2
votes
2answers
233 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
96 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
242 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
191 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
114 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
124 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
211 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
68 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
331 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
403 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
142 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
94 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
452 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
140 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
114 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
296 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
193 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
53 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
141 views

Thesis writing: how to address “self”

This came up when I was writing my thesis: Usually it is recommended that when writing a thesis, one sticks to passive voice and use sentences that read like "The study showed the effect that blah ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

Can I use the same figure twice in a report?

Is it alright to use the same figure twice (but different figure number) in a report? If so, do I have to use separate captions, to avoid confusion in the table of figures?
2
votes
3answers
239 views

What is the difference between an ISBN and an ISBN Barcode?

Is the ISBN the same as the ISBN Barcode or are these 2 different things? I want to publish my own books, so need some clarification. Which one will help me save on my publishing cost?
2
votes
4answers
123 views

Real, serious and based on personal experience idea, but no previous practice. Where to begin?

Since my childhood I have had a secret dream to write my own story or even a novel. I have always enjoyed reading books and writing compositions. However, I never had enough courage to start writing ...
2
votes
3answers
164 views

Does a character have to define himself to be engaging?

I have a short story named Cured (which asks the question "What if you could take a pill to increase your empathy?"), in which the main character (Tony) doesn't talk or show much about himself until ...
2
votes
2answers
360 views

When to use semicolons and when to use em dashes?

Sometimes I can't decide whether to use a semicolon or a em dash. Usually, I start with semicolons and once I noticed there are too many of them, I start replacing a few with em dashes (as I read ...
2
votes
2answers
155 views

Does the following piece have too much dry narration (mundane tasks, moving about)?

Tsuki woke up to the morning sun that entered through the window. She yawned and sat on the side of the bed, rubbing her eyes. The clock on the wall said half past ten. She brushed her teeth, ...
2
votes
2answers
139 views

HTML Formatting for ebook

I uploaded my short story on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) yesterday. All went well and I am excited, given this is my first attempt to publish anything! I did some research prior to making the ...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

Do different formats of the same book need to be registered separately?

We're self-publishing a book in both paperback and e-book format. The content between the versions will be identical except for some formatting corrections (mainly white-space) made for the digital ...
2
votes
3answers
142 views

Would it be weird if I write “a simple sample something”?

Not getting too technical, I am writing a configuration file for a piece of software I have developed. This software allows others to write "services" and attach them to my software. I have written a ...
2
votes
1answer
152 views

I cannot determine my Protagonist's work-life. Any help?

My protagonist works in a pharma company and I really don't have a clue about how they work, what kind of a life they live and all. It is required for the plot to make him work in a company which ...
2
votes
3answers
661 views

Any good side-by-side editor for script translation?

I am in the process of translating a script and am constantly struggling with the side-by-side vertical scrolling of the document. Does anyone know of an editor which is capable of "locking" two ...
2
votes
2answers
112 views

How do I formulate while writing?

I've tried to write without thinking, but that doesn't really worked that well. I need time to formulate my thoughts before I commit them to paper or screen. Since I'm not a native English speaker, my ...
2
votes
1answer
892 views

Characteristics of an “example” in essay writing

Example: an item of information that is typical of a class or group; "this patient provides a typical example of the syndrome"; "there is an example on page 10" (Google) Maybe I haven't ...
2
votes
2answers
193 views

Using a town to symbolize/represent a character within a story (fiction)?

I'm not sure if this has been done before. In my story, the main character's wife takes the form of a town. The town represents how he feels towards his wife (mostly sad feelings and repulsion). It ...
2
votes
3answers
285 views

Should Game Genre Types Be Capitalised?

I am currently writing a report for college about computer games and I am wondering whether genres need to be capitalised. Usually I do not but for some reason it just feels that I should. For ...
2
votes
2answers
195 views

Critique of short essay

Basically I need some critics regarding the following points: Does this description essay archive its goal (a creepy story with a 'sappy' ending)? How is the 'rhythm' of the story (is there ...
2
votes
3answers
79 views

What are the ethics of using real-world house addresses in historical fiction?

I am editing a novel manuscript for a client of mine. It's a historical fiction set in 1948, so not that long ago. The main character lives in a house above a cafe that I believe is fictional within ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Difference between an 'Abstract' and an 'Introduction' in a feature article?

I have to write a feature article for school. However, I'm confused how an abstract [a summary of my points] is different to an intro [Where you outline the points you're going to be elaborating in ...
2
votes
4answers
120 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
votes
4answers
164 views

What is the best way to use your favorite authors as inspiration without plagiarism?

I am a big fan of certain authors' writing styles and stories and I am convinced that when I sit down to start writing my first book, I'm bound to copy an idea or theme from an author. How do I create ...
2
votes
2answers
197 views

Evoking happiness in a very short story

Hemingway has the canonical very short story: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. This piece manages to evoke a strong emotion of sadness. Wired has a piece on this motif. In it there are several ...
2
votes
2answers
130 views

Is it possible to turn a cliche into something original?

I always try to avoid cliches as much as I can. But sometimes I just can't; they seem to be the perfect bridge between one scene and the other. For example, in the current novel I'm writing, the ...
2
votes
3answers
95 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 ...

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