to signed speech? I want to write a novel and I was thinking of including a deaf character. I want to know ...
5
votes
2answers
226 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
252 views

Is it considered faulty language to use Spivak pronouns in an essay?

High school level essay to be exact, but I'd like to also know if Spivak pronouns could be used in papers or publications. Should I just eliminate this option all together, never think about it again ...
4
votes
7answers
191 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
316 views

Condensing words, to condense or not?

I am doing a lot of writing lately. Novels, short stories, and so forth. I have one person that tells me, Immense improvement from the first version. A great deal of your description is ...
4
votes
3answers
989 views

Why one sentence per paragraph in these news articles?

Lately I've noticed some news articles using (usually) a single sentence per paragraph. Some examples: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29341850 ...
4
votes
7answers
186 views

Unpunctuation: bug or feature?

Cormac McCarthy's style is worthy of a topic all its own. I've read all his books. Hasn't written a bad one, though some owe more or less of a debt to Faulkner. Anyway, to the point: he doesn't use ...
4
votes
4answers
98 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How to explain a war scene?

In my novel, I have a part where there is a war scene, and I need to explain it precisely from the king's point of view. How can I explain the war graphics vividly?
4
votes
2answers
219 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
258 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?
4
votes
3answers
185 views

How do I write numbers in dialogue?

My proofreader recently revealed to me the following, which I was wholly unaware of: ...when a number/code/serial or whatever is said in dialogue, you write the whole thing out... I had written ...
4
votes
5answers
628 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
116 views

Is it necessary to add a.m./p.m. after the time?

Examples: To make sure we had plenty of time to ask questions, we took the first bus to Mrs. Mann's house. By the time we arrived it was 11:00 a.m. Seven hours before the planet apocalypse. ...
4
votes
4answers
380 views

Does writing in a certain mood change how a writer writes?

I'm not sure if this is right for this part of Stackexchange, but since there is no psychology section, here we go: I'm currently writing the same short story several times with the intention of ...
4
votes
4answers
853 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
279 views

Punctuating dialogue with oneself

I am wondering what the convention is for punctuating dialogue with oneself. In particular, if a character speaks to himself, do the words need to be put in open and closed quotes? Note that the ...