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

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Advice on writing a research paper

I am a math major who hasn't written a research paper in 6 years, and I need some help. I have to write two thesis statements, and have both written, but I'm not sure they're right. I also must state ...
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3answers
24 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 ...
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0answers
24 views

How is this prose in terms of style? [on hold]

There is no best form of government. No system of government or form of constitution can prevent corruption and nepotism. There will always be loopholes and grey areas from which corruption ...
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1answer
16 views

Customising book titles in references/sources

Some book use lower case titles while others use upper and lower case. Should I stick to authors choice or customise upper and lower case (as per correct usage of caps in titles). When re checking ...
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2answers
57 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 ...
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1answer
9 views

Lists of description appropriate for formal writing?

In a formal piece, is it appropriate to write a list, especially one of descriptions? It's the easiest way to get information across sometimes, especially on a tight word limit. For example, if I had ...
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1answer
25 views

How to approach an “Imagine and Describe” creative essay prompt?

I have this prompt for a creative essay as part of my application into a summer program: Participants in the Summer Programs for High School Students come from approximately 75 different countries ...
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2answers
680 views

Is there some guideline that I can point to about the overuse of bold and underline?

I am getting really tired of getting emails and PowerPoint presentations in which half of the words are bold and underlined. There is also excessive use of exclamation points, all caps, and overly ...
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4answers
15k views

Must every piece of speech get its own paragraph?

I've had a few people read pieces of narrative writing I've done, and they seem to take issue with the fact that I sometimes put a piece of speech inline with the rest of a non-dialogue paragraph, ...
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20answers
3k 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. ...
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4answers
89 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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8answers
5k views

“All of a sudden…” ?

I am writing a manuscript for a novel. It's my first attempt, and often I find myself wanting to write "suddenly" or "all of a sudden". I do this when I want the scene to change in an instant, or ...
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2answers
59 views

Degree of symmetry in lists

For example, is the flow disrupted or does it sound weird if only one of the items has an adjective? My understanding of zoology was poor, but I knew animals would do everything to survive; ...
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4answers
213 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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6answers
191 views

Are there words that are “stronger” than others? If so, why?

By strong I mean causing intense feelings in the reader. I thought about this while I was editing my novel (I consider the second cases to be stronger words): I turned to the left I twisted ...
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2answers
78 views

Can a male writer write from a female perspective? [duplicate]

The question is pretty straightforward. Can a male writer write a first person story of a female protagonist? What limitations might he face in writing about the other gender? Should he just stick to ...
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5answers
82 views

Is there an objective way to determine that writing is “stilted and cluttered”? [closed]

For question, see title. For example of supposedly "stilted and cluttered" writing, see below. The Constitutional prohibition against political dynasties cannot be made clearer, but no ...
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5answers
301 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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4answers
324 views

“Empty-space” vs “three-dot” scene break

What's the difference between the two? I've seen both in the same book. For example in the Bone Clocks by David Mitchell: Space breaks: He’s clever, I realize. First he makes you grateful. Right. ...
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6answers
21k views

What are the differences between narrative and descriptive writing?

What are the differences between narrative and descriptive writing? While writing either what should we keep in mind?
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1answer
21 views

Good style guide on order to list people for non-fiction writing?

I'm looking for a style guide that indicates the proper order to list people in a sentence (given age, rank, etc). In particular, I'm sort of curious as to whether this was really appropriate Gary ...
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4answers
80 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 ...
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3answers
68 views

Is breaking the fourth wall to the point of nonexistence appropriate for a comedy book?

After considering the style and setting for my first book, I've decided on writing a comedy treasure hunt set in a not too distant alternate future. I still have some final things to figure out before ...
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3answers
51 views

Is using “gonna” in first-person narrative acceptable?

From what i understand, an author is supposed to conform to proper grammatical convention both when writing in third-person and first-person narrative. Is a sentence like this considered "acceptable" ...
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4answers
46 views

Dot after figure title?

Whether there should be a dot after a figure title (in a scientific book)? Note that I have figures numbered like "Figure 1. ..."
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2answers
50 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 ...
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2answers
48 views

What's the initial small caps rule of this book?

I want to use the same initial small cap rule of The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. But I still can't figure it out. Some examples: TALKING HEADS’ Fear of Music is on my record player, so I lower ...
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2answers
54 views

Use of the Chicago Manual of Style by UK-English writers

I am Australian and have just finished writing a novel. The publisher I will be using is in the USA and uses the Chicago Manual of Style. Because I use UK English, I would prefer to leave my ...
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1answer
6k views

What are widely-used UK-English style guides?

In the UK, what are the equivalents to Chicago Manual of Style, the Associated Press style guide, Yahoo, APA, MLA, etc? Most importantly, what are their intended audiences? (AP is used for ...
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8answers
20k views

Should I indent the first line of the first paragraph in a chapter?

I was reading a thesis report of a friend and I noticed that he didn't indent the first line of the first paragraph in each chapter. I don't remember noticing it anywhere before until I saw it there ...
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3answers
131 views

Why do writers sometimes use so much description?

Why do many writers use a lot of description when presenting a character or a scene? Is this a writing tradition? Many characters in a book have been described in minute detail , in some ways ...
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1answer
68 views

Adding the word “that” to maintain symmetry in sentences

Example from my own writing: He wouldn't have guessed (that) there would be someone with diarrhea in the toilet. Or that the ferry's rail would be half his size. Or that the night would become ...
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3answers
81 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 ...
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3answers
71 views

The extent of obscure references

How far is too far? If I am aiming for considerable accessibility, and, in my story, I mention Salvador Dali whose name is tier-2, not on the level of Picasso or Van Gogh, should I expect the ...
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2answers
92 views

Should I write “also known as” in full or as an acronym (aka)?

Example: It was located in the East Coast National Scenic Area, also known as China's Last Unspoiled Land. Is that how it should be written? Should I put it in quotes? Lowercase?
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3answers
147 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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5answers
86 views

Why are the paragraphs of an document often indented and not vertically separated?

A quick side by side comparison of two writing styles: Left: no indent and with white space; right: indented, but no white space Recently, I'm seeing more and more academic-like documents which are ...
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7answers
4k 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 ...
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4answers
57 views

How to decide the position of short phrases?

Example: As agreed, we met at Shangai Train Station the next morning. Even though it was just seven, the place was terribly crowded; people were running and lining, jostling and shoving. A ...
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1answer
55 views

Should I ever repeat the affiliation of a person?

I have not been able to find an existing question similar to mine, but apologies if I've missed one. I write an academic dissertation where I mention a lot of people. The first time someone is ...
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2answers
58 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 ...
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2answers
105 views

Does this sentence excessively break the fourth wall?

I am currently writing a scene for my novel. In this scene I will be revealing the primary villain for the entire first book. The villain, named Annihilus, has the power over the domain of life; he ...
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2answers
49 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 ...
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3answers
64 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 ...
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1answer
32 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 ...
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1answer
119 views

Which narration style gives more authority over emotions

I want to start writing a full-length novel/story. A love story to be exact. I have been using first person and third person writing styles in my previous articles and short stories. Now, I want more ...
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2answers
94 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.) ...
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1answer
54 views

Skipping telling to get to the showing - pros and cons

In my style of writing, I often find that I lapse into relating what happens or has happened, usually via short, choppy, dead sentences. As far as I can tell, this is because the scene I am writing ...
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2answers
166 views

Does this dream sequence work in my introduction? [closed]

I'm writing the introduction to a story. The intro starts with a dream, then the main character wakes up, and then he and one of the secondary characters have a conversation while waiting for a bus. ...
3
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1answer
38 views

Do I format other works' titles in my title?

I'm currently writing an essay in MLA format about a short story, and would like to include the title of the short story in my title. We all know that titles of short stories are underlined when ...