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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.

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7 votes
6 answers
7k views

Can your narrator talk to the reader of the novel?

This is an excerpt from a novel I have started writing. Penry laughed. His face changed instantly. His disbelief changed into happiness, into almost the serenity in my dreams. It seemed to be ...
8 votes
3 answers
180 views

When and how often should you edit the style and content of a story?

An early story I wrote I edited again and again to make it better, but in the end I got the feeling the result was worse than before. Recently I tried to write short stories in one go and only check ...
3 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
5 votes
3 answers
183 views

How can a practical learner get up to speed on APA quickly?

I'd like to learn the APA style guide, so that, in addition to the fiction and general non-fiction I work on currently, I can start accepting academic editing jobs. However, I know very little about ...
0 votes
2 answers
3k views

How do I punctuate a slogan?

I have the following slogan: I sell, I build I want to make sure it's clear and concise. I did not add a period, because I know it's not a full sentence. However, I want to make sure it's ...
0 votes
2 answers
85 views

Thoughts on using "looking to" in marketing content

I've been writing content for years, and over the last 6 or so, in marketing for software companies. Very often, I'll see sentences include "looking to" as a way to explain that the reader ...
1 vote
1 answer
77 views

What is this literary device called?

A direct quote from the bible is changed for comedic effect. Is it an allusion? maybe a paronomastic pan? And God said: “Let there be cake. And there was cake. And God saw that it was good.”
6 votes
8 answers
600 views

As a British writer writing a story set in America, should I write the narration in British or American English?

I asked this question on the English Language & Usage site but I thought it useful to ask here, too, since it is a writing issue. I'm writing a book that's primarily set in America; my protagonist ...
0 votes
3 answers
172 views

How do I write in a sophisticated manner (though not convoluted)?

I would like my writing to be sophisticated, but find it difficult. I think this is since I have trouble understanding sophisticated passages. So no matter how well I know grammar, I can never arrange ...
0 votes
2 answers
140 views

How to provide translations, moods, and registry in multilanguage dialog within an narration in English?

I am starting a serious writing project (a novel book from a story I once drafted as a TV show; I am not a script writer either). Furthermore I decided to write in English, which is not my native ...
1 vote
2 answers
95 views

If a quotation makes up all of a person's speech does it still need to be in its own quote marks?

I have the following speech in a book I'm designing: Seeing him hesitate, she said lightly, ‘“‘There’s both meat and music here,’ quoth the dog as he ate the piper’s bag”!’ Essentially someone is ...
5 votes
2 answers
441 views

How should I format a surprise scene change such that it reads coherently but is still a surprise?

In the current WIP chapter of my most popular web serial, there is a scene at the beginning that is presented as happening "now" (that is, having regular story focus) only to be suddenly ...
0 votes
2 answers
117 views

Drafts and Sentence Complexity

Some writing has complex sentence structure. Many times, this is because its authors derived it from drafts that had complex sentence structure already. But I read that writers can combine simpler ...
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Pros and cons of writing a first person narrative in the present versus past tense?

I'm not sure if I should write my first book in the present or past tense. The book is about a doctor in a clinic who is analysing his patients. E.g.: I said vs I say. I thought for a while vs I ...
3 votes
2 answers
80 views

Difficulty describing a complex image in a single sentence

I am having difficulty explaining that the sun evaporated the fog that had brushed up against the blooming hills. When I add "with spectacular wildflower blooms", it sounds as if the sun ...
5 votes
5 answers
35k views

How should I write "shush" in a narrative?

I said shshshsh! I know I could say shush, but there are times when I really have to say shshshshsh. What would be the best way of writing this. Maybe Shhhhhh?
3 votes
5 answers
191 views

How do I introduce my readers to new words as gracefully as possible?

Let me apologize in advance if this question has been asked before. The ones I found only discuss this issue in the context of writing in general and do not touch on writing narrative fiction. I am ...
4 votes
5 answers
326 views

How to show a character with multiple personalitites?

To preface this, I have seen the question multiple personalities characters speech in text and I feel that my question is different enough, to warrant a separate question. In my book, a character has ...
1 vote
1 answer
100 views

A Question on 'Topical Progression': How to Address Internal Inconsistencies in the Framework

(This question has been moved from English Language Stack Exchange on account of relevancy.) In my mission to improve my writing, I have come across a concept called 'topical progression' (discussed ...
0 votes
1 answer
72 views

Do constrained writing exercises improve verbal skills?

If one writes daily, not aiming to strengthen any one writing skill of theirs, will they enhance their prose style? People are told often that daily writing will strengthen their writing skills. And ...
1 vote
2 answers
165 views

How can I write in a very high and sophisticated style, not being pompous, but showing empathy?

A fundamental trait of good writing which I've often neglected is empathy, the encompasser of many good qualities of prose. Whether the King James Bible, (whose style I had long wished to imitate, ...
12 votes
7 answers
5k views

Is it better for me to add more advanced words into my book, or is it better to use easy words that any average English-speaker can understand?

To be completely honest, my English vocabulary isn’t that advanced. Currently, my writing-style is very simple and easy to understand. It doesn’t use extremely advanced wording to express things. I’m ...
2 votes
2 answers
192 views

How do I fit the scene ideas to the plot?

I have lots of very cool and developed scene ideas, but when I think about them, they seem to be seperate from the plot. It's like instead of the protagonist sailing on a boat down a river, they're ...
6 votes
5 answers
841 views

As a writer, how can I avoid exposing myself as a non-native English speaker in my texts?

I am a Japanese student learning English, and one of my current goals is to learn to write texts in such a way that no reader will realize I am not a native speaker. I am humbly seeking advice on how ...
6 votes
6 answers
6k views

How short can a poem be until it can no longer be a poem?

I am on a small journey to help me understand what the definition of a poem is to different people, what poems mean to them. This made me wonder, some poems are longer than others, so: How short ...
7 votes
8 answers
2k views

What are good ways to improve as a writer other than writing courses?

As a novice writer to improve my writing I have taken one online course. I want to ask, what are good ways to improve as a writer other than writing courses?
2 votes
3 answers
143 views

What's the best way to write a 2-person story, primarily involving interaction?

I am writing a short story that only has 2 characters, and is written in the third person. I am deciding between script-type writing: Character 1: "Wow! these are my words!" He smiles ...
43 votes
16 answers
13k 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
2 answers
11k views

Bullets vs. Numbering: which to use when?

A writer can either choose to use bullets or else stick to conventional (or in certain cases non-conventional) numbering. Are there set guidelines about when to use what? Is the use of numbering ...
0 votes
4 answers
162 views

Which Is Clearer: 'Being pressed' or 'Pressed'?

Consider these two sentences: [1] Being pressed against the wall, he struggled to break free. [2] Pressed against the wall, he struggled to break free. I've recently spent some time reading grammar ...
0 votes
2 answers
92 views

How exactly are you supposed to write a paragraph that contains a consistent theme throughout?

I have noticed as a writer that one of my greatest weaknesses is writing paragraphs. I never really learned exactly how a paragraph is supposed to support one single theme. For instance, this is a ...
7 votes
7 answers
1k views

Does writing in a certain mood change how a writer writes?

I'm not sure if this is right for this part of Stackexchange, but since there is no psychology section, here we go: I'm currently writing the same short story several times with the intention of ...
2 votes
2 answers
139 views

How to refer to alternate versions of a character in a non-sci-fi way?

I'm writing a story featuring a plot element which is a variation on A Christmas Carol involving the multiverse. A character is escorted to other timelines, where she looks at where those versions of ...
4 votes
2 answers
585 views

How can I recognize and take constructive criticism?

Personally, for me, I have ADHD and mild autism, so at times I don't have the same views as the majority. For example, I like the ending/plot of this one book/show/movie, only for me to find out that ...
0 votes
4 answers
148 views

How does one write a paper "in character?" I don't know how to begin

For the course project, you will write about a historical event between 1865 and the present day from the perspective of a historical figure who participated in the event. You will need to research ...
5 votes
6 answers
560 views

How Should We Implement the Given-before-New Principle in Fiction?

It's safe to say I've become a bit of a grammar nerd since I started writing my first novel. Three years after my first words landed on the page, I'm only now coming to the end of my final round of ...
3 votes
2 answers
113 views

Conveying to someone through eMail that they are the one millionth customer of my product without sounding suspicious

Say I owned a website, game, product, etc. and wanted to tell someone by eMail that they are the one millionth customer of mine, and maybe even promise them a reward. The problem is that eMails of ...
7 votes
4 answers
30k views

Describing common hand gestures

While writing stories how do I describe the action of common hand gestures, for instance the "come on" signal. Is there any reference? I found a list of hand gestures in wikipedia but obviously it's ...
0 votes
2 answers
160 views

Is it better to create a new word, or add anew connotation to an already existing word? Does it matter?

This question arose from another question I asked on the English Language & Usage Stack: "Is there a specific name for that singular exhalation laugh that happens when you read something only ...
-2 votes
3 answers
89 views

What is a word that would best fit in this sentence?

The Harlem Renaissance has changed America in a ________ way. I'm trying to make the sentence sound professional. Here is what I had at first: The Harlem Renaissance has changed America in a great way....
2 votes
1 answer
114 views

How to have emotional range whilst maintaining a consistent tone/mood/atmosphere?

I know that a good way of enriching your writing is to include a range of emotions, obviously following a flow, and making sure it makes sense overall, not just cycling through them just to check them ...
-1 votes
3 answers
64 views

Spacing around (and types of) dashes in American English

I'm not a native English speaker, and the way American English texts typically use em-dashes without spaces to separate sentence parts seems very strange and even disruptive for me. For example: &...
0 votes
0 answers
40 views

Non finite (..ing) v finite (..ed) verb form correct usage

The rhythm of these 3 excerpts below are different, they read to me more or less the same though. Are any actually grammatically wrong? It's funny the sort of questions that pop up when you start ...
3 votes
2 answers
219 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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
116 views

Are fake movie titles mentioned in dialogue italicized?

So, a made-up title like All Loud on the Eastern Front, in dialogue, would it be italicized?
31 votes
12 answers
4k views

What's Essential In A Combat Scene?

I've just been reading a bunch of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books. Although they were the most enjoyable read I'd had in ages I always found myself skimming long segments that described involved ...
14 votes
10 answers
3k views

Is it overkill to follow style-guides for technical writing?

I currently work for an engineering company as an electrical engineer. A good chunk of my time is spent writing testing reports or instruction documents. Currently my company doesn't have any sort of ...
2 votes
3 answers
473 views

How can I write in first person present tense without it being annoying or distracting?

I am currently writing a story in first person and present tense. I've read a lot about what various people think of this perspective and I've heard many people say they enjoy it when it's done well, ...
10 votes
9 answers
72k views

How to describe an angry voice in dialogue?

I've been looking for a word to describe this tone of voice for a long time but never came across it. Now let me just spread a pinch of context. It's a first person novel, and our protagonist is very ...
6 votes
1 answer
339 views

Punctuation-Quote or Quote-Punctuation?

I'm writing a document using the Chicago Manual of Style. I don't have access to the full guide, only to what's provided on-line. Now I wondering as to whether, in the main text itself, I should use ...

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