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

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2
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6answers
305 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
4answers
195 views

Why end sentences with commas instead of periods when the sentence is in a quote?

I've seen styles where writers end sentences with commas if it is inside double quotes and styles where writers end sentences with periods. For example: "She's late again." mumbled Jason. ...
2
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6answers
289 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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5answers
241 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
7k 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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4answers
8k views

How do I sign a (formal) email?

My email client includes a signature beneath the text of my writing. Currently it is of the form: ------------ John Doe Acme Widget Company 123 Elm Street Metropolis, USA phone:222-555-1212 email:...
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
176 views

How can I stress a certain word in a medium that doesn't allow for font embellishments?

Many of us probably encountered it before on a social media like Facebook or Twitter, or in the comments section of a major website. You've decided what you want to say, but you want to stress a ...
2
votes
6answers
268 views

What makes a bestseller - Writing or Setting?

Note: I define 'setting' as where and when a novel takes place, as well as what the genre entails. It is the background to the picture of the story. I realize there are a lot of factors that ...
2
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3answers
123 views

How to find the balance between research and the obvious

I'm embarking on writing my first popular science book on a controversial subject. For sure the writing must be rational, coherent with a clear train of thought and littered with references to be ...
2
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3answers
119 views

Which citation style do I use if I'm writing a religious book?

Should a self published book on a biblical topic, use MLA or Chicago citation styles? It'll be a persuasive writing on a biblical subject. I want to persuade the reader to my point of view but I know ...
2
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3answers
139 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
323 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. “...
2
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5answers
281 views

Writing an article avoiding Libel

I will be creating a blog article that talks about Illuminati in our local country. I will be talking about the "organization's" role in making specific artists popular (for a duration) and in return ...
2
votes
2answers
165 views

How to convey (screaming) hysterics in dialogue

It happens to most if not all of us. Something extremely emotional happens to us and we're just hysterical. Logic doesn't work. You contemplate punching a wall because that will help . . . somehow. ...
2
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3answers
165 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
votes
3answers
211 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
votes
3answers
102 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 her. ...
2
votes
5answers
222 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 ...
2
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3answers
105 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
102 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
votes
3answers
327 views

Are essays supposed to be formal?

After reading a prompt to one of essays, and then looking at this link, I realized how little I know about the actual meaning of an essay. Here is how my definition of "essay" has become muddied over ...
2
votes
2answers
113 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 speeches....
2
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3answers
223 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.
2
votes
2answers
141 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 issue....
2
votes
1answer
80 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
261 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
votes
4answers
1k 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
219 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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3answers
85 views

Writers style, voice

People often say writers have a 'style' or 'voice'. Does that mean your able to work out what your style of writing is? If so, how would you work that out.
2
votes
1answer
83 views

How much repetition of a word or phrase is too much?

I like to experiment with rhetorical devices to add spice in my writing. Repetition can be used for emphasis, establishing rhythm, etc. For example: Over and over again, my mind jumps between ...
2
votes
2answers
24 views

If a heading is in roman numerals, is an in-text cross reference also in roman, or arabic, or spelled out

Where in the Chicago Manual of Style is the answer to my subject question? I looked in the CMOS, but could not find the answer to my question. The book is nonfiction, self help divided into parts ...
2
votes
2answers
82 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
votes
2answers
130 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.) effectively....
2
votes
1answer
166 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
votes
1answer
184 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
votes
2answers
113 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
votes
1answer
61 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
votes
2answers
103 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
votes
2answers
331 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
votes
3answers
727 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
votes
3answers
105 views

Memoir styled fantasy fiction

I am thinking about writing a fantasy fiction (casually, mostly for my own entertainment), would the style of a memoir be suitable? More specifically, the writing would be the personal account of a ...
2
votes
2answers
77 views

Scenes with different languages spoken after translation

So... imagine you have a story in your native language written down, with protagonists that speak this language and no problem at all, except a bunch of scenes where your protagonist meets someone who ...
2
votes
3answers
85 views

Efficiency or correctness in communication?

The language industry has a long tradition in the pursuit of correctness, based on manually drafted rules. However, the end goal has always been communicative efficiency, which is something that can ...
2
votes
2answers
120 views

When not to use commas before dialogue (and capitals)

I'm struggling with when to omit the comma before dialogue (as well as when to use capitals) in fiction writing. My understanding is that you would omit the comma before/after something like "he says" ...
2
votes
3answers
470 views

How to format multiple inner voices, differentiating the text from dialogue? and omnipresent inner voice

For the occasional use of inner voice, Italics are usually recommended. However I have a protagonist who is speaking with himself all the time, and Italics use quickly becomes tiring and distracting....
2
votes
3answers
120 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
votes
2answers
92 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
votes
1answer
55 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 ...
2
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2answers
45 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 ...