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

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1answer
8k 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
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2answers
94 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 ...
5
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4answers
145 views

Should word choice be varied or consistent?

I've heard from some English teachers that word choice should be varied because consistent word choice is boring, but I've heard from a different English teacher that word choice should be consistent. ...
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4answers
497 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
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1answer
122 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?
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3answers
80 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 the ...
5
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2answers
90 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
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1answer
228 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
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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 ...
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2answers
243 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 ...
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5answers
372 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 ...
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8answers
8k views

How to separate scenes in a chapter?

I have multiple scenes in a chapter, sometimes from different POVs, or different locations/times. Now I would like to make it clear to the reader that they have left a scene and are entering a new one....
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7answers
201 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 ...
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3answers
273 views

Capitalizing generic names

I have a story with several characters. I've decided that I won't give them names, but refer to them as their titles. For example, the grocer. The cleaner. The officer. Currently I capitalize ...
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5answers
482 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 ...
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7answers
189 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 ...
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4answers
100 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 ...
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4answers
2k 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 http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/61477320/...
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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?
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3answers
805 views

First Person Voice - Same as speaking?

When writing in first person, if the POV character talks with a certain dialect or type of diction (eg. "I ain't got all day! Hurry it up, will ya?") should they narrate with the same accent, or can ...
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2answers
237 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
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3answers
280 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?
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3answers
486 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 ...
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3answers
4k views

Describing common hand gestures

While writing stories how do I describe the action of common hand gestures, for instance the "come on" signal. Is there any reference? I found a list of hand gestures in wikipedia but obviously it's ...
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5answers
890 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
157 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. ...
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4answers
988 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 ...
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1answer
2k views

How to Cite an Author Who Has a Pen Name

If both the author's name and the pen name are known, should one cite by one name or both names? If one, which?
4
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1answer
1k views

Bullets vs. Numbering: which to use when?

A writer can either choose to use bullets or else stick to conventional (or in certain cases non-conventional) numbering. Are there set guidelines about when to use what? Is the use of numbering ...
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6answers
165 views

Is extraneous language appropriate in academic writing?

I teach a course in academic writing. My students, who do not have much writing experience, add many phrases, as in What are these extra phrases added to the beginning of sentences called?, to the ...
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4answers
478 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 ...
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4answers
2k 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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3answers
156 views

What's the appropriate way to write numbers in educational contexts like papers?

I want to know if numbers should be written alphabetically in educational contexts, for instance: 10 plasma samples out of 1016 cannot be ignored. Or Ten plasma samples out of one thousand ...
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3answers
629 views

A friendlier way to write charges or fees to clients?

What is a better way to write in an email to tell my client that I will charge him a fee of say $100? Often, I feel very reluctant to write these ways: I will quote the hosting and development ...
4
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4answers
6k views

Writing a Lullaby

I need to write a short folk lullaby as part of my story, but am having trouble getting the feel of it in my lyrics. What are the general conventions of writing a lullaby? Any general principles ...
4
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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 ...
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3answers
131 views

Should I write out numbers or use the actual numbers (ordinals)?

Born late in the year, Adam was the only kid in his small 4th grade class that had already turned 11. Every morning he got up at exactly 4:56, the latest he could rouse in the morning with ...
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3answers
65 views

Using Pronoun 'It' repetitvely for emphasis?

I'd like to know if using "It" repetitvely (for emphasis) in this context is okay grammtically. TV has become the modern day baby sitter. It is raising our children. It is dictating the cultural ...
4
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3answers
142 views

Commas at the beginning of a sentence: should I follow convention or intuition?

An example from my own writing (Mother and daughter are burying their deceased dog): As planned that Friday, Mom and I underwent Choco’s burial at my home in __ (yes, she kept him in a garbage ...
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3answers
108 views

Floating vs Float

I was writing a short story piece where one person drops something in the water. I got puzzled by the following two choices. Google books seem to be using both of them. Jena and Mike went outside ...
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2answers
184 views

How should I approach possibly unfamiliar pop culture in fiction?

So sometimes I get an idea that forms specifically around some aspect of pop culture. They're often song lyrics. If the reader knows the song, they appreciate the symbolism and allegory or whatever ...
4
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2answers
154 views

In fiction, is the use of old-fashioned verbage or voice (ex. Tolkien, Le Guin) advisable?

If my genre lies somewhere in the fantasy-fiction spectrum, is the use of a more "dated" narrative style/vocabulary going to narrow my audience to a harmful extent? I've always been drawn to the ...
4
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1answer
639 views

Is my writing 'disjointed', and if so how can I fix it?

First page of my fantasy novel. I'm told my writing is disjointed and jerky, but have no idea in what way! And it's driving me crazy that I don't know where the holes in my boat are so I can't really ...
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3answers
83 views

Is it acceptable to mix how you address the reader in an instructional Wiki?

I'm working on a Wiki article that explains to new developers how our product life-cycle works. Originally, my goal was to completely avoid the word "you" and use a more general description like "the ...
4
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1answer
1k views

Referencing a website using Harvard style

How can I reference a website using the Harvard style? How would this be different if no author was listed?
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2answers
149 views

Writing a Platonic Relationship

I'm writing a story, however I just can't seem to form a platonic relationship between my characters. Whenever I am writing my characters (Eric and Abigail), it feels they should just kiss and make ...
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6answers
229 views

On the role of “accidents” in “realistic” stories

Accidents are a part of our real life. It is possible to see an old friend accidentally. It is possible to find a fallen comet accidentally. It is possible to kill someone by an accident, etc. Many ...
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2answers
98 views

What are some ways to denote presentation style outside of written text.

I would like my document as I am writing it to be independent of software layouts as I think it would be a better decision to make at the end of the process. What would be good ways to denote ...
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3answers
650 views

How to achieve a dark and nostalgic feeling/setting in a novel?

I don't want to scare the reader, but I would like to produce a dark and nostalgic feeling. Pretty much the feeling that gives you this video (both image and music). The setting of my novel is a ...