Questions tagged [rules]

This tag should be used for questions about rules that relate to your writing, such as when to use a comma or which tenses to use. Questions in this category can also ask about rules in certain genres, such as whether particular actions are acceptable in fiction that is aimed at young-adults.

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2
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3answers
77 views

Using a prominent phrase from the title of a film in the body of an article, essay or paper, without referencing the title

I'll start with a clear example. You are writing an essay about the film The Wizard of Oz. Following the rules of titles, you put the film title in italics whenever you use it. But then you use the ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Is this kind of description not recommended?

I think I read somewhere that when writing, you shouldn't describe characters by their characteristics i.e. The tall man walked across the room Is this true? Maybe I'm misremembering
8
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4answers
285 views

How to help the reader wrestle through historical atrocities which would be considered normal to the POV character

I'm writing historical fiction which is set in ancient China. My MC is a historical figure who really did go into battle as a woman. Women in the ancient world were abused and mistreated. Males ...
8
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8answers
1k views

Writing rule which states that two causes for the same superpower is bad writing

I've read somewhere that there is this writing rule stating that, for some superpower, it would be less believable if two completely different settings are present in order to obtain the same ...
13
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4answers
3k views

Rules about breaking the rules. How do I do it well?

There are rules to writing and we often talk about them here. But sometimes a good writer will break the rules. And to be honest some of my favorite pieces of writing are from when this is done well. ...
14
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6answers
2k views

Is using first person in academic/technical essays always bad?

For as long as I can remember, my teachers have taught me never to use first person in an essay. Yet, some of the examples we read in classes, or older writings we have to annotate, are written in ...
-5
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3answers
141 views

Are creative writers all granted implicit immunity from grammar rules?

That'd sure come in handy for me.
5
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2answers
140 views

Writing a poem in secondary language that has rules for primary language

Haiku is a very short Japanese poem with seventeen syllables and three verses each being of 5,7 and 5 syllables respectively. The Haiku was written primarily in Japanese language and the rules applied ...
4
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2answers
133 views

Rewriting User Guides as Stories

I'm increasingly having to write User Guides as part of my job and I need routes to make this into a more interesting exercise. Hence, I was actually looking for something completely different when I ...
5
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1answer
126 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 ...
0
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2answers
131 views

What is the rule for commas?

How many commas is too many commas? For example: By looking at our data we can see a clear pattern, or trend, in our data that, as the steepness of the inclined plane increases, the effort force ...
5
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2answers
427 views

Bending the rules of the english language for effect; sentence fragments and run-ons

I believe it is a time-honored tradition, in fiction, to bend rules for a literary effect. I'm printing a short story for my critique group tonight. One critique-er is a very by-the-book kind of ...
7
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3answers
194 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 ...
0
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4answers
391 views

What if the hero doesn't win? [duplicate]

I'm just an amateur writer. One thing that's strange to me is that there seem to be "rules" about writing. The story should consist of five parts, etc. To my untrained writing brain this seems to ...
4
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5answers
600 views

Am I Breaking Too Many Rules?

I've finally committed to writing my first novel. I've been listening to things like Writing Excuses which encourages first time writers to finish their works, but I'm definitely writing an old ...
5
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5answers
314 views

How far can insults go in a “Young Adult” novel?

In a Young Adult (>12 y. old) novel, once the obviously bad words (F-word, C-word, N-word, etc.) taken away, how far can rude language go ? For example, can I use insults like : "Go sit on a rusty ...
8
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3answers
3k views

How to describe a diverse set of characters without falling into purple prose or exoticism?

In my setting, a city was founded by people from all over the world, and developed in almost complete isolation (long version here). The story in itself starts several generations after the foundation....
3
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2answers
154 views

Bachelor thesis indentation

Are there any rules for proper indentation in thesis? I am physicist so my thesis includes number of images and equations. Now I think you should not indent first paragraph after: Title of chapter,...
0
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4answers
174 views

What do you think about having very different tones in a single story?

What if a chapter is incredibly depressive, dark, with intense language. And the next reads almost like a dialogue from a Seth MacFarlane comedy. Or even better, what if the tone switches occur ...
3
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1answer
211 views

Do publisher ever automatically reject unread stories

I understand that publishers get a lot of manuscripts to read, so I am wondering, are publishers known to reject a story from an unknown author the moment that realize he is using a so called ...
3
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7answers
464 views

Beginners can break rules too?

I came across several disciplines of writing which one must know while writing (especially beginners), concerning narrative conventions and the rules of story logic. Some of the sources for this ...
-2
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1answer
730 views

Examples of Successful Rule-Breaking in Novels [closed]

I just finished "The House of the Seven Gables" by Hawthorne. I was struck by how often he switched tenses. Mostly the narration was in past tense, but then he would switch to present or even future ...
3
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2answers
639 views

Should a piece of fiction be made of 100% concise writing?

I recently finished reading William Strunk's Elements of Style. The book mostly teaches how to write concise paragraphs (e.g. by removing, changing, and rearranging words). So I decided to apply that ...
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5answers
5k views

Are there rules for, or guidelines on, time gaps between a plot's scenes/chapters?

I've been reading a host of old favourites, classics and authors outside of my usual reading pool, in an effort to dissect the writing (from plot, characters and environment to voice, pacing and ...
4
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1answer
374 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 ...
1
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2answers
639 views

Are there any specific rules to write Prequels and Sequels so that we don't end up with conflicting situations?

Whenever I watch 'Smallville', I wonder how the writers take us back and forth the timeline without getting into a conflicting situation. Another example would be 'Back to the Future' trilogy. Also, ...
8
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2answers
150 views

Should DOIs ever be preferred to ISBNs?

Any ISBN yields a DOI. For example, the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. has ISBN 978-0-226-10420-1, which maps to doi:10.978.226/104201, allowing any book to be digitally identified in a reference ...
3
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2answers
129 views

Which amount of side-story is acceptable?

If you grow your writing from short-stories, to longer stories and novels you will have to create more content. Most of it will be more detailed description of settings, people and plot. Also you will ...
191
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25answers
25k views

The “Rules” of Writing

There are a lot of axioms that get tossed around in creative writing courses, books on writing, and of course, the Internet. Often, these little gems are explained to new writers as though they were ...
6
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1answer
273 views

Good sites for descriptions/rules of different genres?

I just listenend to an episode of Writing Excuses where they discussed genre blending. I found the topic very inspirational, but as one tend to only read books of certain genres, I was wondering if ...