2
votes
4answers
1k views

Author's notes: yay or nay?

Should a writer include author's notes in their book that either express thanks to the reader or provides background information on the book itself? If so, should these be at the front of the book or ...
2
votes
4answers
856 views

Software recommendations for magazine layout?

I use Word now but I would like to find a better software for laying out a magazine. In this magazine, I would like to create columns (2 or 3 depending on the page), insert image on 1, 2 or 3 columns ...
2
votes
3answers
228 views

Feedback on sign-up email announcement

This post is continued at How can I make this sound better? ( part 2 ) Thanks for signing up for the Tip for Tip beta. We’re really excited about the launch and we wanted to let you know ...
2
votes
4answers
125 views

Is there a complete guideline for which tense to use?

There are questions here about specific use of tenses, but I wonder if there is a more complete guide on what tense to use when? For a fictional novel, Past Tense is the accepted choice. But which ...
2
votes
4answers
90 views

Switching from past to present tense to increase narrative speed?

In German, traditionally narrative texts are written in the past tense. When the pace of the action picks up, the narrator can increase immediacy and urgency by switching into the present tense. Is ...
2
votes
3answers
104 views

Writing dialogue for a non-English speaker in English?

I am writing a story that features an illiterate Indian woman. Of course, while there are things only Hindi can satisfactorily express, I was wondering what would be a good way to construct dialogues ...
2
votes
4answers
116 views

Fiction Novels & Active vs. Passive Voice

Before I launch into this, I've perused these threads and they don't quite answer the specific question I have in mind: When to keep the passive voice and when to remove it When *should* I use ...
2
votes
3answers
166 views

Best way to write an article professionally

Is there any widely accepted step by step method for writing a creative article in a professional manner. I want to improve my English writing skills in relation to creative article writing. I read ...
2
votes
2answers
104 views

Procrastination on a Crucial Scene in my Book

I'm in the process of writing a book and through my plans I know I have a fairly crucial, game-changing scene coming up. I can't help but put it off! I don't want to force myself to sit and write it ...
2
votes
3answers
220 views

How to decide whether or not to accept publishing offer for short story?

I am an unpublished writer straight out of college. After graduation, I sent out a few stories to a handful of places-- no more than five or six. It is now about 1.5 months later and I just received a ...
2
votes
5answers
256 views

Writing exercises to practice the art of giving unique voice to characters?

I've read many blogs which teach you how to give a unique voice to each of your characters. I feel I understand how to do it, but I think I'm a little stuck in the voice I've been using since I ...
2
votes
2answers
91 views

Is it worth reading book to learn more about topic of my story

The story I am writing involves the 10 steps of turning a democracy into a police state. And to make it more real, I thught the people who are doing it should explain it to the main character ...
2
votes
3answers
131 views

How do you connect a non sequitur hook to a novel?

A pineapple is walking down a street, but here’s the kicker: he’s completely naked. That was a non sequitur hook I thought of. I figured that it would raise a bunch of really interesting ...
2
votes
6answers
264 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
2answers
8k views

How do you write a formal email?

What is the web equivalent of formal letters? In this day and age, formal correspondence have all become digital, and it would be helpful to know the proper way. Oh, and please do highlight if there ...
2
votes
2answers
269 views

Correct format when talking about money $$

I'm writing a formal research paper (Highschool) I have lots of statistics involving money (In fact, my whole essay is about the economy). So a question arises about the format of writing money. ...
2
votes
3answers
154 views

How to tell if my story is finished, or needs more?

Slightly obtuse title, let me elaborate. I'm writing my first screenplay, and I'm trying to keep it simple while making it simultaneously wonderful. It's just a rom-com. But as I write and modify ...
2
votes
2answers
170 views

Where can I find lists of commonly used words to avoid?

I have a theory that good prose style comes in part from avoiding complicated, abstract, and pretentious words. Are there any good lists of words to avoid, preferably with suggested alternatives? I'm ...
2
votes
5answers
174 views

Best way to emphasise the greenness of the fields in spring in comparison with summer

The question arises from this sentence in my story, which was originally written in Hebrew and later translated by me to English. In Hebrew I say: קמתי בבוקר והלכתי למוצב. היה זה יום בהיר של תחילת ...
2
votes
4answers
135 views

How about a story as a series of anecdotes?

I have a concept for a story I'd like to do where my purpose for writing the story is simply to explore a hypothetical society by means of anecdotes about the members of the society. But this sounds ...
2
votes
3answers
77 views

What is best way to accentuate the positive in an endorsement?

I want to write an endorsement for someone. I have one line that begins like this: "I have no doubt that ..." But I don't like the negative connotation of 'no doubt'. My best alternative of ...
2
votes
3answers
120 views

How should this ‘be going to’ be revised?

I don't know if I can ask about this in this site. But anyway I'll give it a shot. (This question is a spin-off from EL&U.) Here is a skit from a radio English conversation program, dealing 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
231 views

Parenthesis Types in Fiction

What's the general approach to using parenthesis (the grammatical construct, not the punctuation mark) in fiction? I have an internal "ranking" of them: Comma-delineated parenthesis, like this, is ...
2
votes
3answers
94 views

Am I using too many adjectives/adverbs in the following piece?

As I made my way uphill, I understood why An-Mei chose this place for her spiritual healing. I glanced around. Gorgeous conifers stretched up endlessly, like pillars connecting the earth with ...
2
votes
2answers
113 views

How can you represent music in writing

I was wondering if a character was in a nighclub or at a concert. How do you represent the music? It got me thinking that writing is a very non musical medium and that it is actually pretty hard to ...
2
votes
2answers
218 views

Present tense in user manuals

I am writing a user manual for an IT system. And inside the user manual I have sentences such as: Users can delete Servers that do not have Customers assigned to them. Is the use of ...
2
votes
3answers
176 views

How do I write a proper cover letter

I'm an engineer with a fair knowledge of the English language. I can converse with people in English and write as well, but now I'm interested in learning to write cover letters and blogs. I see ...
2
votes
3answers
112 views

Rewriting an existing story (fable) to fit it within my fantasy universe

My antagonist sends my protagonist a note that says "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". Obviously, this is the story of the the three wise monkeys, but I'd like this to relate to something ...
2
votes
3answers
118 views

In a thriller, should my famous cities be familiar, or fresh?

The bigger, and more famous, a city, the more it tends to show up in thrillers. The biggest ones - New York, London, Paris, Tokyo - have been set-pieces in any number of thrillers, and I can assume ...
2
votes
4answers
210 views

What are these extra phrases added to the beginning of sentences called?

I find that my students are using a lot of these phrases at the beginning of their sentences: First... First of all... To begin with... All in all... The other reason is that... Above all... At last ...
2
votes
2answers
110 views

Is repetition justified in the following piece?

Eri kissed her dad on the cheek, and waved goodbye to him. He entered back into the car, and then drove off, disappearing gradually at the far end of the street. Once he was gone, Eri glanced ...
2
votes
2answers
67 views

Blog Contributions Copyright

I have a blog that discusses grammar in local languages. I publicized my email and asked for contributions from the readers and experts on the subject. How about copyright issues? If they contributed ...
2
votes
3answers
329 views

Writing an effective summary for a story

I just published my first short story at Amazon. Although many people downloaded it while in its free promotion days, no one have purchased it yet. People have praised the cover (apparently I design ...
2
votes
5answers
397 views

First person pov with more than one main chars

I really love -- and most of time write in -- first person point of view. The novel I'm writing is somewhat different from what I'm used to. I have four main characters -- I don't see any of them as ...
2
votes
3answers
140 views

What steps can be taken to avoid libel / copyright issues in social commentary?

I'm interested in the social, cultural, and political landscape around me, and I think I've "got a book in me" on the topic. A major source of material would be the writings of everyday people in ...
2
votes
3answers
86 views

About the Author description

Whether we like it or not, the "About the Author" description is a marketing tool. It contains selective personal and professional information which is deemed to have the potential to create a ...
2
votes
2answers
93 views

What is the better job for an English major: copy-editor or editor in chief?

I am a recent college graduate with a Bachelor's degree in English. I have been asked to join a new startup online magazine as an editor. I have the choice to be either a Copy-Editor or Editor in ...
2
votes
2answers
434 views

Resource for generic plot hooks?

I'm in a long and painful recovery from many years of writer's block. Coming up with even quite simple story ideas costs me unreasonable amount of effort. Sometimes inspiration is generous and I'm ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Email to request copy of paper

I want to email the author to get the complete paper. He's published a version with proof sketches, but I need the whole proofs. My draft: Subject : Paper Request Dr. ..... I've read your paper ...
2
votes
3answers
137 views

Is it a bad idea to linger too long on a first draft?

I'm currently working on the first draft of a screenplay, and it's not very good right now. It's little things; some parts go too quickly or slowly, other dialogue exchanges need improvement, and ...
2
votes
2answers
112 views

What are “industry leading royalties”?

In the breakdown description I received from a publisher, they mention that they also pay industry leading royalties of ##%. What does that mean?
2
votes
1answer
3k 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
votes
2answers
295 views

Substitutions for 'which' and 'for which' that maintain the sentence's meaning

I am having a bit of a problem trying to substitute the words which and for without changing too much the meaning/flow of the sentence. I have tried the thesaurus, synonyms, etc with no luck. I ...
2
votes
3answers
6k views

When I'm replying to emails, what's the best way to acknowledge that I appreciated each point of someone's email?

In many cases, I understand and appreciate what the person is writing (in each sentence), but have little to say in response, even if I really like what the person is saying. So when I have little to ...
2
votes
4answers
192 views

Will the word “seek” be associated with the word “sick” if it is present in the title of my book?

I'm planning to title a book "Taiwan Seek." The book is about starting a classified ads website in Taiwan. So I thought about short words that are related to classified ads: want, seek, looking for ...
2
votes
6answers
3k views

Should I write an abstract for a formal essay?

Should I write an abstract for a formal essay? I've heard from different sources that I should, although my instructor didn't specify. And if I should, where are some resources that I could use to ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

Asking for exam results

How can I ask my English teacher for the results of an exam? I came up with the following text, but I am not satisfied with the result. The more polite the better. Are the commas placed correctly? Do ...
2
votes
6answers
213 views

Where are the best places to promote tech books?

Where would you recommend a new author of technical books (operating systems, programming, networking, etc) to go to in order to get help in promoting his work? Are there any good reviewing services ...
2
votes
3answers
52 views

Delaying narrative/actions

I tend do this a lot: A straight curve appeared after a moment. I slowed my pace and circled around. Once I came out of it, I caught sight of something. It was a girl. Probably a sixteen ...

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