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

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11
votes
4answers
30k views

Citation in AP style journalism

I'm writing feature articles and trying to adhere to AP style, but I'm not sure how to attribute a source. I'm familiar with academic citation (APA, MLA), but have never done this in journalism. ...
0
votes
1answer
95 views

A more effective way of writing this dialogue:

I'm translating a story, and there is scene in it where an ex-colleague asks the man who had slapped the female protagonist the reason for his doing so. In reply, all he says is something like, “What ...
0
votes
3answers
144 views

Words in author's native language?

Why in some essays or articles there are words in author's native language? (In other words, the essay is in English and there are some Spanish word spread out in whole essay) Does it necessarily ...
4
votes
4answers
678 views

Is it acceptable practice to use contractions in a fictional first person narrative for children?

I am writing a children's story in first person, present tense. Aside from the quotes from characters, all of the text is meant to represent the narrator's own thoughts, and either describes what they ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Using dashes in writing dialogue

Does anyone use em dashes (or two hyphens) to denote speakers in dialogue passages? Joyce does this as does William Gaddis. Many others. I practice it, but my only "conceptual understanding" is that ...
2
votes
2answers
163 views

Am i using “he/she” too often during action scenes?

I'm not sure if I am being too overly critical of what I write or if I am actually falling into that "He/She" echo. By that I mean, using "he" or "she" over and over during the action, or combat in ...
0
votes
1answer
107 views

Should I punctuate abbreviations for Old English, Middle English etc. in academic writing?

When using an abbreviation such as OFr (Old French) or ME (Middle English) in academic writing, what is the best way to stylise it? Masses of punctuation looks messy, but I am concerned my assignment ...
7
votes
5answers
388 views

Avoiding cultural differences

I'm not a native English speaker, but I write in English. I'm now visiting the US, and I have made some very interesting observation regarding the way ordinary life goes on here. It made me think of ...
5
votes
1answer
669 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
4
votes
1answer
159 views

singular or plural for index entries

I am in the final stages of writing a book and currently I am preparing the index. Are there any rules whether index entries should be listed in singular or plural? Currently I have Markov chains, ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Do you have to be good at grammar to get published?

I am not very good at grammar. Is there someone who would go through and correct your grammatical mistakes, even if you are not good at grammar? Who would this person be?
3
votes
2answers
239 views

How to cite multiple chapters from same book in Vancouver style?

How can I cite multiple chapters from the same book? Do I have to use separate reference numbers, if they are by different authors?
3
votes
2answers
204 views

Standardizing capitalization within a bibliography or footnotes when your sources have used different standards

I’m compiling a bibliography and want to know if I should standardize the capitalization within the titles of the articles. I understand that copying mistakes/typos, etc., is one thing, and usually ...
0
votes
1answer
70 views

Critique of this short text about inequality and contempt

I understand it is possible to ask for critiques here and ask that you guide me to adapt this question if needed. Now, I feel the need every now and then to get a thought down on paper. However, I am ...
14
votes
6answers
708 views

What are some ingredients of really engaging non-fiction?

Some of the best non-fiction writers, in terms of sales at least, seem to be able to write in a really engaging and easy to read style that makes their work hard to put down. For example, ...
0
votes
1answer
577 views

Should paragraphs split over pages in thesis?

I am writing a technical thesis with quite a few figures, tables and equations. These items break up the "flow" of the document. To mitigate this some journals suggest placing such items at the top or ...
3
votes
1answer
399 views

How do I change a novel from first person to limited third person?

For various reasons (increased clarity, and an interested agent), I'm rewriting what was once two first-person POVs into a third person limited POV. Other answers have previously established the ...
5
votes
1answer
533 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
259 views

Are there rules for, or guidelines on, time gaps between a plot's scenes/chapters?

I've been reading a host of old favourites, classics and authors outside of my usual reading pool, in an effort to dissect the writing (from plot, characters and environment to voice, pacing and ...
12
votes
4answers
428 views

How do you map out your storyline?

There are various ways for mapping out the storyline that you will use for a story. One of them is to create a bullet-point outline, which would theoretically be useful because of the hierarchy system ...
-1
votes
1answer
125 views

What language style should I use for a tech blog?

I am getting ready to launch a tech/personal opinion blog slightly more geared towards technical details. What documentation style is best for a journalistic/technical doc style? Thanks.
4
votes
1answer
140 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 ...
11
votes
9answers
478 views

Initial Writing Medium

I am curious which is better for a beginning writer (or writer) starting a new story. Pen and paper or the computer? Pen & Paper is a lot more sketchy (like the layout of this site) which gives ...
6
votes
4answers
4k 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, ...
4
votes
3answers
540 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
157 views

Possible interactions of punctuation marks with the word “however” in a novel

When using the word however in my story, I feel like using a semicolon before it disrupts the flow of words in the readers head too much. So, is the usage of a comma or semicolon necessary in front ...
9
votes
9answers
1k views

How to write realistic female dialogue

I just can't make my dialogue sound like it's being said by a woman. As a friend of mine pointed out, "This woman talks just like you, Jack." I tried imitating the speech patterns of various females ...
4
votes
2answers
86 views

Knowing When To Cite?

In my essay (specifically a recount essay of a moment in the past), my objective is to end with the discussion of Death as a being (because my recounted moment will be related to death). I'd like to ...
-1
votes
4answers
232 views

Please help me re-word this sentence [closed]

I'm having a hard time formulating a sentence with the following meaning Please note that not all eBooks support all the different platforms and devices. I think the sentence conveys the idea ...
4
votes
5answers
275 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
786 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
95 views

Looking for some tips on how to improve writing [closed]

I have just completed my first draft of a novel. Now the story is completed it's time to capture the style so the reader can engage in the story. I want to make sure the story style is easy enough for ...
3
votes
1answer
138 views

Differences in personal statements between American and UK universities?

A friend has asked me to review a personal statement she's written for acceptance into a UK university. I have experience in assisting others with their writing, but as an American I want to ensure ...
0
votes
1answer
167 views

Is it good style in fiction to write sentences as a flow of (disjointed) thoughts? [closed]

I was wondering whether it is okay to write like this or not: I never went for the grooves. But I did take a seat near the bar table and checked out the pretty ladies. Drinking was not my cup of ...
6
votes
2answers
253 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 ...
11
votes
9answers
1k views

Where to find some good examples of combat or action scenes?

I always learn a lot about about writing by reading other works and following their examples. Right now I'm very bad at writing action scenes; the best I can do is write around them, describing the ...
11
votes
2answers
538 views

Striking the balance between dialogue and narrative

I am participating in National Novel Writing Month this year. I have never in my life written so much of a single story. Although I am supposed to tell my inner editor to shut up this month, she is ...
2
votes
2answers
91 views

Stick to in-text citation or use a mixture of both parenthetical and in-text?

I'm currently writing an academic paper for a school assignment, specifically a short Position Paper with 500 word limit. I have chosen to use APA for my citations. I am wondering if that it is ...
-2
votes
1answer
253 views

Does stilted english means that the writer is dumb in using the langauge? [closed]

Does stilted english means that the writer is dumb in using the langauge? Or can it be said to be their style? Some said that it can easily be pointed out if someone is not a native English speaker. ...
0
votes
1answer
806 views

Problems with past tenses in formal paper on a novel with MLA Format

I have been writing high school English paper on a novel in MLA format. Is there any rule about using past participle or past imperfect? Throughout the essay there have been many places that can be ...
17
votes
8answers
961 views

Is it frustrating not to know the narrator's gender?

I have written a 1st person piece and reading it I realize it's very difficult to tell if the narrator is male or female. There are one or two clues, and they come pretty late in the piece. Would ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How to write time duration correctly

Within a user manual, I need to convey the maximum time period allowed as "365 days 23 hours 59 minutes 59 seconds" - are commas expected between each component? Is the word "and" expected before the ...
3
votes
6answers
781 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
406 views

Is there some guideline that I can point to about the overuse of bold and underline?

I am getting really tired of getting emails and PowerPoint presentations in which half of the words are bold and underlined. There is also excessive use of exclamation points, all caps, and overly ...
0
votes
2answers
123 views

Am I correctly referencing chapters which belong to the same book?

Looking for some help on how to reference chapters in a book inside of a booking I'm helping with. Should I be capitalizing Chapters 3 and 4 and would referring to chapters simply by capitalized ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Are contractions antithetical to academic writing?

This question is very specific to academic writing: I used the contraction "don't" instead of "do not" in some of the papers. Some of the reviewers mentioned that "don't" is not a formal style of ...
9
votes
5answers
460 views

How can I learn how to outline, so I can write like an architect?

I've just watched one part of Brandon Sanderson's lecture on writing, the section entitled Gardeners & Architects and I realised I'm a Gardener, almost exclusively. This often ends up with me ...
1
vote
5answers
388 views

Is the following piece of text comprehensible and written in good style?

I am a PhD candidate and I am having difficulty in communicating effectively in writing. Specifically, this post is a piece of text submitted for critique and, in addition, explains what I am trying ...
3
votes
1answer
218 views

Book cover conventions

I'm looking for an authoritative convention for attributing a book to both an author and editor. It is necessary in this instance to have the editor's name on the cover as well as the author's. None ...
-2
votes
1answer
259 views

Is it good idea to create a Sarcastic tone for provocative thoughts [closed]

For writing a editorial note covering some misjudgement facts (basically criticism of new policies based on failed results), I am writing in a sarcastic tone to get the message clear and effective as ...