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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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 ...
6
votes
4answers
285 views

Defining a Prologue

I came across prologues of several novels, and I noticed that they all were different from each other. Some had a short excerpt picked somewhere from the novel, a few included some private notes from ...
6
votes
3answers
188 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 tools/...
6
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
330 views

How to display URLs in a textbook?

I am writing a textbook which contains some lists of recommended Web sites. Unlike the question How should be the format for literature references that are websites (URLs)?, these will not be ...
6
votes
4answers
398 views

Where to draw the line between being descriptive and getting on with the story?

I have loved writing since early in high school and it has helped me tremendously, not only in my emotional well being, but also in music. I have started writing on a lot of things, which I wanted to ...
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
398 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
5k views

Help with Impersonal Past Tense

'The Report is to be presented in the “impersonal past tense” e.g. Personal – I worked in the Design Department. Impersonal – The work was carried out in the Design Department.' I'm ...
6
votes
4answers
444 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
631 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
525 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
758 views

How to avoid specifying the gender in English when the original text does not specify it?

I'm translating a short story from Korean into English. One problem I frequently face is the 'antecedent pronoun agreement' when the original text leaves the 'gender' of the subject unspecified (and ...
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
161 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
118 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
2answers
65 views

Starting a sentence with the name of a program or command-line tool: capitalization?

Say you want to talk about a piece of command-line software, like make or bash or the cp command. These commands are all lower-case, and case-sensitive (i.e. won't work on the computer if you ...
6
votes
3answers
146 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
3answers
10k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
651 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
137 views

How to make a dark story not-so-dark (Shining the light in darkness)

I'm writing a war story, and it's dark. However, I find that every scene turns out to be depressing because of it. Readers will be overwhelmed. Are there ways I can induce hope/shine the light in the ...
6
votes
5answers
433 views

Can anyone think of books that contain two separate stories or two very different perspectives on the same story being told together? [closed]

I fear that the question sounds vague and confusing, but I can't conjure up the words I need to say exactly what I mean without going into detail. I thought it would be interesting to have two ...
6
votes
6answers
2k 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
2answers
103 views

How Can You Prolong an Emotional Reaction in the Reader?

I always feel that a book or movie has achieved something great when I have an emotional reaction to it. For a very brief moment, the protagonist's pain, drive, happiness, or shock becomes my own. For ...
6
votes
4answers
4k 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
258 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
1k 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
118 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
155 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
1answer
171 views

Punctuation-Quote or Quote-Punctuation?

I'm writing a document using the Chicago Manual of Syle. I have not access to the full guide, only to what's provided on-line. Now I wondering as to whether, in the main text itself, I should use the ...
6
votes
3answers
947 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
351 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 Bulwer-Lytton ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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
4answers
1k views

Using “show not tell” while characters are planning for something that happens

In a narrative I'm writing, the characters have to plan an escape from a facility. The thing is, they'll be doing the actual escape in the chapter following them planning. I know usually the right way ...
5
votes
6answers
1k 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
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
402 views

Using uncommon abbreviations

Something which I see all the time in (popular) science writing is the use of abbreviations to indicate concepts. For (a made up) example: So when we're dealing with Anachronistic Meta Mechanics (...
5
votes
5answers
191 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
5answers
1k 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
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
303 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
2k 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
138 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
228 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
5answers
4k views

What are the advantages of different date formats in resumes and CVs?

I've seen a somewhat related question, but it doesn't answer my question quite right. Say you're writing an event that happened on a single day, and you need to put it in your resume or CV. So how ...
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 ...
5
votes
4answers
1k 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
277 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
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, ...
5
votes
2answers
209 views

How to write about transgender issues while avoiding cognitive dissonance?

As a writer, it is difficult to help your readers hold two dissonant ideas in their heads. This can occur when the situation you are describing does not match well with the lived experience of your ...