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1

For your first statement, you're just missing "of" after because. For the second statement, "for years" should be placed between commas, and "are" should be "our." It looks to me like the variables are correctly identified. You clearly are well-educated, and given that, the kinds of mistakes you are making are simple ones that you should be able to ...


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

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 ...


0

Essays do not need to be formal, ever. Since it looks like you're working on a school assignment, the best way to get a good grade is to follow the style of the person grading, typically the teacher. However, having gone through college and writing professionally for almost 9 years, the purpose of an essay is to express a point, often one with emotional ...


1

I think a list like that only makes sense if after presenting the list you then pick up each of the list items and discuss them or compare them to another list. Formating must be meaningful, and a list serves a specific purpose. You don't just present sentences in a list for no reason, that woud confuse your readers.


1

The prompt specifies "an essay" so it would probably be a mistake to turn in a story instead. However, it does also demand some creative writing skills. If it were my essay, I'd style it after a non-fiction profile (such as this one), but with invented details. Joseph is a High School student from Ghana. He was born in a small village outside Accra and ...


0

Taking a break is a good idea, looking out for signs of depression is another, but if you want to write, try writing in a genre for which you normally have no interest, or for which you even have disdain. The purpose of this would be to remove the pressure of your own expectations. You can practice and noodle around knee-deep in tropes and adverbs and nobody ...


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 ...


1

In general writing, it is good to vary wording to avoid sounding repetitious. "I drove my car to the car lot where the car salesman sold me a new car." That sounds very awkward, almost silly, because of the repeated use of the same word. If I wanted to express that idea, I'd be much more likely to write, perhaps, "I drove my car to the auto dealer where the ...


0

As what's answer notes, academic writing generally values precision (using the most specific words appropriate) and accuracy (using words that most closely match the facts, even avoiding excessive specificity). Effort may be spent avoiding connotations and tone that would emotionally bias the presentation of truth, even avoiding favorable bias. Similarly, ...


3

If you write a literary text, vary your words. If you write an academic text, stick to the terminology and repeat it consistently (because very likely a word perceived by the lay public to be synonymous has a fundamentally different meaning to an expert).


1

The great thing about 'suddenly' is that it appears at the start of the sentence, so itself appears suddenly to the reader, but you can replace it easily with something stronger... Start a sentence with a jarring word or image instead of a 'suddenly'. Like one, or even all of the below examples: Blood splattered his hands. Glass shattered around ...


0

When you're writing for English teachers who require variation in word choice, vary your word choice. For every other audience, prefer consistency, but don't be a slave to it. Vary the word choice when you have a specific reason to, such as the way the sound of a word fits with the sounds of the words around it.


0

Actually, there's a social rule of thumb here, that may apply in fiction. That is, to treat serious matters lightly, and light matters gravely. As another answerer pointed out, you're mother's comments seemed "too light," until you drop the bomb" about animal self destruction. Here, the mother ought to get concerned, but she doesn't, a perfect foil to your ...


0

If do you want to liven up the dialogue you perhaps need to add some conflict into the mother's state of mind. Her input to the scene is sadness and worry, which is a little predictable and one dimensional, and that makes it difficult to conjure interesting expression. The mother could carry other traits or motivations. She may be hiding guilt, regret, a ...


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

All the answers are very detailed and helpful. With that said, I think you're also asking about the general difference between active and passive writing. If that's the case, here's a blog post that you might find useful. http://sirragirl.blogspot.com/2011/12/passive-voice-in-creative-writing.html?m=0


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. ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


0

There is no problem. Random Acts of Senseless Violence by Jack Womack, Friday by Robert Heinlein and many of his short stories, Contact by Carl Sagan, Big U by Neal Stephenson, Cybernetic Samurai by Victor Milan. It's quite common in speculative fiction and fantasy anyway. The observant writer shall have no problem. The unobservant one will pointlessly ...


0

Everyone works differently, but here's me: I put in details only when they're necessary. That is, if they contribute to the story or reveal something about a character. I rarely describe people or settings. It's usually not important that she's blonde or that he's fat or that the trees are maples. But then in action scenes details can slow things down so we ...


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 ...


0

Narrative writing involves the writer's personal experience and he tells it in the form of story.. e.g my first day at college descriptive writing involves the characters observed by five senses and does not contain a plot


1

We'll call stilt here any disorder in a text making it difficult to read. Clutter would be unnecessary redundancy. There is a long history in mathematics of analysing this. Here is one way to measure the stilt in some writing. Also we easily find how much stilt there is. We do not merely ask whether it's present or absent. Call the text t. Now consider ...


0

There's another question here where this is answered, but as usual I can't find it without sifting through a hundred results. (The site search really isn't very useful at all.) What we found (in the other answer) was that different disciplines have different conventions. In Psychology, for example, the order of authors is that of the amount of contribution, ...


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 ...


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 ...


0

The quoted passage is completely comprehensible; it's clear that the question is being asked by the character. The alternative would be absurd - the narrator making some kind of parenthetical commentary on her own narrative! Adult readers of serious fiction will not be even momentarily confused by your example. The technique you're using is called 'free ...


0

I find thoughts inside speech quotes to be incredibly distracting, because I have to spend time figuring out if the person is thinking or talking. So don't do that, whatever punctuation you use for speech. Leaving thoughts inline is okay if they're kind of passim narration of a sort: She ducked around the corner, but the man had disappeared. Where could ...


0

I have seen direct speech enclosed in single inverted commas so that it looks like speech. For example: Bill walked quickly down the street. 'I'm going to kill him,' he thought.


0

Actually I have gone through the contemporary English language fiction I own to research this a while ago in relation to another similar question here on Writers.SE. I cannot find that question at the moment, and do not know if I actually answered there, so I'll give what I found for the use of italics below. Use italics for: words in a foreign language ...


2

Here are some reasonably objective features that tend to make a passage feel more stilted: Abstract or inanimate subjects. That is, subjects that are non-human, non-animal, or otherwise unable to take action. In your passage, every subject is an abstraction: prohibition, law, provision, vagueness, legislation, presence, it (to initiate), looking, and ...


1

There's nothing wrong in principle with "breaking the fourth wall". It's a matter of whether it adds to your particular story or subtracts from it, and how well you do it. It's like asking, "Can I add a romance sub-plot to my adventure story?" Of course you can. But will it make the story better or will it be an annoying distraction? It depends on the ...


2

Other media don't have such qualms to break the forth wall. It's quite common in contemporary theatre, much of which is based on heavy audience involvement, and in plays such as Peter Handke's 1966 Offending the Audience there is no fourth wall at all. Many contemporary movies love to play with the fourth wall (compilation on Youtube), especially parodies ...


1

I have seen a number of silly works break the fourth wall to good effect. For example Earlier today I was reading some User Friendly archives where the artist was trying to get his characters to tell jokes bashing Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, and failing. The whole sequence was completely ridiculous, and very funny. But the reason it worked was that ...


3

Strictly speaking, there is no objective way to determine if a bit of discourse is stilted and/or cluttered. However, this fact does not make the use of such terms arbitrary. In many communities and social groups, people share subjective judgments about a great many things. For example, it is not, strictly speaking, objective to criticize the poor ...


0

In a word? Yes. A perfect example of the species. More than this it is also, in several areas inaccurate. The Constitutional prohibition against political dynasties cannot be made clearer, but no implementing law exists to concretize its substantive rhetoric. The Constitution is the law. There is little more "law" than the Constitution, and if ...


0

Most word processing programs have a way to measure "readability" of your document. There are also free online sites that do the same thing, which you can easily find by searching for document readability. These measures combine average word length, average sentence length, average paragraph length, active vs. passive voice, etc. The numbers obtained are ...


1

It depends how different they are. "Wings" versus "powerful legs"? Having an adjective in one but not the other doesn't break the pattern for me. Consider this example: "I knew animals would do everything to survive; birds would use their wings to fly away from snakes, buffaloes their powerful legs to escape from lions; and the ability to change their skin ...


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 ...


1

Part of the editing process is determining where to cut the fat. Often, first drafts are just there to get ideas out on paper. There is a happy medium with deciding what should be edited out. If you leave too much in, your reader may think you are rambling. However, you don't want to make your writing too terse, and start omitting important details. One ...


4

A lot of it has to do with context. What type of story is it? What is the genre? hildred has a point in regard to number of words affecting urgency. If you've got a fast-paced action sequence, for example, you don't want to be detailing every single movement of a character as this can easily slow the reader's imagination of the scene. Instead, dropping some ...


3

Words lead the reader to emotion. Have enough words so the reader feels, but not so many that they stop feeling.


7

Some writers don't know which word to use and so they use a dozen. some writers are convinced that typewriter ribbons are too expensive and agonize over each word. Both of these methods can produce enjoyable reading, but my favorite is when the pace of the words just seem to fit. Not too much, not too few. And the appropriate number of words is not a ...


0

Yes. Not only is it acceptable, if you don't do it your character will not reflect what you are trying to portray and the reader will not understand the character as intended. Think of it this way: everyone is different, talks different, and behaves different. If you are writing about people, should they all behave like you? Or should they be different too? ...



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