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

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5answers
550 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
288 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
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6answers
244 views

Am I making the writing too complex?

My story is of a fantasy world where the wars of several species have all been fought, lost, and the protagonist is writing his journal from inside a jail cell. The writing he does can't be erased. I ...
2
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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 ...
2
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5answers
191 views

Is it a bad habit to write “something” too much? If so, how to get rid of it?

I just realized my prose is filled with somethings. Here are some examples: I was already too far away to go back, and I figured the dog (if it'd been a real one) had ran back to where it had ...
2
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1answer
5k views

When is it correct to capitalize terms/phrases in a personal statement?

I'm writing a personal statement for graduate admissions, and I've a query regarding the use of capitalization in the midst of sentences. For example, is it correct/expected to capitalize the names of ...
2
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3answers
122 views

Writing “X, Y, and Z” vs “X and Y and Z.”

Example: The forest was so dense I was practically swimming through it. A dark, murky ocean of shrubs, trees, and bamboo shoots. The forest was so dense I was practically swimming through ...
2
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4answers
237 views

How to deal with cliche dialogue?

The following is from a story I'm writing: "Goodbye Choco," my mother said, to end the prayer, “may your soul rest in peace,” and crossed herself. “Sorry I couldn’t come earlier,” I said. ...
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3answers
71 views

How to structure a sentence containing long code examples?

In the context of a technical manual, I need to write instructions guiding users through several standard manipulations. When providing examples of these manipulations, I have written a short sentence ...
2
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3answers
112 views

Proper way to punctuate an abrupt stopping of speech?

I'd like to properly punctuate one of my characters being stopped in speech, followed by a sentence that explains that the character didn't have time to finish. It's going to be something like this, ...
2
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4answers
271 views

How to reference a figure from text in a technical document

I'm preparing technical documentation for some software. For the installation, there are lots of screen grabs and they all have Figure x captions. What's the correct styling and means of referencing ...
2
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3answers
96 views

How to list concepts and tie them in together?

The green pieces of paper folded up in your pocket, the balance in your checking account, your mortgage, and that time you paid for dinner with your friend and she said that the next time is on ...
2
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5answers
180 views

Punctuating Thoughts

Following my question here I am still unsure if it is a 'hard and fast' rule to italicise thoughts. My preference is to use normal quotation marks, so that if a person is thinking in a dialogue ...
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3answers
101 views

How much can I talk about other people's works?

Let's say I'm writing a novel set in the future, clearly on Earth, with all the history that has happened through today. Obviously in the real world, there are numerous works of fiction that are ...
2
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3answers
63 views

How to express myself in a sensible way

I find really hard to express myself I mean it's pretty difficult write clearly what I mean. Any time I try to write something even for my job I am stuck, I look at the page and no words come to my ...
2
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2answers
66 views

Which one is the correct dialogue punctuation format?

I am writing my first novel and this the very first confusion I would like to clarify. As I am not a native English speaker, I find it very hard to understand the punctuation scheme in direct ...
2
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3answers
98 views

When to use normal caps and small caps in fiction?

Sometimes I don't know which one to use. For instance, what kind should I use when referring to the stamping on a t-shirt? Mark wore a t-shirt that said, SAVE WATER, DRINK BEER.
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2answers
87 views

Template for IT technical report?

I'm looking for a template or guidelines for how to write a technical report. The report is IT-related and intended for a project manager to review the work of the investigation of a IT-related ...
2
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3answers
688 views

When should I use italics in scientific writing?

I noticed that proper nouns, such as names of theorems or techniques are often set in italics in scientific writing but not always. Are there rules about it, for example each proper noun should be set ...
2
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1answer
245 views

Using Glossary Instead of Footnotes (for translation/transliteration)

I am writing a technical report with keywords which are mainly English. I am using a Glossary at the end, which describes translated keywords. Is it a replacement for footnotes or I should just keep ...
2
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4answers
884 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 ...
2
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2answers
217 views

Indirect Narration Style

Does the indirect narration style (as in: 'Surely she was going to ask him out tomorrow.') directly fall into the classification of Narration?
2
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2answers
57 views

Capitalization of Open form Compound Words in Titles

What would be considered proper capitalization of open form compound words in titles? Should the second part of the compound word be capitalized? Why? For example, the capitalization for which ...
2
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2answers
100 views

On mastering the art of writing descriptive passages on certain weather conditions

It is, in my opinion, a difficult task to describe certain weather conditions (e.g., an overcast sky, the falling rain, the storm, the rising of the rainbow, the falling of the snow, etc.) ...
2
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1answer
160 views

Do publisher ever automatically reject unread stories

I understand that publishers get a lot of manuscripts to read, so I am wondering, are publishers known to reject a story from an unknown author the moment that realize he is using a so called ...
2
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1answer
176 views

What is the correct casing for a character's title?

I'm currently writing some fiction about a lord and I'm struggling with when I should capitalise his title. There are a number of circumstances. When someone is referring to him or about him using ...
2
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2answers
81 views

Capitalization of personal event names

I am working with a friend on a essay and we have encountered a capitalization question. The book we are analyzing is The Assault by Harry Mulisch. The central event in the book is the attack on his ...
2
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1answer
50 views

Listing names with titles

Normally when listing a group of people you would simply separate each with a comma. Please send the memo to Jason, Sarah, and Courtney. However if you want to include the title of each person ...
2
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2answers
98 views

Is it possible to publish stories with experimental spacing technique? (aka, blank pages, etc.)

I've got a few stories that employ experimental stylistics. The piece that is giving me the most trouble, though, is split up into five sections-- each section begins on its own page. It's hard to ...
2
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2answers
228 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 ...
2
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3answers
672 views

Help me rewrite this sentence [closed]

I would like help re-writing this sentence. I would like the overall tone of the language kept intact, and I would like it to be as concise, eloquent and well written as possible. In the event ...
2
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3answers
87 views

A grand scheme or destiny in literature

There's one thing in literature that no matter how cliche or over used it might be, I always find very compelling. For example, when a story unfolds as if there is a larger force at work moving all of ...
2
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2answers
53 views

How to search for similar works

I'm writing a proposal for a book and have been asked to provide examples of similar books and list how my own work is different from them. Unfortunately I don't know how to approach this question ...
2
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1answer
50 views

Is it a good writing practice to keep related elements as close as possible to each other?

Here's an example: Not finding anything useful, I went to check the maple. Four times my size, it was the biggest tree in the yard. I mean, it was. A typhoon tore it down three years ago, and ...
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2answers
40 views

Should quotation marks for titles of short works be included as part of link text?

In a hypertext document, when the title of a short work (which is enclosed in quotation marks) is a link should the quotation marks be included as part of the link text? Do common style guides ...
2
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2answers
73 views

Citing and Quoting events in Games

How do I cite and quote a happening in a game? I am looking for more detail than just game and version number in the citation. How can I cite events and quote the actions of characters in my analysis ...
2
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3answers
98 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 ...
2
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3answers
246 views

When to start a new paragraph and when to start a new “scene”

This is an extract of a short story I'm writing. Sometimes I get confused about when to start a new paragraph and when to start a new "scene." So I would like to know if I'm doing it properly here ...
2
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1answer
167 views

Style signatures and uncommon formatting patterns

Style signatures are bits of words and phrases used consistently throughout the entirety of a work (but not necessarily among my unrelated works). I would like to try using style signatures in a work ...
2
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1answer
215 views

Does this passage convey an appropriate mix of seriousness and levity?

The following is a standalone passage from a collection meant to deal with topics of psychology, philosophy and self-help. The question is: Is the quirky style helpful in driving home the point, or ...
2
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2answers
62 views

Writing Style Changed [closed]

After the death of my cousin I have stopped writing for quite some time. However the stories ideas would persist in my mind. So I decided to try and write again, but whatever ideas I have. Turn into ...
2
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4answers
104 views

Direct thoughts

The most commonly given advice for using direct thoughts seems to be to format them in italics. I am not really satisfied with that, however. I haven't seen this used anywhere (granted, I do not read ...
2
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1answer
43 views

Is the Microsoft Manual of Style appropriate for writing general IT related instructional documents?

I'm currently working for a company's IT department, and one of my tasks is to write documentation for common procedures that we perform, in order to get new employees acquainted with them more ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

Do the guidelines for clear style that we use today get in the way of rhythm?

It seems that when we choose the plainest and most pointed words to express a thought, our options for rhythms are so limited that they prevent us from using voices that sound majestic. If we look at ...
2
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1answer
110 views

Should I use contractions on a non-fiction work? [duplicate]

It is many things, as we’ll see in Chapter TBD, but at its heart, it is just software. I heard it was bad to use contractions, but it seems a bit wordy to say: as we will see.
2
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1answer
508 views

Resources on Minimalist Style of Creative Writing

I recently found out (see here) that my writing style can be described as minimalist. I am fascinated by this 'revelation' because it has helped me understand why I write the way I do. (I have no ...
2
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1answer
2k views

How to reference data files, APA-style?

I'm preparing an assignment which requires two MS Project files to be submitted, containing WBS/GANTT charts for a fictional project, and a textual explanation of what I did and why, which. (All the ...
2
votes
3answers
85 views

A question about dialogue and paragraphs?

First question I've asked on here so hopefully it isn't a silly one. I am a little confused about a certain paragraph/dialogue convention I am using in something I am writing. Occasionally I have a ...
2
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2answers
69 views

Is it correct to use acronyms in a bio or should I omit it?

In writing a bio in a technical context, like an author blurb in a publication, should I use acronyms or spell them out? Always? Depending on the context? For example: Degrees: BS, MS, PhD, MCC ...
2
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1answer
49 views

“Its vs ”the" when referring to an element belonging to the previous sentence

Example: The cottage looked completely different inside. It had none of the coldness and rigidity of its exterior. Or The cottage looked completely different inside. It had none of the ...