Questions tagged [style]

This tag should be used for questions that deal with a consistent style in your writing, such as when asking about typical ways to introduce a certain aspect to your reader by showing-telling or if you are concerned that your readers might feel that a change in the point of view might be perceived as inconcsistency.

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5answers
2k views

How to write a nice frame challenge?

When answering questions on Stack Exchange, some of us challenge the assumptions of the author. These frame challenges can often be quite popular answers. This popularity, however, can simply be a ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

Should we avoid “nonsensical” or “unclear” metaphors?

Should we avoid "nonsensical" or "unclear" metaphors? I am not sure if this is a case of "nonsensical" or "unclear" metaphor, but sometimes you have certain phrases that doesn't seem to be suited for ...
11
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2answers
83 views

Should I write in a style that is more conducive to a situation I am describing or write it the way I normally write?

I am writing a short story that describes a dream that I had as a child. I wrote a first rough draft and had my girlfriend read it to give me some feedback. One thing she criticized is my writing ...
11
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7answers
2k views

Is it advisable to add a location heads-up when a scene changes in a novel?

In my novel, I have a scene at home which changes to scene at the office which is completely different. I have written it in a way that in a line or two the reader will understand the scene is changed ...
13
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7answers
3k views

Is it okay to have a sequel start immediately after the end of the first book?

The sequel to my first book is supposed to start immediately after the end of the first book. Zero time gap. Situation: At the end of book one a missing family member has finally joined the family. ...
5
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6answers
2k views

How to build suspense or so to establish and justify xenophobia of characters in the eyes of the reader? [closed]

I am asking this as a general thing, be it a race that is never seen but heard about (which is fairly easy,) but much more so for a race that the reader becomes well acquainted with, especially one ...
13
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7answers
1k views

How do you show, through your narration, a hard and uncaring world?

As I've already mentioned, I'm working on a sci-fi novel. One of the main feelings that I wanted to represent when I started is the sense of a vast, empty, artificial world, mostly cold and uncaring ...
2
votes
2answers
75 views

How do I indicate a superfan review vs a social-criticism essay?

I occasionally write short essays about classic films, and have been thinking about converting them into video essay for YouTube. What I observe are 2 very different types of essay – I'm not sure ...
6
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6answers
1k views

How can I add depth to my story or how do I determine if my story already has depth?

I am new to writing. I wrote a lot when I was a kid and teen. I wrote my first book at 6 and then again in high school. I was also in journalism. After high school, life happened. I took an almost 20 ...
1
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0answers
37 views

Introducing new terms (Acronyms and quoted) [closed]

If I were to introduce a quote in my article say special economic zones (SEZ). Was the previous sentence incorrect or should it be Special Economic Zones (SEZ). Does the fact that it's a known term ...
11
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9answers
3k views

How to deceive the MC

My protagonist is finally meeting with the big boss of a mafia. At least, he thinks he is. The boss actually sends someone to pretend to be him. I'm writing from the protagonist's (limited) POV. If I ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

How do you earn the reader's trust?

Recently, I have stumbled upon a problem. After releasing an issue, I think that I failed to earn the trust of my readers. My analysis is that they did not have enough faith in me to make the "right ...
11
votes
4answers
557 views

What are the components of a legend (in the sense of a tale, not a figure legend)?

I'm compiling in-world legends for my built world, and would like them to feel like established legends from our own human experience. What should I keep in mind while writing these legends? What ...
1
vote
4answers
442 views

Is there something “wrong” with my writing? How do I improve it? [closed]

So I usually use stackexchange as a last resort, but I'm completely stumped. If this question is inappropriate here, I will gladly delete it. None of my teachers say that anything is wrong with my ...
2
votes
2answers
107 views

How should I write a VN using John Truby's 22 steps?

I am writing a mystery with multiple endings using John Truby's 22 steps. Originally I thought that I could do it like so: The playable character is not the hero but still has a narrative drive. There ...
0
votes
3answers
94 views

At what point does an interesting analogy become a distraction?

I've written a book. My question is if it is in bad {taste, karma, policy} to use an analogy that is disrupting to the reader's stream of consciousness. The quote in question is this: Like a ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

Can you use a semicolon to connect fragments that are one item in a vertical list?

I'm trying to write a numbered vertical list. The items are not complete sentences. Can you use a semicolon to connect two fragments that are one item? Receive guests; entertain guests Or, should ...
13
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8answers
2k views

How is simplicity better than precision and clarity in prose?

Many recommend the Hemingway app, which pushes simplicity and the lowest possible reading level. Where I live, an illiterate person is defined as any person who reads below a grade nine level. The ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

How to handle characters who are more educated than the author?

This is inspired by a few things that have been breaking my immersion when reading Worm. The main protagonist is a teen, and most chapters are first-person POV, so grammatical casualness fits. I don'...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Correct punctuation for showing a character's confusion

I'm trying to show that the narration (third person limited) is being interrupted by the character's thought process, and I'm not sure what punctuation is best for this situation. So far, I've tried ...
5
votes
2answers
109 views

Why do most style guides miss out the 'degrees' when reporting temperature?

In the UK, the Guardian style guide and the BBC style guide say to report temperatures as "25C" or "90F", with no degree symbol. The NYT style guide says to "Avoid the degree symbol and the ...
8
votes
1answer
273 views

Plain language with long required phrases

I am trying to create documentation for an application, and it's for end users who use keyboard (not mouse) and a screen reader. Some of our conventions require us to always use the full phrase as ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Vague vs Specific: When to provide motivation details for action in a story?

I'm reading Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron, where she writes the following about being vague or omitting information that the reader does not know: ...being vague is never a good idea... ......
4
votes
2answers
154 views

Can a third-person narrator ask questions instead of the characters?

In novels, when the PoV follows a particular character, is pretty common that we get to hear his/her thoughts. Sometimes, those thoughts take the form of questions that the character ask himself: ...
9
votes
2answers
324 views

Delivering sarcasm

Most of us who have spent more than a few days reading things and interacting with people on the internet know how difficult it is to convey sarcasm. There is no tone there is only the words on our ...
5
votes
1answer
75 views

Turning away from the 3-act structure - what guides my pacing now?

Not all stories follow a 3-act structure. As an example, Les Misérables is rather episodic in its nature: first there's the story of Bishop Myriel and how he meets Jean Valjean, then there's Fantine's ...
5
votes
1answer
51 views

en dash with space for non-integer?

I have a simple question. What's the correct writing style? 1.1–8.4% or 1.1 – 8.4% Without space around an en dash looks much better for my eyes. But I read somewhere that if it is a decimal number (...
1
vote
0answers
66 views

Acceptable and unacceptable number shifts in writing [closed]

Many writing handbooks say unnecessary number shifts should be avoided. But are all number shifts bad? What about the following? Glass harps haven’t entirely disappeared, though. You can still ...
17
votes
6answers
4k views

Should a narrator ever describe things based on a character's view instead of facts?

There is something I find myself doing often while writing, and I don't even know what to call it, but I would like to know if its good practice. It happens when I'm writing from a third-person ...
11
votes
9answers
242 views

How can I make a non-linear timeline less confusing?

My story is broken into 8 sections. Sections 1 and 2 take place simultaneously, in two different worlds. The other 6 continue in a linear fashion (switching back & forth between the two worlds as ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

How to make readers know that my work has used a hidden constraint?

According to this wikipedia article, Constrained writing is a literary technique in which the writer is bound by some condition that forbids certain things or imposes a pattern. The same link also ...
34
votes
10answers
8k views

My story is written in English, but is set in my home country. What language should I use for the dialogue?

I'm an amateur writer from the Philippines. I am writing a novelette for an international writing contest. My story is written in English, but is set here, in my country, with my POV character being ...
6
votes
4answers
120 views

'Ellipsis' - what do they convey and how to use them aptly in a Novel?

In the writing practises guides, it is usually mentioned that use of ellipsis is a bad practice. But I have come across certain usages in professional writing. To give an example; In the novel Eat ...
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How do we edit a novel that's written by several people?

Two other friends and I have been writing a fan fiction and we basically write a chapter each one after another every week. Now that we're nearing the end of the project, we've noticed that the ...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

Writing effectively under very brief constraints

I recently noticed a trend to a few of my questions. I am attracted to writing in places with extreme brevity. This makes sense to me on a personal level. I've always been attracted to one-liners and ...
3
votes
3answers
392 views

What is the best way to simulate grief?

I am new to the art of writing and have been wondering if there is a way to introduce the grief of loss(character dies) in my story, inturn while making the reader feel the grief. Is there a good ...
3
votes
3answers
104 views

Always sounding idiomatic as a non-native English speaker

A lot of people use Google's n-gram to see if something is idiomatic, but for a lot of non-native English speakers even that doesn't really help, so what would you suggest non-native speakers to do so ...
0
votes
3answers
93 views

How do I introduce this character?

I am writing a story these days and I want to introduce a character who is similar to a king. This character is introduced with heavy announcements by his minions who scream out words of admiration ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Is using an 'empty' metaphor considered bad style?

I just had this sentence off my head: A crown of fire spread through the country consuming everything on its way. What I mean by empty metaphor is a metaphor that doesn't really have any meaning ...
7
votes
1answer
100 views

The English language, if England had a dictatorship

European dictatorships left a profound cultural footprint in the local culture, to the point that a certain vocabulary, a certain manner of writing, and even a certain manner of speaking is evocative ...
10
votes
4answers
923 views

How to know you are over-explaining and oversimplifying a subject?

Recently, I started writing articles about different subjects I learn on my own (programming, logic ...etc). While writing, I have this tendency to overexplain, I know that readers are smart, but I ...
18
votes
10answers
2k views

Is it possible to narrate a novel in a faux-historical style without alienating the reader?

One thing that often annoys me in historical fiction or fantasy books is the dissonance between the writing style and the events and historical period described in the book. The writing is usually ...
4
votes
4answers
138 views

How to expand on scenes?

I guess you can call this a writing style, but whenever I do creative writing I write very concise. Which can be good as I don’t want scenes to drag on, but most of the time I feel I wrap up my scenes ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

What are the words that were used during Shakespeare's time that are seldom used nowadays?

I would like to write a Shakespearean poem that reads and sounds like a poem written during that time period. However, I don't know where I can find an exhaustive list of words that were used during ...
4
votes
1answer
73 views

When should you use extra long sentences, never?

I often see world-renowned thinkers and writers, such as Nietszche and Herman Melville, write extremely long sentences. When I was in high school, people said sentences should be as short as possible, ...
2
votes
2answers
211 views

Writing a Story From The End

There is a writing technique where a writer would imagine in her mind's eye where her story should end and will write it 'backwards'. Writing the end and then writing the chapters leading to end, so ...
3
votes
2answers
141 views

Does the 'writing-style' change when book gets translated into another language?

I am studying the writing style of Leo Tolstoy by reading an English translation of Anna Karenina. As a general rule, do translations affect the original style? In what ways?
39
votes
14answers
11k views

Do hard to pronounce names break immersion?

I have a character in my book named Jiolluav (with the correct accent, Zholl-you-of or /ʒōl-'yoo-äv/), and I've written my entire "novel" (it's a work in progress) using this name. When I asked a ...
6
votes
2answers
159 views

Historical Present in English?

As a historian, I at times get my fingers on Latin texts. Latin has a rather peculiar use of past and present tenses: Usually, texts are written in Imperfect, which is the 'simple past', with things ...