Hot answers tagged creative-writing
em dashes are usually used to denote an interruption or sudden change — whether in dialogue, thought or narrative — ellipses are for pauses, again in all respects. 'I just don't see why— 'I don't care what you think,' Johan barked, turning from me before I could protest. 'She was just...' His face turned pale as his memory returned to that ...
Add a little stage direction. "We read the letter." She had the grace to look a little shamefaced. "Apologies. Standard procedure." He nodded, even if his heart hurt a little to think the cops had read Tom's note. "Nothing inside suggests you're to blame. In fact, Tom didn't leave a reason."
Commas are used to increase clarity. In each of your examples, a speaker would pause while reading the lines, indicating a comma is called for. A sentence with too many commas probably means the sentence is overly complicated. Your writing sample is first person and modern, so I would follow contemporary writing and speaking as a guide. A good reference for ...
Give the character a problem, no matter how small. When the character tries to solve the problem, make the attempt fail. And make it fail in such a way that things get worse. Now the character has a bigger problem. When the character tries to solve that one... To continue the story, add another try/fail cycle. To end the story, have your character put ...
I might use an M-dash for the whale example, because it's startling. For the gold watch, that's more of a thoughtful pause, so it would take an ellipsis. Also related on this site: Using dashes in writing dialogue and How not to overuse ellipsis?
I think all your original examples sound fine. Go with your inner ear and let your beta/editor add or remove commas for the sake of grammar. As Bobn points out, the commas indicate pauses, and all those pauses sound natural and appropriate.
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Small caps can become a temporary convention for something distinct but similar to normal communication. In the same way that ALL CAPS has become symbolic of shouting, other character formatting can be used to imply meaning. In many alternative fiction works, italics is used consistently to symbolize non-verbal telepathic communication. In these cases, ...
All caps is for shouting. Small caps could be used as a stylistic device at the beginning of a chapter to look nice, but beyond that I'm struggling to think of where they'd be appropriate. Maybe to quote a poster? For the T-shirt example, if the text on the shirt itself is not in all caps, I'd italicize it (or put it in quotes).
I think in this case this serves to emphasize the object in the sentence and connotes a specific kind of consideration or attitude (the narrators?) towards the object . On a natural level I find it quite reasonable - but I don't have a precedent or formal reference to support that.
You have a first person narrator, you're trying to convey a sense of character, and this is commonly used in this way by (some) people in informal speech, so it's perfectly okay and appropriate to use in this situation. Most of the rules for formal and academic writing can be blithely disregarded when you're writing dialog or a first-person narrative, ...
It changes the meaning for me. The use of "this" implies to me that you are still at the restaurant in question, whereas the use of "a" would imply that you were no longer there. "a" also implies that you don't care which restaurant it was, only that it was fancy.
Dale Emery gave a great answer that I want to add to. I found that my first writings were invariably short. At that time I did not aim at a novel, I just wanted to write, so that was not a problem for me as it seems to be for you, but I found that my first ideas were short by nature. Looking back, I think that I had to grow as a writer. I had to first find ...
Had to look up the meaning of coherence to answer this question and this answer is based on the result I got: The quality or state of cohering, especially a logical, orderly, and aesthetically consistent relationship of parts. So, with that in mind: First off I must say that this sounds like an amazing story, I'd love to read it when it is done. ...
My general rules, adapted from AP style: In narrative prose, use digits for 10 through 99. Use digits for 100 and above unless the number can be expressed in two words (like two thousand or five hundred or a hundred million). In dialogue, write out all numbers. You don't say "47," you say "forty-seven," as @what points out. Write out digits under ...
I'd do: De-Shi was holding something that looked like a price tag. It had the numbers "024" written on it. (1) quote any text, no matter if it was spoken or found written somewhere(2) if you don't quote the numbers, 024 is one number (not plural), so either 'the numbers "024"' (read: oh-two-four) or 'the number 024' (read: twentyfour) "Isn't that ...
Contrary to what the other answers claim, capitals do not need to mean shouting, but can quite simply mean that what is quoted was written in capital letters. Example: Despite this and other examples, I still stand by my comment that says to avoid all caps. The example would not have changed its meaning if it had read: In one location, Schiavone ...
I'd use ellipses for pauses, dashes are usually used for interruption. "I found this - " "That doesn't matter, look what I found!" As opposed to: "She... She's dead."
Adding to the answers by Lauren Ipsum and CLockeWork. I'll just look at the second example: Was it an elephant? No, elephants didn't frequent beaches. It was — a whale! Was it an elephant? No, elephants didn't frequent beaches. It was ... a whale! It seems to me that the dash as a sign of a sudden change works well in the ...
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