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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.

3
votes
1answer
72 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
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 ...
10
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
97 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
257 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
41 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
0answers
578 views

Were days ever written as ordinal numbers when writing day-month-year? [migrated]

I know that the day is written as a cardinal number (1, 2, 3) and not an ordinal number (1st, 2nd, 3rd) in the day-month-year and the month-day formats. But was there ever a time when ordinal numbers ...
4
votes
2answers
125 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
295 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
69 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
50 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 ...
10
votes
9answers
201 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
110 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
54 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
364 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
101 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
95 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
881 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 ...
17
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
109 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
72 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
200 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
134 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
1answer
112 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
195 views

Tips and tricks to describe more

I'm careful with the phrasing of this question as it is dangerously close to be opinion based. Everyone has their preference regarding the amount of description they expect to find in a work of ...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

Advice on how to beat word repetition in dialogue [duplicate]

Long story short: I default to simple words like "Said" in dialogue much too often. I'm hesitant to abuse the thesaurus due to advice I've been given, as well. Slightly longer version: When I'm ...
2
votes
4answers
107 views

Replacing adverbs

I understand the reasons so many people have dislike for adverbs in writing, but I'm struggling with how to find a real balance. For example, these adverbs can die: "He ran quickly" is easily ...
2
votes
3answers
177 views

Is this an oxymoron, and what would be the purpose of making seemingly illogical statements in writing? [closed]

Here's a piece of writing I came up with: The rolling billows rocked the mighty galleon cradling it madly as if it were but a mere child. There are many seeming contradictions: When we think "...
2
votes
1answer
93 views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of copying writing styles?

I come from a non-native English speaking country and, from my own analysis, I will say I have an intermediate level English fluency (IELTS score 7). Some of the articles on my blog were chosen by an ...
-1
votes
2answers
116 views

Is sentence in English with long subject bad?

I heard from someone that in English, sentences with a long subject are considered confusing and hard to read. Is it true? An example for such a sentence: ...(Some statements about how ...
0
votes
2answers
97 views

Is it redundant to use “billowing winds” and “petulant waves” in the same sentence? [closed]

"The ship sailed through the billowing winds and the petulant waves." Is it redundant? Because, if I say billowing, the reader would probably think petulant waves is too redundant. What do you think?
5
votes
4answers
163 views

Can my characters interact with my narrator? (and vice versa)

I know that this idea is not totally 'revolutionary' as this type of narration has been used in Breakfast of champions, for example. But, Unlike Vonnegut, I want the 'Narrator talks to the characters ...
1
vote
2answers
65 views

Varying POV and tense

My novel is written in the third person. When changing POV between different scenes (or chapters), is it OK if the parts for different POV characters use different tenses: some - the past tense, and ...
2
votes
5answers
215 views

How do I make my book longer?

I have a writing tendency where I get straight to the point, especially when I already have an amazing storyline. The ending goes especially quick. I need to figure out how to move the story along, in ...
5
votes
4answers
86 views

Is using too many different metres and rhyming schemes bad?

I have been working on a poem for some time now. It is divided into various "Parts" and it will be a long one when completed. Due to the very nature of what I am writing, I just let my thoughts and ...
5
votes
3answers
84 views

How to write in a more conversational tone?

I come from an academic background. Writing has always been an easy thing to me, but almost all of my practice outside of poetry has been in academic writing. I'll find myself writing in the way ...
5
votes
3answers
114 views

Different ways to emphasize

My previous question was "Are paragraph spacing used for emphasis?" and that got me thinking even deeper about emphasizing. I'd like to emphasize to create tension and make the reader continue ...
6
votes
2answers
144 views

How to determine which details are important enough to be mentioned in a text-based roleplay?

I have recently joined a real-time chat-based roleplay group. Most of the people seem to be sticking to 100 to 250 words when it comes to making their posts, but sometimes I get overly descriptive and ...
2
votes
1answer
95 views

How to write a good application? [closed]

I recently wrote an application to get into a different program for high school. Now I feel like I could have done better with being more formal and get my message across that this program is suitable ...