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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13
votes
5answers
981 views

Avoiding cultural differences

I'm not a native English speaker, but I write in English. I'm now visiting the US, and I have made some very interesting observation regarding the way ordinary life goes on here. It made me think of ...
1
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4answers
292 views

“…and the fire from the stove engulfed him” or “jumped on him” or “covered him” or “devoured him” or what?

Which verb should I use here? He opened the stove and the fire from the stove [engulfed/jumped on/covered/devoured] him. "Help! Help!" - he shouted at once. "I'm on fire!"
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the most effective way to deal with flashbacks in a novel structure ?

In writing a novel, often flashbacks are difficult to manage: if too long and detailed, they can appear as second class (at worst, aborted) plots whose only task is to sustain the main plot line; if ...
10
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5answers
9k views

Little did he know

In the movie "Stranger Than Fiction" the professor of literature makes quite a big deal about the phrase "little did he know." I've written papers on "Little did he know." I've taught classes on "...
8
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2answers
433 views

How to emphasize a quote is written, not spoken?

In a similar question on EL&U, I asked about suggestions for indicating that a quote is written instead of spoken. Robusto's answer suggested several possible approaches: For longer quotes of ...
22
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17answers
5k views

Are complex sentences uncommon or unwanted in English?

I wrote my opinion essay using a lot of different complex grammatical structures, linking words and so on, and some of the sentences were even over 4 lines long. However, I was afterwards told by my ...
13
votes
1answer
370 views

Checklist for making sure your writing is Atomic?

Question: Can someone please give me a list of things to check when reviewing a document to make sure that it is atomic. Atomic? Meaning that anyone can start reading at any section in a document and ...
0
votes
1answer
125 views

Is there a way of listing the elements that makes a real fact fun?

For instance I wrote this thing that is real God’s love is like your parents love / except for the ‘‘burning, crying, and screaming for eternity in hell" part / if you don’t obey them. and ...
7
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3answers
3k views

When is it acceptable to use the first person (“I”, “we”) in technical reports?

When is it acceptable to use the first person ("I", "we") in technical reports?
4
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3answers
334 views

Simplicity is fundamental in design. How about in writing a novel?

I'm a web designer. The first rule in design is KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). How about writing a novel? Is simplicity fundamental or just an option?
11
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3answers
356 views

Is it a good idea to write a summary of a plot before writing the full version?

Sometimes when I write a plot I get confused about the motivations of the characters and how events connect as I change elements. Is it a good idea to write a summary first in order to organise ...
4
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3answers
1k views

How to achieve a dark and nostalgic feeling/setting in a novel?

I don't want to scare the reader, but I would like to produce a dark and nostalgic feeling. Pretty much the feeling that gives you this video (both image and music). The setting of my novel is a ...
5
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3answers
2k views

Pros ans cons of writing a plot based on the present and past tense (character's point of view)?

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
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6answers
296 views

Which version of these three lines is more likely to attract the interest of the reader ? (character's viewpoint vs omnicient narrator)

The first one is a suggestion I got from my previous question. The second one is a version based on the character's viewpoint. Which version is more likely to attract the interest of the reader (and ...
4
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6answers
251 views

Please help me improve this sentence…

In a first-person narrative, I’d like to use the following sentence: It took me nearly a decade to write this script, and now I’d pitch it to the top producer in Hollywood. I’m not following ...
6
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2answers
113 views

Could anyone point me in the direction of some resources on conversational writing?

I'm looking to improve my writing. I would love to know if anyone has any tips on developing an engaging conversational writing style.
6
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2answers
335 views

How can you build an interactive tone into articles?

I was wondering about tone in articles lately. My articles don't tend to be interactive. It feels like most of them are just flowing one way. How does actually tone contribute to the quality of an ...
1
vote
3answers
145 views

How to reword this: repeated back on him?

I don't know how to reword this: Along the way, we see how the faults Jacob made earlier in life are repeated back on him. I know repeated back on him doesn't sound correct, but I don't ...
1
vote
0answers
177 views

What are good dialog writing tips? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should dialog be formatted? Writing dialogue has been a challenge. From the punctuations to the tags, it all still very confusing for me. Some stuff I want to know: What ...
5
votes
2answers
253 views

How should I approach possibly unfamiliar pop culture in fiction?

So sometimes I get an idea that forms specifically around some aspect of pop culture. They're often song lyrics. If the reader knows the song, they appreciate the symbolism and allegory or whatever ...
14
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3answers
2k views

Getting emotional while writing, good or bad?

Once in a while I get really emotional when writing. Writing about love, jealousy or even thinking about a simple scene in which a father plays with his child can get some strong emotional responses ...
4
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1answer
2k views

Referencing a website using Harvard style

How can I reference a website using the Harvard style? How would this be different if no author was listed?
3
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1answer
102 views

Personal Page - review request [closed]

I have created my personal about page, based on "The Personal Page" template. As a non-native English speaker I worry, that my attempt at telegraphic style is riddled with questionable use ...
13
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7answers
2k views

When should a chapter end?

When writing a novel, when should I end a chapter? Note that I'm not talking about chapter word-count (that topic was discussed here). I'm interested to know when should I end my chapters ...
12
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5answers
2k views

How should dialog be formatted?

Is there any "official" rule that I should keep in mind when formatting character dialog? Line breaks, placement of quotes, mixing dialog with action descriptions etc. For example, I want to build a ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

How to make a letter interesting?

I have a question regarding the art of letter writing. I believe in the old-fashioned way of maintaining pen friendships (not necessarily a relationship, but could be) through hand-written letters, ...
2
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4answers
490 views

How can I write poems in an attractable manner?

I have written several poems, but only very few won prices. Those poems impressed people very much, so I want you to share your thoughts, what are the key things I have to focus on or I have to keep ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What does “Exposition and Ammunition – back story” mean in screenwriting?

I am just starting my first screen writing class and I got an assignment that says: Exposition and Ammunition – back story. I have been searching online but I don't get it. Can someone explain it for ...
3
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0answers
302 views

Is Strunk and White's “The Elements” full of “stupid grammar advice?” [closed]

In a previous question I asked about The Elements, RegDwight posted a comment containing a link to this article by Geoffrey K. Pullum: 50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice. There is also a lengthier ...
5
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3answers
235 views

What revisions for this draft would be more readable and/or more humorous?

Notes: My audience knows that adrenaline and epinephrine are synonyms. I'm new! I'm sorry if I abuse the site by posting this! Please critique ruthlessly. I would send by Facebook message to a ...
6
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5answers
510 views

Using uncommon abbreviations

Something which I see all the time in (popular) science writing is the use of abbreviations to indicate concepts. For (a made up) example: So when we're dealing with Anachronistic Meta Mechanics (...
8
votes
8answers
3k views

Verb tense for technical document titles

I'm writing a technical manual about creating database systems, and wondered what is the best verb tense for title names. My ideas are: Continuous (-ing) form: (e.g. "Creating a Cluster", "Creating ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Strunk and White vs “Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace” by Williams and Colomb

I'd like to improve my writing and have been considering getting either The Elements of Style by Strunk and White or Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace by Williams and Colomb. What are their ...
11
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8answers
2k views

What are the tricks to avoid repetition in writing?

After some time of working on my research, I usually have a structured information of my results, which I can best describe in bullets/numbers. Unfortunately, this is not what academia expects. For ...
31
votes
4answers
17k views

Dashes vs. Commas vs. parentheses?

Occasionally I write sentences containing subparts with extra information. I never know how to block off this information from the rest of the sentence. Three ways I have seen are dashes, commas, and ...
5
votes
4answers
535 views

Rules and resources for scientific writing

The writing style in scientific papers in the natural sciences, e.g. chemistry and biology, seems very different from many other kinds of writing. There are usually severe restrictions on the length ...
5
votes
1answer
135 views

What are some appropriate uses of readability tests?

Do you use readability metrics (such as Gunning fog or Flesch-Kincaid) as you're working on a piece? If so, how do you use them, and what benefit do you get from using them?
6
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2answers
2k views

How to write great movie review?

What should we write in a movie review?
11
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9answers
3k views

Where to find some good examples of combat or action scenes?

I always learn a lot about about writing by reading other works and following their examples. Right now I'm very bad at writing action scenes; the best I can do is write around them, describing the ...
21
votes
4answers
802 views

As a non-native English speaker, Is it better to get translated or get copyedited for long texts?

My English level is average. I can write fluently and my vocabulary is not too limited. With the thought in mind that the end result must be perfect, is it better for me to write my long text (100 ...
8
votes
2answers
370 views

A Polish manual of style.

English language has a number of popular manuals of style. There's Chicago Manual of Style, Elements of Style etc. Do you know any such resource for the Polish language?
13
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4answers
1k views

How can I transition from academic writing to fiction writing?

I always receive the same critique when I write fiction. The critique is good for my characters and plot, but I am told that my writing style is stiff, awkward and amateurish. When I wrote academic ...
30
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11answers
3k 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 ...
17
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5answers
1k views

What is flash fiction?

Is it simply defined by its short word count? Or are there other accepted conventions in flash fiction? If it's just the word count, how short is too short? How long is too long?
39
votes
4answers
3k views

How do you avoid purple prose?

I try to watch out for bland, overused adjectives and I keep adverbs to a minimum but -- I hear this phrase a lot and I'm not even sure what it means?
11
votes
2answers
6k views

Techniques for writing internal monologue

I've seen the thoughts of a character written in a few different ways: Example 1: Indirect Ender liked it better, though, when two boys played against each other. Then they had to use each other's ...
13
votes
4answers
113k views

Citation in AP style journalism

I'm writing feature articles and trying to adhere to AP style, but I'm not sure how to attribute a source. I'm familiar with academic citation (APA, MLA), but have never done this in journalism. What'...
13
votes
5answers
874 views

How much should I describe things or persons, that are not important for the story?

I discussed a book with a friend, and he disliked that the author described a person who is dying shortly after and has no further effect on the story over a page or more. The same would go for things;...
13
votes
3answers
6k views

Writing 19th century upperclass English dialog

I was recently rereading bits of Pride and Prejudice and the dialog is absolutely brilliant. How can I learn to write dialog that sounds like it is from this general era? For example are there any ...
13
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5answers
1k views

When is a prologue useful?

Prologues tend to get a bad rap on the internet, and sometimes for good reason. They're often used by as an excuse to start a novel with an info-dump. However, it seems to me that people often ...