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

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4
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1answer
136 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
430 views

Is there a style / terminology guide for Android OS application documentation?

This relates to my earlier question: My first professional writing job: any advice? I will be involved with writing documentation for an Android OS business application. Is there an Android style ...
4
votes
1answer
238 views

Pros and cons of using perspectives?

What are the pros and cons of using first person/second person/third person perspective in your story?
4
votes
1answer
141 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
204 views

What tense to use in an academic paper when speaking about correspondence?

What is the correct tense to use in an academic paper when speaking about correspondence? Say one of my source materials is a letter written by someone named William, in which he says he went to the ...
3
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
243 views

Creative writing use and abuse

I am wondering what is the limit, if any, of justifying one's writing style as being creative. I have often seen the use of a single word or phrase as a 'sentence' for creating impact. Example: "It ...
3
votes
3answers
541 views

How to write English in Merlin (TV Series) style?

I find the writing style of the show Merlin to be very good, and much better than current/modern English usage. Details about the show can be found at IMDB's Merlin page, and Wikipedia's entry about ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

Do you use the word “that” too much?

I find myself using the word "that" too much. How do you really know when you need that "that" word there? Like just now. I don't think I need "that" there. Do you have words you overuse?
3
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3answers
555 views

Is it okay to quote a saying, even if i don't know who said it?

If it is okay to quote then how should i quote it. For example, "Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions." - Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959) Now if i don't ...
3
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3answers
125 views

Formatting blog posts like the pros

I am new to writing. I have seen Jeff Atwood's blog and I am really impressed how he writes. I have seen a similar manner on wordpress docs too. I am still confused with some issues while writing. ...
3
votes
3answers
470 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
688 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
256 views

Which English grammar should be followed when writing for a global audience?

In relation to my question on Usage of 'z' in the word serialized in English?, it seems I was mistaken in assuming there is a generally accepted correct variant of English. The question Which variant ...
3
votes
2answers
170 views

Should a piece of fiction be made of 100% concise writing?

I recently finished reading William Strunk's Elements of Style. The book mostly teaches how to write concise paragraphs (e.g. by removing, changing, and rearranging words). So I decided to apply that ...
3
votes
4answers
99 views

Quotes or no, for Hiccup

I have a character unleash a monster hiccup in a scene. I'd like advice regarding whether or not it should be in quotes. Here's the scene, in summary "Hiccup!" Jane tried not to look embarrassed. ...
3
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6answers
204 views

Please help me improve this sentence…

In a first-person narrative, I’d like to use the following sentence: It took me nearly a decade to write this script, and now I’d pitch it to the top producer in Hollywood. I’m not following ...
3
votes
5answers
159 views

Which version of these three lines is more likely to attract the interest of the reader ? (character's viewpoint vs omnicient narrator)

The first one is a suggestion I got from my previous question. The second one is a version based on the character's viewpoint. Which version is more likely to attract the interest of the reader (and ...
3
votes
1answer
143 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 ...
3
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2answers
378 views

Changing narrators

Is it ever a good idea to change narrators in a short story? In one of my short stories, the narration starts in third person 'eye of god' mode. Then it moves to each character - there are only two ...
3
votes
3answers
62 views

“The company from Redmond” vs “The Redmond company.”

I'm writing an article about Microsoft for my tech' analysis website and I got into a stylistic roadblock. Which of the following sentences should I use? As I said before, the company from ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Is it okay to attempt to write in the style of another person, and how is that done well?

I want to write like Neal Stephenson- I read Snow Crash and absolutely fell in love with the style. I'm trying to write a cyberpunk style book myself, and I have a good plot (I think), but I want to ...
3
votes
3answers
306 views

How to discover clichés

What is the best way to find out if a certain phrase is considered a cliché? Is there an online resource, a specialized dictionary-like lookup? EDIT I found these so far: Cliché Finder Movie ...
3
votes
2answers
145 views

All persons fictitious - where to place it?

I've got an all persons fictitious disclaimer similar to the one mentioned at All persons fictitious disclaimer — ideas regarding modification? but where should I place it? Bear in mind, this is a ...
3
votes
1answer
443 views

Writing an artist statement , not a thesis

Question Hello, I need guidance writing an artist statement for a gallery. Specifically, what's good practice, and what should be avoided? Thanks, Thoughts I'm a visual artist appearing in a gallery ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

Personal Page - review request

I have created my personal about page, based on "The Personal Page" template. As a non-native English speaker I worry, that my attempt at telegraphic style is riddled with questionable use of ...
3
votes
2answers
425 views

How do you write a character's internal monologue?

I've seen two main methods of writing a character's inner monologue One is to use italics Dean is being silly thought Sam Another is to quote the text "Dean is being silly" thought Sam Or you could ...
3
votes
3answers
101 views

Units to use in travelogue-book (time, weight, temperature, distance, etc)

I'm writing a book (travelogue) about Japan in English, detailing my walk across the country a few years ago. My target audience is English speaking countries, and I'm trying to write in American ...
3
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3answers
136 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
113 views

Are there good writing exercises for compressing expression?

I recently sat down and wrote a poem after a long hiatus. It was a narrative poem with a formal rhyme scheme. I'm pretty dissatisfied with my initial draft, as it was far too wordy. Besides editing ...
3
votes
3answers
88 views

What's the best way to distinguish between co-authors?

I know a couple of people who are co-authoring a book, and they have been debating how to go about distinguishing between the two of them in their content. They have an outline of topics that they are ...
3
votes
1answer
302 views

How Important are essay writing conventions in the university level and above?

I go to a CEGEP, which is basically pre-university in Montreal. In my Introduction to English class, I had a teacher who allowed us to go around the typical essay writing conventions. Conventions like ...
3
votes
1answer
308 views

What is the style used in ISO/IEC publications?

I'm in the process of preparing a document to be sent to ISO/IEC WG14. What is the official style used in ISO/IEC publications (if there is one)? If there is no official style guide, is there a ...
3
votes
1answer
69 views

Overuse of 'I' in a memoir

Is it acceptable to use I multiple times over and over when writing dialogue and quotes for memoirs. I have been told that if you are using quotes in dialogue that nothing is wrong. I am reading a ...
3
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1answer
58 views

Perspective and Balance with Multiple Characters

I am working on a piece of fiction and am having some difficulty locking down which perspective/s to utilize. The main issue at hand is that I have 4 characters that will play "lead" roles and ...
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Publisher field in Book Review when the book is obtained for free from the internet

I'm writing a book review as part of my English Holiday Homework. The book (or rather, prolegomenon) that I'm reviewing is Battle of the Books by Jonathan Swift. Due to obvious reasons for my ...
3
votes
1answer
346 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
197 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
130 views

Using ACM style, how do I cite an article without a specific author's name?

I'm using Mendeley, and trying to cite this article using ACM citation style: Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus American Diabetes Association Should the author be "N/A" or ...
3
votes
2answers
213 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
179 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
127 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
888 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
2answers
206 views

How do I express opinion informed by my beliefs without being hamfisted? [closed]

As authors, our influences can come from many places. Religion is definitely one of many influences on people's work. I believe a work should be a reflection of its author, yet religion can be really ...
2
votes
6answers
440 views

How should I phrase “requests” to a higher-ranked individual in another department?

At work, I lead a small team of programmers. I often have to request equipment and services from our I.T. department, and all of those requests have to go directly to the C.I.O., which is an ...
2
votes
5answers
598 views

What does “Exposition and Ammunition – back story” mean in screenwriting?

I am just starting my first screen writing class and I got an assignment that says: Exposition and Ammunition – back story. I have been searching online but I don't get it. Can someone explain it for ...
2
votes
7answers
831 views

Verb tense for technical document titles

I'm writing a technical manual about creating database systems, and wondered what is the best verb tense for title names. My ideas are: Continuous (-ing) form: (e.g. "Creating a Cluster", "Creating ...
2
votes
5answers
377 views

Techniques for creating variety in prose

When I write my short stories, I usually end up using a direct style as follows: Tim remembered the day he had to say goodbye to Cathy. He did not really have a choice. He had to let go of Cathy, ...
2
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6answers
259 views

How do I keep up with current written English language?

I am a speaker of English as a foreign language. I appreciate that English is a living language and that different regions in the world use English differently. I wanted to know how I can keep up with ...
2
votes
3answers
59 views

Spelling style in academic papers

When an article is submitted to a conference or journal, is it better to use British or American spelling? Does it have to be according to the conference or journal's style (based on where it is being ...