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9

Linguists have found that semicolons, colons, and even commas, are on the wane in everyday usage, and that many speakers no longer understand the use of a semicolon. Non-writers – and you will see this in emails, forum posts, and other written messages – often do not use punctuation at all, but rather let all "sentences" flow into each other, only putting ...


9

"The point of a Horcrux is, as Professor Slughorn explained, to keep part of the self hidden and safe, not to fling it into somebody else's path and run the risk that they might destroy it — as indeed happened: That particular fragment of soul is no more; you saw to that." "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", J. K. Rowling "Lord Voldemort liked ...


6

Those (and dialogue) are all quotations. The first might be quoting Sophia or an unnamed sarcastic commentator or someone else. The second quotes Genesis. The third quotes the character's anthropomorphized common sense. All quotations. So punctuate them like other quotations.


5

If it's important enough to mention the hour then it's important enough to be clear which one you mean, but using "AM" and "PM" in fiction may not be the best way. If the scene already makes it clear which one is being talked about -- on the beach you talk about the sunlight dancing off the waves, for instance -- then you don't need to say anything and "PM" ...


5

Determining how much, and what information you pass through your sentences is a very important subliminal channel of information about the speaker, their character, current situation and mood. If you merely use it to optimize readability, you will crop a lot of flavour of the text just in order to pass verbatim data. It's like you took a painting and tried ...


5

In brief: Yes. But: If you make a direct (word-for-word) copy of a news story, then you'll be in breach of copyright. If you write a story with characters in it who are clearly based on specific living people then you (or your publishers) risk being sued for libel by those people if they think that your story disparages them unfairly. That's the ...


4

Chapters don't need to have a title. "Chapter NN" is fine. Or you can have only a title — that's generally when the title identifies some kind of shift, like a different time, location, or narrator/POV focus. So you can have Chapter 1 Chapter 6 Chapter 47 or Location: Vulcan, 2265 POV: Brienne Time: A few hours ...


4

Some of the most interesting and groundbreaking genre writing was written by authors who have come from literary fiction or another genre. For example, Tolkien was not a Fantasy reader or writer before he wrote the Hobbit and the LotR. The problem with fans writing what they love is that it too often turns into a bad rip off of the original. Just write ...


3

If this were a question about usage in a technical paper or an essay, I'd suggest referring to a style manual for guidance. However, outside of formatting and punctuation rules, I don't think there are any absolute rules for fiction. Narrative writing is meant to show people in real world believably, and people don't always use exactly the same terms for ...


3

Probably, the real answer is as simple (complicated?) as Charles Bukowski's, So You Wanna Be A Writer http://allpoetry.com/So-You-Want-To-Be-A-Writer Here's an excerpt: So You Want To Be A Writer if it doesn't come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don't do it. unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, ...


3

Is that a sign of a bad metaphor? No. It's fine. And of course you're the author - it's up to you what you write. From this point of view there are no 'bad' metaphors. But I know what you mean and no, your example would not usually be considered poor English usage. You may be thinking of (in-)elegant variation or pleonasm.


3

You're right that it's a cliche and they don't "need to". it is quite silly and one would expect it only from mediocre or lazy writters I agree. See TV Tropes: Birthmark of Destiny See also scars, beards and hairstyles. Villains also sometimes come with convenient labels, e.g. The Omen's Damien: See TV Tropes: Mark of the Beast. Frodo is one ...


3

Too long for a comment, so an answer: In all of your recent questions you ask about objective rules that you can blindly apply. For example, you'd like to learn which grammatical structure is most readable, and then plan to use that structure, believing your final text will be a readable text. But language is not mathematics, and readable is not the same ...


3

You are allowed to have the prologue narrated by a different character as long as it is absolutely clear who the narrator is. You do not have to change the whole book. In fact, every chapter can be a different viewpoint narrator; George R.R. Martin does this throughout his Song of Ice and Fire books. You can also have the prologue written in third person ...


3

This is widely accepted, a rather common "flavor". Yes, there are legal implications, unless you use public domain works or made-up citations. In case of citations from works still covered by copyright, such use is not covered by Fair Use clause (unless you're parodying the content of the citation in in the following chapter, or referring to it by some ...


2

Your question makes me come up with the following example: For twenty years I lived in the land of milk and honey - along with the bees and cows. To me, this sounds better than: For twenty years I lived in the land of milk and honey - along with the cows and bees. I can't explain (though I find Lauren Ipsum's explanation in the comment below ...


2

Ah the eternal question in all art forms. What is music? So John Cage created 4'33" What is dance? So someone I forget who, possibly Merce Cunningham, stepped on stage and didn't move, and then left. What is a painting? So many a painter put a blank canvas on the wall. What is an artist name? The artist formerly known as Prince.


2

Obviously you cannot give the whole impression of the object you want to describe all at once, but have to start somewhere. Where you start and how you proceed from there will depend on what you want to convey to your reader and might be influenced by the following aspects, among others: the character of the narrator the atmosphere of the place the events ...


2

The additional "and" changes the rhythm of the list. It elongates it, which can have the perhaps paradoxical effect of increasing a sense of pace and tension. "Monotony" isn't simply a matter something being boring or tedious. Used properly, it can convey a meaning of fullness and richness. Somewhat comparable to how "said" disappears in dialog, the ...


2

I disagree that a colon does not simulate normal speech. A classic example would be when I enumerate something to my dialog partner: "Hey Joe, we offer the following colours: Gray Blue Yellow." There, maybe even with semicola in a single line: "Hey Joe, we offer the following colours: Light Gray, Dark Gray and Eternal Gray; ...


2

"How much information" does not lend itself to quantification. That aside, readability is not a function only of the amount of information compressed into a given sentence. Factors include the writing style, the particular scene, the pace of the story at the time the sentence is written, the surrounding text, the nature of the event (brief or elongated), ...


2

Mercy, yes. If the story is burning to be told, yes. If you enjoy the craft of writing, yes. If you love reading over what you've written, yes. If you like the world you've created and the people you've put in it, yes. "Later" you'll still have a job and your daughter will be demanding in a different way and life will always, always suck up your available ...


2

Yes. I didn't even have to read your question (but I did). The answer is yes. Write 25K words in half a year. That's perfectly respectable. I work full-time, and often 2-3 hours a week is optimistic for me. Maybe you'll crawl along, maybe you won't be fully satisfied with your work. Hell, maybe you'll end up tossing everything you've written before your ...


1

I have a bit of a writing exercise to suggest. I used it myself when tying to "find my voice", and probably absorbed the idea from someone else. First, pick a simple setting that is fairly open-ended and adaptable to many styles and genres. Then (without any specific characters, plot, or ending in mind) begin to write a scene in that setting in each style ...


1

Marks can indicate that the hero is "special" - chosen, if you will - and because the reader identifies with the hero, they too can feel like they're special. Is it a necessary device? That depends on the discretion of the author. Sure, there are "everyman" heroes who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and are brought along for the ride by ...


1

Writers love their heroes. Look, my first male hero in my first story was actually me, myself. And I obviously wanted my hero to be my better self, more muscles, more manly, more outgoing... So, I obviously gave such treats to my hero Lots of people like to pimp their ride You already bought the best phone on the market. And after few days you realized, ...


1

I would lean towards showing ownership through the use of its. They are both attributes of the river and cottage mentioned. Where you might use "the" is in the same sentence, like these examples: The waters of the river were calm as I gazed at them, stretching into the distance until they reached the city. The interior of the cottage showed none of ...


1

The sad truth is that semicolons are slowly dying. NGrams However as one of the few people who still attempt to use semicolons in writing (and a programmer) I sincerely hope they don't die out. Ultimately a lot of it boils down to a lack of proper teaching; teachers these days do not often teach students the correct use of semicolons. In an attempt to stop ...


1

The real answer here is: Whatever makes your message the most clear to your readers. Learn to use punctuation as properly as possible, because this is what people learn at schools. Since they learn it there they tend to understand it as common usage and it's easier for them to gather meaning. And since most people learn to read at school, a common ...


1

I suppose my answer might sound old school, but I greatly enjoy when the author describes the physical features of the characters in their story. I prefer knowing just how the author envisioned the character. From there I can build around the character and their corresponding thoughts and actions. I don't lack imagination but I do like the author's ...



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