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9

I would suggest a different approach than the other answers. If you are completely new to writing, just write. Think about other areas of learning. If you just had your first physics class, the next step won't be building a car. The first thing will probably be something like a battery, two wires, and a lightbulb. Writing is the same. Like anything it ...


6

Yes, there are stronger words and while when writing (especially fiction) it is perfectly acceptable to use less strong words but it's better to avoid them if you can. As you say, you're trying to invoke your readers senses. Example: I landed on the floor with a bump I thumped onto the floor Using stronger words can also allow you say the same but ...


4

Symmetry is not important, but rhythm is. Considering rhythm I would change your example to: My understanding of zoology was poor, but I knew animals would do anything to survive: birds would use their wings to fly from snakes, buffaloes their legs to run from lions. I alwasy read my texts aloud. They must have rhythm like a poem. Try it with your ...


4

I think it's subjective. To my ear, to avoid is a series of individual events, while avoiding implies something continuous and ongoing. "She started to avoid me" sounds like "I called her and she didn't return my call. The next day I texted her but she didn't text back. Two days later I sent her an email which she never opened." "She started avoiding me" ...


4

There are stronger and weaker words, but using weaker words isn't always bad. Using strong words all the time would be as bad as using weaker words all the time, as it wouldn't distinguish when something is less severe. In addition, contrasting strong/weak words shows what the reader should focus on more. Consider the two sentences: John stared at the ...


3

Poetry doesn't have to be as free-flowing and messy as you're implying. Some poetry throws out rules of form and function, but some adheres to them strictly. Think of the meter and rhyme demands of a sonnet, or the syllable rules of a haiku. If you don't follow those very rigid, precise requirements, you haven't written the poem correctly. Honestly, I ...


3

Words have connotations. Using these overtones and implied meanings to create the effect you want makes them strong words. For example, compare these two versions of essentially the same thing: The man killed the boy. The monster slaughtered the innocent child. The second version is more emotive, and some words do stir the emotions more, but there may be ...


3

Author's preference is, of course, the deciding factor, but one has to take into account readability as well. Using extra space to determine a scene change is not very common and it is possible that the reader could misinterpret it as a formatting error, or perhaps just be confused by it, whereas the three dots send a clear message that this is an ...


3

There's no universal standard for this, or at least not in fiction. Books generally pick one style and stick with it. Larger narrative breaks than a section break can be indicated by starting a new chapter. The exception is in printed books that use extra space between paragraphs to designate the end of a section, and when this happens at the end of a ...


2

These are both prepositional phrases. Number 1 should be included. Number 2 does not have to be. Below I explain why. A prepositional phrase must consist of a preposition (behind, on, in, under, around, etc.) and an object (i.e. what the object of the sentence is behind, on, in, etc.) Sentence number 1 omits the prepositional object 'us.' You need that ...


2

These are purely my opinion, but I would say (1) no, I wouldn't omit; and (2) yes, that's fine. (1) "...we sat on the rest chairs behind." Behind what? Behind your necks? That's what "behind" is referring to right now, and it doesn't make sense. (2) "I wasn't an expert." This sounds natural to me. "Expert" right now is referring to ...


2

Narrate the story in third person. The narrator can both tell of the boy's perspective and reflect it from an adult (or teen) viewpoint. Or let the adult look back and narrate his own childhood (in first person). That said, some famous children's or middle grade books (such as Astrid Lindgren's Brothers Lionheart, in which the ten year old protagonist ...


2

Many children's books deal with difficult topics. For example, 'Two Weeks with the Queen' is about someone coping with a sibling dying (it is very sad and very funny). 'Bad Alice', a novel I have just been using with twelve years olds, is about the effects of sexual assault. A recent children's book award winner was about someone trapped in a totalitarian ...


2

Michael Swan's Practical English Usage (2nd ed., p. 285): 296 -ing forms used like nouns (5):        -ing form or infinitive? ... 10 begin and start Begin and start can be followed by infinitives or -ing forms. Usually there is no important difference.      She began playing / to play the guitar ...


2

Possibly not being writer enough to answer this question, I consider myself mathematician enough to try to give an answer from the mathematical viewpoint. (If this is not a great answer by itself, I hope it is a useful addition to the others given.) What you say about mathematics, of rigor, validity, precision and rigid rules, holds true, to a certain ...


2

A number of philosophers and mathematicians do see a deep connection between poetry and mathematics. Betrand Russell put it thus: Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, ...


2

In general, the "stronger" words in your examples are more specific. Twisting is a kind of turning. Treading is a kind of walking. What makes them "stronger" is that they give you more control of what the reader experiences. If you say, "turn," the reader can conjure many, many images of someone turning. If you say "twist," that eliminates all kinds of ...


2

Of course. As Tave says, some words have stronger emotional connotations, or convey the idea of more extreme action. George was exhausted after toiling for untold hours. George was tired after working for a long time. John was overcome with passion for Sarah, whose beauty filled his dreams. John liked Sarah and thought she was pretty. ...


2

I would agree with Lauren that both constructs are equally valid from a grammatical point of view, but there are a number of other factors to bias the decision. Character voice. People who studied latin prefer infinitives, people who work with their hands prefer gerunds. Tense. infinitives work very well with future tense, gerunds work well with present ...


2

It seems to me that whatever problem you have with writing is not about writing but about how you feel about yourself and your life. You might want to take a break from writing and try to come to terms with the death of your cousin first. Or you can try to take the pressure out of your writing and write without any concerns for quality and just to relax and ...


2

In my view, this piece of writing exhibits two things you should avoid. First, consider the opening paragraph. It is a good example of "purple prose"; as you suspect, it appears to be far too descriptive and flowery. Let's break it down: "The sun peeked out", "he watched the first rays of sunlight grace the Earth", "the clouds become lit with a fabulous, ...


2

As with any piece of writing, the register you write in depends on the audience and the goal. Essays certainly don't have to be formal, but in some situations, formal is the right way to go. Part of the confusion, of course, is defining "formality": In general, formal writing is associated with objectivity, well-defined structure, and the avoidance of ...


2

I endorse Chris Sunami's answer, as far as it goes, and gave it a +1 on the strength of that. However, I'd like to take it further. To address the original question, I have a very different perspective on this: @jlam55555, you are applying for a position. This trumps any abstract question about the nature of essays. It trumps it because when you are ...


2

I agree with what: Actual writing and making your own mistakes is essential when attempting to become a novelist. However, if you are interested in textbooks: Here's the first textbooks I've read when I was about 15 years old. Frey's "How to write a damn good novel" ... and part 2 of the same Frey's Introduction to the concept of the Hero's Journey ...


1

If it's 3rd person limited perspective then your narrator knows the truth but is deliberately withholding it from the reader. You will have to tread very carefully with that. The reveal would have justify the deception. Your alternative is to hide it in plain sight. Have the girl call her father by name (it does happen in real life), but have a scene where ...


1

Don't cut it if you can make it better. You are wasting some conflicts here and your inputs to the scenes are a bit simplistic. In the first example you have him tired and her sympathetic. Both of those are quite weak. We've all been there and said the same things so you're telling us nothing about the characters. Tiny tweaks to those inputs could inspire ...


1

Adding to Lauren's excellent clarification, you could look at it from another perspective by referring to, let's say, money... and seeing where the latter could beg the question "why?" or "how?" Three months had passed since she started to save money. That sounds like a statement. OK, so she saved money. Three months had passed since she started ...


1

There's no inherent reason why an author can't write from a perspective that does not exactly match every characteristic of him- or herself. Yes, trying to write from the point of view of a member of the opposite sex creates challenges. But so does writing from the POV of someone of a different nationality, or religion, or political persuasion, or ...


1

To the best of my knowledge, there is no widely-accepted rule of when asterisks are appropriate versus when extra white space is appropriate versus other possible conventions. To my mind, and for what it's worth, a row of asterisks indicates a bigger break than a blank line. One catch to white space: It can get lost when a document is reformatted. Like, I ...


1

Dinkus ( * * * ) Signifies a temporary break. Time has passed between the preceding and following paragraphs, and the narrative picks up at the same place and with the same protagonist. During the break the protaginist may have been asleep, gone to work, or done any other thing that the reader needs to know is being done but whose details are irrelevant or ...



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