Tagged Questions

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

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8
votes
5answers
830 views

How should dialog be formatted?

Is there any "official" rule that I should keep in mind when formatting character dialog? Line breaks, placement of quotes, mixing dialog with action descriptions etc. For example, I want to build a ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How to make a letter interesting?

I have a question regarding the art of letter writing. I believe in the old-fashioned way of maintaining pen friendships (not necessarily a relationship, but could be) through hand-written letters, ...
1
vote
4answers
399 views

How can I write poems in an attractable manner?

I have written several poems, but only very few won prices. Those poems impressed people very much, so I want you to share your thoughts, what are the key things I have to focus on or I have to keep ...
2
votes
5answers
623 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
0answers
208 views

Is Strunk and White's “The Elements” full of “stupid grammar advice?” [closed]

In a previous question I asked about The Elements, RegDwight posted a comment containing a link to this article by Geoffrey K. Pullum: 50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice. There is also a lengthier ...
4
votes
3answers
201 views

What revisions for this draft would be more readable and/or more humorous?

Notes: My audience knows that adrenaline and epinephrine are synonyms. I'm new! I'm sorry if I abuse the site by posting this! Please critique ruthlessly. I would send by Facebook message to a ...
4
votes
5answers
285 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 ...
2
votes
7answers
949 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
712 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
838 views

What are the tricks to avoid repetition in writing?

After some time of working on my research, I usually have a structured information of my results, which I can best describe in bullets/numbers. Unfortunately, this is not what academia expects. For ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Dashes vs. Commas vs. parentheses?

Occasionally I write sentences containing subparts with extra information. I never know how to block off this information from the rest of the sentence. Three ways I have seen are dashes, commas, and ...
5
votes
4answers
331 views

Rules and resources for scientific writing

The writing style in scientific papers in the natural sciences, e.g. chemistry and biology, seems very different from many other kinds of writing. There are usually severe restrictions on the length ...
5
votes
1answer
113 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?
7
votes
2answers
732 views

How to write great movie review?

What should we write in a movie review?
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 ...
16
votes
4answers
556 views

As a non-native English speaker, Is it better to get translated or get copyedited for long texts?

My English level is average. I can write fluently and my vocabulary is not too limited. With the thought in mind that the end result must be perfect, is it better for me to write my long text (100 ...
8
votes
2answers
241 views

A Polish manual of style.

English language has a number of popular manuals of style. There's Chicago Manual of Style, Elements of Style etc. Do you know any such resource for the Polish language?
12
votes
4answers
434 views

How can I transition from academic writing to fiction writing?

I always receive the same critique when I write fiction. The critique is good for my characters and plot, but I am told that my writing style is stiff, awkward and amateurish. When I wrote academic ...
16
votes
7answers
1k views

What's Essential In A Combat Scene?

I've just been reading a bunch of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books. Although they were the most enjoyable read I'd had in ages I always found myself skimming long segments that described involved ...
13
votes
5answers
557 views

What is flash fiction?

Is it simply defined by its short word count? Or are there other accepted conventions in flash fiction? If it's just the word count, how short is too short? How long is too long?
23
votes
4answers
1k views

How do you avoid purple prose?

I try to watch out for bland, overused adjectives and I keep adverbs to a minimum but -- I hear this phrase a lot and I'm not even sure what it means?
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Techniques for writing internal monologue

I've seen the thoughts of a character written in a few different ways: Example 1: Indirect Ender liked it better, though, when two boys played against each other. Then they had to use each other's ...
12
votes
4answers
33k 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. ...
12
votes
5answers
580 views

How much should I describe things or persons, that are not important for the story?

I discussed a book with a friend, and he disliked that the author described a person who is dying shortly after and has no further effect on the story over a page or more. The same would go for ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Writing 19th century upperclass English dialog

I was recently rereading bits of Pride and Prejudice and the dialog is absolutely brilliant. How can I learn to write dialog that sounds like it is from this general era? For example are there any ...
12
votes
5answers
626 views

When is a prologue useful?

Prologues tend to get a bad rap on the internet, and sometimes for good reason. They're often used by as an excuse to start a novel with an info-dump. However, it seems to me that people often ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

Examples for books that don't use (traditional) chapters? [closed]

I'm a big fan of Terry Pratchett, and he doesn't use chapters (mostly). Are there any other authors who don't or tend to not use chapters?
7
votes
2answers
363 views

How many liberties can one take with syntax and grammar rules when writing poetry?

I've begun to wrote a small fable in verse for my girlfriend, whereas she gets one part of the story for each day before Christmas since the 1st December. She likes it, however she tells me nearly ...
10
votes
3answers
334 views

How can multiple viewpoints be used without breaking the flow of the story?

I'm currently writing a story in first-person that has a connection to a series of external events - things that the main character has no way of knowing but are vital to the progression of the ...
14
votes
6answers
732 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, ...
12
votes
8answers
416 views

How much leeway can be expected from an editor regarding my preference for nonstandard punctuation?

As I hope to present a unique style to the world, as I am not especially tolerant of being told I'm doing things "wrong" when that's a subjective statement related to writing style, and as I've never ...
92
votes
20answers
4k views

The “Rules” of Writing

There are a lot of axioms that get tossed around in creative writing courses, books on writing, and of course, the internet. Often, these little gems are explained to new writers as though they were ...
2
votes
4answers
8k views

Do you use the word “that” too much? [closed]

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?
14
votes
5answers
3k views

What does active voice mean?

I was reading on here about passive voice but didn't really know what active voice was. I read some examples but was hoping for more insight. What does it mean to write with the active voice?
16
votes
8answers
2k views

What makes writing emotional?

Over the years, my English professors seem to have agreed on one thing: that I'm a superb technical writer, but terrible at eliciting emotional response in something like a story or an argumentative ...
16
votes
9answers
1k views

Tips for expanding my vocabulary?

Looking back through my texts, I noticed that I often use a lot of the same words and resort to using quite a basic vocabulary. I was wondering if there are any good exercises or anything else for ...
11
votes
4answers
193 views

What are the usual methods for getting a daily word count?

Do, normally, only words which are eventually to be kept count, or do you also count rewrites? For example, if I rewrite a 50 word paragraph 10 times, is my daily count up to 50 or up to 500?
47
votes
20answers
2k views

How to overcome the fact that I can't write?

My problem is that I basically suck at writing. Especially prose. Part of it is basically because I don't practice as much as I could. Part of it is because I'm just not talented in that way. ...
4
votes
1answer
252 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?
12
votes
4answers
438 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
407 views

How do you vary dialogue within stories?

How do you vary dialogue within stories? I often find myself writing "'sentence/dialogue' said character", and it sometimes gets really repetitive. How is this managed? These are the only words that ...
12
votes
4answers
274 views

How to vary writing style?

I just had to edit a 40 page paper and I'm not kidding, there were paragraphs where every sentence started with "This." How do good writers learn to vary their sentence length and wording to flow? I ...
11
votes
4answers
517 views

When should I avoid the passive voice? When might I use it?

An opinion exists that overusing of the passive voice can make writing harder for reading and understanding. Is it true for all kinds of writing? How to follow this advice without overemphasizing it? ...
12
votes
5answers
554 views

Is discovery or outline writing connected to personality type (e.g. MBTI)

I'm on a bit of a Myers-Briggs spree at the moment (which is dangerous, because it is so easy to read way more into it than you are supposed to). For those of you who are not familiar with it, it is ...
12
votes
6answers
180 views

Writing for an Audio book. What are specifics?

What are specific requirements, a writer should follow, when writing something that is going to be (or just can possibly be) not only read but listened as well?
18
votes
7answers
706 views

Should I avoid modern words/phrases in fantasy writing?

When writing, I tend to want to use words or phrases that have meaning in the real world, but wouldn't necessarily have meaning in the world in which I'm writing. For example, in a fantasy world, a ...
20
votes
2answers
581 views

When should modifiers be avoided?

I've come across this Mark Twain quote: When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them -- then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close ...
6
votes
2answers
452 views

How not to overuse ellipsis?

I always… feel… so… expressive when I see this little nicy dots!.. I just can't stop to put them more… and more… and more… Please teach me how to stop!.. Update: I guess people misunderstood me. I ...
13
votes
7answers
694 views

What helpful writing exercises do you use?

The two I do most are dialog and description related. When I meet a person or I'm just sitting people watching, I try to write their description in my head as if I was describing a character in a ...
12
votes
3answers
322 views

Avoiding Deus Ex Machina resolutions?

Most Crime/Thriller Novels usually have a sudden, unexpected plot twist that puts the main character in a really hopeless situation. One way to resolve this is by using a "Deus Ex Machina", that is a ...