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1

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, ...


0

An interesting quote that went around earlier this year in the gaming world, in reference to storylines, was that "plot is overrated". Basically, a few writers for major game companies were adamant about how characters drive plot, and how they wanted to use that instead of simply having a plot that involves characters. I think this is a neat insight into ...


0

Not necessarily techniques, but here are some resources you can check out to get you started: Outlining your Novel by K.M. Weiland is a great book for rookies new to the game and veterans in need of a refresher. The process may seem mechanical at first, but at the very least you'll be able to create a guideline (if not a detailed map) to where you want your ...


1

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.


0

No. It obfuscates the meaning of your sentence and impedes thought flow; especially in the case given, which I would rewrite completely for clarity. [ironic] Edit for Clarity: I say that it confuses and makes understanding your sentence more difficult because I couldn't even tell how I was supposed to read the sentence at first. I actually thought it was a ...


0

As stated the use of this in place of a is a Southern colloquialism. It would be okay to use if the story is first person and the protagonist/narrator is native to the appropriate region. It should be noted: it immediately gives the sense of the narrator being a impoverished uneducated Southerner. It pushes more emphasis on her opinion of how fancy the ...


2

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.


1

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 ...


0

I'll answer your question with more questions. What kind of world do your characters live in? What are the kinds of things your characters are likely to do and say? What makes your audience hate your antagonist? What makes your audience love your protagonist? What events happen in your world? How do these events affect your characters? How would the ...


4

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 ...


0

For some reason I find this question quite unique. I can relate to what your trying to say, your trying to find the right state of mind to write the best poem you've ever written. That's simple, you can't do that when your having a lot of thoughts on your mind and you can't do that because when you're trying to write the poem you have the following thought ...


0

(a) Prolific writers write like other people work on their jobs: unfailingly, regularly. When you make writing a habit, then you will produce outstanding work without fail. (b) Write about what burns on your soul. If you try to write about what you find irrelevant, your work will be irrelevant.


1

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. ...


1

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 ...


1

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 ...


1

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 ...


2

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, ...


2

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).


0

All right, this is an interesting one. If you want to be proper in your use of punctuation, perhaps you ought to check out what the Chicago Manual of Style (or another style guide, for that matter) has to say about commas. Grammatically speaking, there should always be a reason to use a comma. In other words, it isn't correct to simply play it by ear. ...


0

I don't think you are over-explaining. If you want to get into the mind of a first-person protagonist, you have to sometimes write exactly how they feel. Here he feels like he's being sarcastic because he himself realises the absurdity of what he just thought. That being said, there's a few tiny tweaks you could make (or I would make): I let out a sigh. ...


3

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.


5

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 ...


0

Make sure you have legal consent from everyone who's writing you are using, as it could lead to some pretty serious legal stuff. But if you have the legal consent of all the writers, you should be fine. If it's an open forum then be careful as a flood of new writers could mean you miss chunks of the story if some parties do not agree to you using their ...


3

Ownership of the content of any forum is likely to be addressed, in detailed legalese, within the FAQ, Privacy-Statement, Membership Agreement or some other supporting documentation within the forum's site. More than likely, if you are already contributing to the forum, then you have already agreed to the site's policies and are therefore bound by them. So ...


7

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."


1

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."


1

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 ...


4

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?


10

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 ...



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