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

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2answers
125 views

Writing style — comma, period and re-referring the object of the first sentence again as subject in second sentence [closed]

Alex look around the room, it's almost empty except few small empty boxes and few clothes. Alex look around the room. It's almost empty except few small empty boxes and few clothes. Alex ...
1
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1answer
312 views

Chopped sentences with too many conjunction, and repeating the subject again and again

I have tendency to write chopped sentences with too many conjunctions, repeating the subject again and again. I don't want that but I'm not skilled in English. For example how do write the following ...
2
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4answers
643 views

Which tense should I use when writing a post about a journey?

What tense could I use when I write about a journey? Suppose if I write about a train journey and describe the countryside, would using a present tense create a deeper impact to the reader? I could ...
1
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3answers
154 views

The value of labeling book sections

My wife is beginning a novel, and she's written four chapters in under six pages. I suggested that she consider using page breaks or lowercase Roman numeraled sections instead of chapters because a ...
8
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2answers
429 views

Overuse of bullet points

I collaborate with someone who insists on making every sentence (or two) in a business document into a bullet point, by prefacing it with a bullet. This is typically done across a multi-page ...
1
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1answer
73 views

Multiple tasks and a step by step tutorial

To my knowledge step-by-step tutorials should have the form of a ladder, where you describe how to get to a place step by step– accomplishing a single task at the end. Is it possible to accomplish ...
1
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1answer
90 views

Does this excerpt strike a balance between the formality of steampunk and accessible writing?

I'm having a bit of trouble, since I'm writing in a semi-new genre. I ordinarily write fantasy with a modern-day setting, but my latest experiment is steampunk set in not-exactly-Earth, so it has a ...
2
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3answers
92 views

Improving techniques independently: Description

How can I improve my technique in description? Which things I should avoid in description? How can I know, that I put "enough" description and will go to narration? My description technique is bad ...
0
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1answer
96 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
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3answers
149 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
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4answers
716 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
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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
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2answers
164 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
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1answer
109 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
389 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
770 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
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1answer
164 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
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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
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2answers
242 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
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2answers
207 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
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1answer
71 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
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6answers
716 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
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1answer
622 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
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1answer
404 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
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1answer
569 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 ...
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5answers
278 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
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4answers
432 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 ...
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1answer
127 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
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1answer
141 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
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9answers
483 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
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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
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3answers
568 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
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2answers
161 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
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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
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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 ...
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4answers
233 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
282 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
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5answers
797 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
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1answer
97 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
150 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
169 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
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2answers
259 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
556 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
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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 ...
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1answer
269 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
853 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
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8answers
990 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
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6answers
810 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 ...