Questions tagged [conventions]

This tag should be used for questions about typical guidelines that an author may want to follow to become a better author.

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22
votes
17answers
5k views

Are complex sentences uncommon or unwanted in English?

I wrote my opinion essay using a lot of different complex grammatical structures, linking words and so on, and some of the sentences were even over 4 lines long. However, I was afterwards told by my ...
18
votes
7answers
5k views

Would it confuse my readers to give two siblings nicknames that can be abbreviations of the same name?

In my book, there's two brothers, who are named Nick and Cole. Now, I've always thought that Nick and Cole are cool names, so therefore I named the two brothers "Nick and Cole". But then I found out ...
18
votes
8answers
3k views

How to open a novel?

Looking at the function of the beginning of a novel, it is clear that it should hook the reader and draw him or her into the story. Different techniques for achieving the hook have been described, ...
17
votes
18answers
7k views

The role of the supernatural in hard science fiction

The response to this question makes it clear to me that I haven't quite asked the question I had intended, the answers are useful but not quite what I'm looking for. So different but related ...
14
votes
10answers
2k views

Where's the middle ground between genre conventions and originality?

I've long been interested in writing a fantasy novel. Over the countless iterations I've gone through, one thing has remained clear: a quest for originality. I know some people like the fantasy ...
13
votes
6answers
466 views

Why is character lifetime proportional to character development so often?

Hollywood movies are a good example of this, but also many books feature the rule. When the plot revolves around life and death situations, the first to die are the characters with least development. ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Are paired adjectives bad style?

I have the habit of using paired adjectives in my writing: The noise from the engine lulled her with its slow and monotonous rythim ... ... the lights on the ceiling filled the room in a soft ...
10
votes
10answers
1k views

How to keep a main character nameless?

I'm currently writing a story about a girl who was found by a couple in a magical isolated town, where everyone is named by the leader. I want her to not have a name because of two reasons: She doesn'...
10
votes
3answers
945 views

Does writing regular diary entries count as writing practice?

One of the most common pieces of writing advice I hear is that you should write frequently and often. Writing regular entries in a diary should fit this criteria, but I'm hesistant to call my years of ...
10
votes
1answer
375 views

Where to put character responses in dialog?

I am not certain of convention. Is one of the two of these correct? Or are they equivalent? Jane said, "Let's chase the ball." Jack looked at her in disbelief. "We always chase the ball, ...
9
votes
4answers
414 views

Is it okay to write a story where the protagonist is a Terrorist?

I am writing a side story called, The Afterglow of Jovian, which mainly takes place sometime during the final stages of the main story. Here's a brief gist of the main story to give some context, The ...
9
votes
1answer
78 views

Have there been any studies indicating which software documentation practices save the most time during onboarding?

It's generally conceded that at least some documentation saves people time when "onboarding" to a new project. With that said, have there ever been any rigorous studies on how helpful various kinds of ...
8
votes
5answers
183 views

What are some standards in naming a software/hardware version?

I am wondering if how we name a version of a spacecraft differs from how we name a version of a software. For software, I usually see things like "2.0.32.32" or something like that and sometimes they ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do typesetters capitalize the first few words of a new chapter?

Something I've always wondered. You've probably noticed that in some newspapers or books, the first few words of a chapter/story are bolded or capitalized, similar to initials. For example: This ...
8
votes
4answers
393 views

Ambiguous sentences: How to tell when they need fixing?

A story of mine has the following sentence: Alyssa was possessed by a sudden, fierce urge to snatch the teacup out of her sister's hand and dump the contents into her perfectly arranged hair. ...
7
votes
6answers
393 views

Unquestionable Taboos and Self-censorship

In the community/nation/country I am to be living, mentioning some themes is the best way to be ostracised for life (or for a very long time). Talking about not being published or read, not being ...
7
votes
3answers
190 views

How does one gauge the strength of any particular adverb?

I am now editing for adverbs, as silly as that may sound to some people. :-) I have learned, 'by ear', that the advice to 'avoid adverbs' is actually not bad advice. But I am also learning that ...
6
votes
4answers
300 views

Can I use “I” in an essay?

Why is it unprofessional to use the first person in a formal essay? I was writing an argumentative paper for my Language Arts AP class, and I got docked points for having "I" in there. Can you ...
6
votes
1answer
290 views

How much and which parts of a manuscript should I submit to an agent?

I've got a book that I think is interesting and action packed - a traumatic scene begins right in the prologue, but chapter one is a bit slow while I introduce characters, the setting, and weave ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How Can You Use “In Medias Res” To Beautify Your Amazing Masterpiece? [closed]

How do you write out the second build up without killing the essence of the masterpiece? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Medias Res?
5
votes
3answers
551 views

Is it possible to write entirely abstract fiction?

I've always wanted to write fiction, but I've been afraid I'd sooner or later be limited by my lack of exposure to the world (or having any desire thereof). I barely watched television growing up, so ...
5
votes
3answers
115 views

Is there a widely accepted standard for representing simultaneous ongoing events in a screenplay?

Let's say I'm writing a scene where Arnold and Jo are arguing over whether to go out tonight or not. While they do this, though, Rupert is also in the process of constructing a house of cards, and ...
5
votes
1answer
124 views

Who has laid down the English poetry rules?

I am doing a research, I want to know who has invented the English poetry rules like meters (Iambic, Torchee, ...) and feets; who has discovered that some feet are (Stressed, Unstressed) and others ...
4
votes
4answers
167 views

How could the disregard for both plot and dialogue tell the story?

I want people to understand what I write, but I do not want to use conventions such as plot or dialogue to tell a story. Without a plot I have been criticized of not having written a story, but ...
4
votes
4answers
11k views

Writing a Lullaby

I need to write a short folk lullaby as part of my story, but am having trouble getting the feel of it in my lyrics. What are the general conventions of writing a lullaby? Any general principles ...
4
votes
1answer
349 views

Is an anthology a valid NaNoWriMo entry?

I'm considering taking my first run at NaNoWriMo. 50,000 connected words of beginning-to-end narrative is a little more than I'm used to, so I was considering writing a series of novella-length pieces ...
4
votes
5answers
837 views

Is mixing cultures for the setting of a fantasy story frowned upon?

I am writing a fantasy/steampunk/horror novel, and I'm wondering if mixing different cultures is frowned upon. Specifically, my novel's setting is a mix of Italy, Ancient Rome, and Transalvania/...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

Why is the construct “'hello' says Pete” most common?

I am asking this from the point of a reader not a writer and just wondering why, so sorry if this is a bad place. I read loads of books to my kids and the construct always seems to go: "What a day,...
4
votes
2answers
47 views

Are separate acknowledgements sections for co-authors odd?

I'm writing a book with a co-author, and we disagree on who to thank. So, we're thinking of each writing our own short acknowledgements sections. For context, assume the book is just a regular book ...
4
votes
2answers
553 views

Writing a full conversation in free indirect speech

I'm writing a conversation between some no-good thievin' teens, and one of them has stolen a wallet, which has turned out to be that of an FBI member. They converse, written in indirect speech, where ...
4
votes
1answer
276 views

Can tables describing data go into the materials and methods section?

I have a table that describes a dataset that I use for an analysis. The table describes the sample sizes of each of the four collecting events to create the dataset. It breaks down the dataset into ...
4
votes
2answers
73 views

What to do when my preview exceeds the requested submission length?

One of the agents I intend to query to requests the first fifty pages be attached to the query email. When I formatted the first four chapters and prologue into submission format, it reached 52 pages. ...
3
votes
6answers
449 views

Can I use “fuck” as a non-vulgar verb in a fantasy/steampunk world?

I've been sending my fourth-ish novel through the my writing group. It is about a trio of teenagers running away from some mercenaries. One of them (Maris) is a girl who has only had a year of formal ...
3
votes
5answers
575 views

What is the benefit of writing formally?

It seems to me that formal writing has many practices that at best seem arbitrary and at worst seem harmful. Here are some examples: It discourages using contractions, even though they make writing ...
3
votes
3answers
429 views

How Many Tropes Are Allowed In a Short Story?

I am trying to add some dramatic ‘zombie-virus’ suspense to a short-story about boy-meets-girl young love, which already has an unlikely (but not the first sort of) antagonist The boy named Ethan is ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

How to introduce the content of my essay (for IELTS) to my reader?

Is it okay to use the phrase “This essay will discuss” in the introduction? I was told by my tutor that I have to refrain from using it because it is too “mechanical”. Is there any way that I can make ...
3
votes
2answers
166 views

Would I be breaking my exclusive submission by submitting similar works to different agents?

I've submitted some of my work to an agent that requested an exclusive submission. They say that after 6 weeks of no contact I can assume a rejection. My question is this: would I be breaking my ...
3
votes
2answers
237 views

What is the benefit of using formal terms instead of informal ones?

I understand that sometimes formal terms are superior to informal terms because they're sometimes more specific or succinct, but oftentimes this doesn't seem the case. In those cases, what is the ...
2
votes
1answer
9k views

When is it correct to capitalize terms/phrases in a personal statement?

I'm writing a personal statement for graduate admissions, and I've a query regarding the use of capitalization in the midst of sentences. For example, is it correct/expected to capitalize the names of ...
2
votes
1answer
396 views

How to describe panel layouts in a script for a comic book?

What is the "best practice" for describing the layout of panels in a comic script? I have already done the layouts for these comics, but can't draw, so I want to write a script to give to a potential ...
2
votes
2answers
57 views

Appropriate leading for blogs?

Is there a leading (i.e., line spacing) commonly considered appropriate for most types of blogs? I'm referring, specifically, to "regular" blog posts, i.e. not asides, snippets, galleries, etc.¹ For ...
2
votes
0answers
335 views

Clarifying English Writing Conventions [closed]

I need example and usage of the following. "but" - I seen it used but without comma, but after comma, and new sentence with But. What's the proper way to use it. "However" - I seen it used start of a ...
1
vote
2answers
61 views

What are some common pitfalls when adapting a novel (thematic autobiographic in this case) to a screenplay?

I am working on an adaptation of a book into movie format, and I would like to know what experience and guidelines exist for this, so I can improve my way of doing this where possible.
0
votes
2answers
309 views

What linguistic features increase the degree of readability?

By linguistic features i think of the structure of a sentence, the usage of subclauses, passive or active and such alike. What would you suggest someone who has no clue of what are considered ...
0
votes
1answer
77 views

Is it better to use a tricolon or an enumeration with four objects?

I am not 100% sure if this is the correct SE to ask this question and if it is not I hope someone could be so kind to tell me where I should ask this question. I am writing an essay (for school) and ...