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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4 votes
2 answers
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Is there a balance on being subtle?

I love literature that leaves clues that readers can connect or makes them discuss their own theorys/interpretations. I'm making my own, but how do I make one. Like, looking deeper in the words per se ...
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2 votes
4 answers
141 views

Would it be too presumptuous of any established author to write a novel in the hope that it be made into a film?

Before I start, let me clarify that this is not a dilemma I am facing currently. It's just a question I had in mind for many established and aspiring authors. Many best selling novels get made into ...
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3 votes
2 answers
126 views

Using "etc." at the end of list introduced by "e.g."

According to the Strunk & White's The Elements of Style (p. 46) at the end of a list introduced by such as, for example, or any similar expression, etc. is incorrect. However, I have seen "...
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  • 141
20 votes
5 answers
5k views

How to include deliberate inconsistencies without it seeming like lazy or bad writing?

I'm writing a thriller (scifi/supernatural) and have a race of characters who can bend reality. They've come to earth with the intent of purging humanity. They can do it, but they have limitations. ...
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4 votes
2 answers
198 views

Does writing well in one language translate to writing well in other languages?

I have been trying to improve my writing skills. Most of what I write is in English. To what extent do you think that writing skills are cross-language? I am concerned about my time investment into ...
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11 votes
2 answers
1k views

Alternatives to raising eyebrows to show surprise

I’m trying to reduce the number of clichés in my manuscript, and I’ve found 11 instances of characters raising their eyebrows. A couple I don’t mind, but it feels like too many. What other actions can ...
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1 vote
0 answers
15 views

Would using poetry to represent a character's dreams be viable?

In a couple of my writing projects I have used poetry to represent the dreams of the POV character. That way some of the content of the dreams and hopefully some of the emotion/feeling of the dreams ...
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1 vote
1 answer
114 views

What is it called when a sentence is seemingly contradictory, but has meaning?

What is it called when a sentence is seemingly contradictory, but has meaning that is understood? For example, I saw a coffee truck with free coffee, but it sucks, so I say: “I was too cheap and I got ...
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2 votes
2 answers
110 views

How do you make a place/situation seem brutal?

Up until around the early-through-mid 1800's (of the real world, for clarification), the rights of criminals, disabled people, and the poor were commonly ignored. As a result, the justice system was ...
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0 votes
0 answers
19 views

Font sizes for bullet points

Is it necessary that in a bullet point list, the font size of the bullet points should be the same as the fonts in the introductory sentence of the bullet list? For example, in the following bullet ...
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0 votes
0 answers
31 views

Style to convey strong statement

I just want to make a bold statement implying Design can be used to direct people's behavior. What is the best way to put it - 'Design can use to direct people.' or 'Design can be used to direct ...
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0 votes
1 answer
31 views

How to write a character that lost his passion , his purpose that he had for his goal after he achives it and how to revive his passion?

So that character is like any typical sports anime character who loved to play cricket a lot and fortunately was gifted and lucky enough to become a big name in world of cricket but with time during ...
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3 votes
3 answers
822 views

Should ending punctuation be put before or after an ellipsis? Compare ?..., ...?, !... and ...!

Through reading some self-published novels, I have noticed some writers in their character dialogue put an exclamation mark or question mark before an ellipsis and sometimes after. However I am not ...
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  • 41
0 votes
2 answers
55 views

Is it more difficult to unify the narrator after the story is written, than to juggle POVs into the narrator's world during writing?

A lot of my procrastination in writing my story is coming from anxiety over making the finished product come from one "head." I have perspectives from a couple first persons, and some 3P ...
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0 votes
0 answers
66 views

Can some please clarify the rules of stress for me?

I was having trouble determining which words are stresed. How do you tell the words that are stressed from the words that are unstressed? Thank you.
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2 votes
2 answers
57 views

How to write a biography without pronoun repetition?

My question is similar to this one, but I am not happy with the answer. Also, my style and sample example are very different. I am writing a biography and all the writing has become, ' he did this' '...
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1 vote
1 answer
76 views

How do I avoid a clash in mood?

I'm planning a story that can be simplified into the 2 parts. One is a small town being invaded by monsters and the other about a group of humans having to do an act in order to get one of said ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
60 views

Brevity with Prose Rhythm

Along with the book "The Elements of Style", many style guides often emphasize the value of concision, but either leave out a discussion of prose rhythm or say it is something to have in ...
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  • 1,222
-1 votes
1 answer
55 views

Cautioning against, from, or about?

Is it proper to use any preposition to say "caution against" "caution about" or "caution from" in e.g. the sentence — The fact that the ... has happened before and could ...
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2 votes
2 answers
54 views

Referring to an earlier defined phrase so that it's not taken literally

Say I define a phrase like 'pen' or '10 miles'. Then when I refer to these defined phrases inline in the text, how should I refer to them to let the reader know that I am referring to the defined ...
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  • 21
0 votes
1 answer
46 views

Could a reference like "as I said before" sound odd when I actually wrote it?

I am writing a long explanation, and in many points I have either to recall something I wrote earlier or note that something will be explained later. I have the sensation that referring to the writing ...
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  • 113
-1 votes
2 answers
61 views

Is an ellipsis after an em dash unusual?

In my writing, I’ve found that (in dialogue) I use the em dash to show a sudden break from dialogue, and I use an ellipsis for trailing off, often coupled with a pause. I’ve run into the situation ...
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  • 143
19 votes
5 answers
4k views

How to Write Like a Little Kid

I'm writing a story with 3 POV's. One of which is a 6 year old girl. The problem is simply this: I'm neither a girl nor in first grade. In fact, I'm quite a bit older. The first problem I've more-or-...
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  • 687
0 votes
0 answers
56 views

How do you emphasize a word or a few ones in dialogue? [duplicate]

I want to emphasize the words "Like ever" in the sentence below. Is this the correct way? We are celebrating one of my friend’s most important moments. Like ever.
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4 votes
2 answers
129 views

Dilating the beat

Consider the following sentences She did not feel the bullet going through her skull. vs She did not feel the 9mm NATO Parabellum lead bullet going through her skull. vs She did not feel the nine ...
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0 votes
0 answers
52 views

How to make a fight scene that is not bland? [duplicate]

I am a novice writer. Recently, I decided to write an action fantasy story but I just realized how bad I am when it comes to fighting scenes. I was struggling to create a good fighting scene that won'...
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0 votes
2 answers
75 views

Need help with currencies and numbers/numerals in fiction

How would you write the following in fiction given that my style guide says write out numbers up to and including 99? From the till, she robbed six 50,000-won notes, two 10,000s and eight thousands. I ...
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  • 1
0 votes
0 answers
28 views

Capitalising after punctuation within speech?

I've notices that Emily Bronte does not always capitalise in dialogue after exclamation marks or question marks, for example (light spoilers): "Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! ...
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1 vote
1 answer
73 views

Share expert insights about a field without sounding arrogant or gaslight my audience

I've worked for a good number of years for a couple of big-tech companies (FAANG). I've seen just how efficient they are comparing to the rest of the IT industry. I plan to tweet/linkedin about these ...
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1 vote
1 answer
54 views

Is it problematic to transition from "I" to "we" when describing actions that took place as part of a team?

I am writing about my past job experience in a grant proposal. The proposal is in first person so I use "I" for most of it. At some point in the proposal, I describe a collaborative ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
63 views

This, that, these, those [closed]

English is not my first language. I am writing a more or less formal text (nonfiction). When I am talking about something that I introduced in a previous paragraph or sentence, is it correct to always ...
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9 votes
5 answers
3k views

When writing, should I describe a scream instead of having the character yell out "Ahhhh!"

Another writer was critiquing my story, and she mentioned that I should describe the scream and show the reaction of the character instead of having the character actually scream out "Ahhhh!"...
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  • 1,065
0 votes
3 answers
164 views

What's the solution for "language being subjective" affecting readability? To write more concisely or what?

What's the solution for "language being subjective" affecting readability? To write more concisely or what? To me it seems like knowing how to make a "well understood" text seems ...
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  • 165
3 votes
1 answer
41 views

Multi linear flow issue in blog writing

I sometimes write about my experiences and day-to-day thought processes. Usually what I get the issue with writing such texts is linearity. For example, I started writing a blog sometimes back about ...
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4 votes
2 answers
572 views

Is it outlawed to start Chapter one with the villain and only mention the protagonist?

Chapter 1 takes place in 1953. A girl is kidnapped. She manages to write a note to her friend (they both go to school together but the boy has moved). The letter is destroyed. Her friend is the ...
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3 votes
3 answers
116 views

How does one go about describing subtle movements in characters actions?

I'm struggling with figuring out a way to describe subtle movements in a scene that wouldn't normally be picked up on if not shown. For example: A character is being put in a prison cell and another ...
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0 votes
1 answer
67 views

Is it okay to have just two chapters of split time switchover alternating with the present?

Is it okay to have just two chapters of split time switchover alternating with the present (chapters)?. I.e. the second and fourth chapters portray the story of the protagonist's ancestors, which has ...
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6 votes
1 answer
129 views

How to write in a way that makes it easier for an ESL reader to parse and understand?

This question recently began percolating in my mind after some conversations at work, and hopefully it's not been asked here before and is applicable to this site. After searching I wasn't able to ...
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  • 8,622
1 vote
1 answer
83 views

Strong verbs for energy and clarity, or artistic use of all parts of speech for voice/style?

In not a few books I've read on style, the author pushes the use of strong verbs, as opposed to nominalizations, and certain kinds of adverbs and adjectives, to energize every sentence a writer writes....
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  • 1,222
0 votes
3 answers
229 views

Why does Faulkner get a pass for purple prose?

I've been accused of purple prose for single words. People will go through my work with a fine-tooth comb and interrogate me. "Why this big word?" It feels like, if everyone doesn't ...
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  • 9
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Ways to show someone is whispering without using "he whispered"

I've seen a lot of advice that says you should scrap all non-'said' dialogue tags. I can see the value of this, but I'm not sure how to make it work in every instance. It's pretty easy to show things ...
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2 votes
3 answers
101 views

Least confusing way to structure 2 plot lines merging when one starts several years before the other

My story has two POV characters, Delilah and Jack, who start separate and meet ~ 1/4 of the way though. Delilah's story starts several years before the Jack's and is the entire reason he even has a ...
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0 votes
3 answers
141 views

How "subjective" is "good-readability"?

How "subjective" is "good-readability"? Are there quality studies that can explain this? I'm confused about that I perceive that different people seem to have different preferences ...
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  • 165
3 votes
4 answers
171 views

How do you make superpowers interesting in a written medium?

Superhuman powers, with the exception of psionic abilities like telepathy, are primarily an element of visual spectacle. This is primarily why fiction with people with some form of superhuman ...
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  • 4,317
2 votes
2 answers
140 views

Does Simple Writing Lead to Passive Reading? [closed]

a quick question here about non-fiction writing styles: It is said that the German philosopher Immanuel Kant intentionally wrote in a difficult and opaque style so as to force his readers to pay ...
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0 votes
1 answer
139 views

How to write scenes of negotiation? [closed]

I'm looking for general tips on writing a negotiation scene, and would be interested in some example novels/short stories in which there are scenes of negotiation (preferably light-hearted but any ...
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  • 111
1 vote
5 answers
173 views

How to avoid "character said" when there is a group of people talking?

I am at a certain part in my book where a group of six people travel and talk with each other. I would like to make them all talk, as that would be what would happen in real life but I can't really ...
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0 votes
1 answer
40 views

Can section headings be questions for APA format?

I would want my first heading to be "What is Lyme disease '.' '?'" , Im not sure if it would be considered a question or a sentence . I want this paragraph to inform the reader what the ...
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0 votes
2 answers
163 views

Does Blake Snyder's Save the Cat only apply to a story as a whole?

I'm curious to know if it can apply to an episode, volume, season, or an individual book of a trilogy. If it does apply, how do you apply those individual episodes into a whole story whilst following ...
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  • 21
0 votes
0 answers
533 views

Indianisation of "Thank You, M'am" written by Langston Hughes

Thank You, M'am To Indianise the story, along with the name of the character & place, the story has to be adapted in an Indian context and style. Both style and context are critical here. Langston ...
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