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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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How do you vary dialogue within stories? [duplicate]

How do you vary dialogue within stories? I often find myself writing "'sentence/dialogue' said character", and it sometimes gets really repetitive. How is this managed? These are the only words that ...
JFW's user avatar
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14 votes
4 answers
21k views

How to create varying, yet realistic, speech patterns

Different characters speak differently. If someone reads me a letter written by an immediate relative, I can tell right away who wrote it. I believe --and correct me if I'm wrong-- that giving each ...
Yehuda Shapira's user avatar
14 votes
8 answers
3k views

How do I stop my writing sounding like a bad imitation of whatever author I've just been reading?

I like to read across a variety of authors, genres, and publication dates. Whenever I sit down to write something of my own immediately after marathoning a book or series, I tend to unconsciously use ...
Kitkat's user avatar
  • 265
14 votes
3 answers
1k views

'Filling' up a school setting without making a bunch of new characters?

In a school setting, what is a way to allude that a school is full of students, without making new characters or overusing pre-existing ones? A school is the main setting of a book. The main and ...
sonics29's user avatar
  • 413
14 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Ido Tamir's user avatar
  • 1,411
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Striking the balance between dialogue and narrative

I am participating in National Novel Writing Month this year. I have never in my life written so much of a single story. Although I am supposed to tell my inner editor to shut up this month, she is ...
Kit Z. Fox's user avatar
  • 1,995
14 votes
2 answers
655 views

What are methods to refer to something that happened but did not make it onto the page?

As writers we're supposed to know more about our stories than the words that make it onto the page. Can a character refer to something that happened, but happened off-page? As the writer, I know that ...
SFWriter's user avatar
  • 23.8k
13 votes
8 answers
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 ...
Rasdashan's user avatar
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13 votes
7 answers
4k 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. ...
Igor's user avatar
  • 439
13 votes
7 answers
3k 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 ...
Ido Tamir's user avatar
  • 1,411
13 votes
9 answers
7k views

When can You Pause the Story and Speak Directly to the Reader?

Note: This question was previously about breaking the fourth wall. I discovered that my interpretation of that phrase was wrong. I have therefore rewritten the question. (The above is in place to ...
Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
1k 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 ...
Ido Tamir's user avatar
  • 1,411
13 votes
6 answers
284 views

Writing for an Audio book. What are specifics?

What are specific requirements, a writer should follow, when writing something that is going to be (or just can possibly be) not only read but listened as well?
rem's user avatar
  • 1,143
13 votes
2 answers
8k views

How to show, not tell, a character has an accent in the narrative?

India has a diverse range of languages and accents. Moreover, people from different parts of the country have different accents of speaking the same language as well. For example, a person from ...
Karan Desai's user avatar
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13 votes
5 answers
929 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;...
Mnementh's user avatar
  • 2,032
13 votes
3 answers
7k 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 ...
Casebash's user avatar
  • 233
13 votes
8 answers
877 views

Initial Writing Medium

I am curious which is better for a beginning writer (or writer) starting a new story. Pen and paper or the computer? Pen & Paper is a lot more sketchy (like the layout of this site) which gives ...
Justin Svetlik's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
310 views

Is it a flaw if a book is readable, flows well, and gets the point across, BUT you can tell that the author is a non-native?

Even though English is not my first language, I have completed writing a fiction book in English. I have been in the US for over 40 years and I believe that I have a good command of the language. (...
Gilly's user avatar
  • 131
13 votes
5 answers
121k 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'...
Caveatrob's user avatar
  • 389
13 votes
4 answers
389 views

What are the usual methods for getting a daily word count?

Do, normally, only words which are eventually to be kept count, or do you also count rewrites? For example, if I rewrite a 50 word paragraph 10 times, is my daily count up to 50 or up to 500?
blueberryfields's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
381 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 ...
leeand00's user avatar
  • 301
13 votes
4 answers
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 ...
user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
2k 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 ...
sjohnston's user avatar
  • 4,765
12 votes
9 answers
4k 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 ...
Caspian's user avatar
  • 1,475
12 votes
9 answers
2k 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 ...
Liquid's user avatar
  • 15.9k
12 votes
4 answers
5k 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 ...
Sayaman's user avatar
  • 14.9k
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 ...
Nabi's user avatar
  • 307
12 votes
7 answers
886 views

What constitutes a 'hook?'

I intuit that hooks are things that hook. (I'm quite astute in this way.) They can be good prose, relatable characters, rich settings. Books must start with a 'hook.' This is a current truism. The ...
SFWriter's user avatar
  • 23.8k
12 votes
6 answers
4k 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 ...
Liquid's user avatar
  • 15.9k
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Misdirection for suspense/plot twists - what's acceptable and what's dishonest?

Note: I'm primarily asking this question because while Surtsey, the original asker of the question didn't actually ask a thing (and instead copy-pasted an excerpt of a novel) I believe it's a ...
Matthew Dave's user avatar
  • 9,134
12 votes
7 answers
30k views

What's the difference between academic and journalistic writing?

I'm not talking about "boring" academic papers that are 99% science and 0% interesting. But in comments on a draft of my senior thesis, my teacher made the comment that my writing style was quite "...
Thomas Shields's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
424 views

How can I ensure that my documentation is understandable both for native and non-native speakers?

In short: When writing documentation that will be read both by Anglophones and non-native speakers of English who have various levels of language proficiency, how do I make sure that both these ...
user avatar
12 votes
6 answers
3k views

How to write more clearly and with shorter sentences?

I struggle with writing an awful lot and would like to improve. One of my main problems (and the reason why writing seems to take me a very long time) is that I seem to be unable to write in shorter ...
Meep's user avatar
  • 223
12 votes
6 answers
2k views

Can I switch from past tense to present tense in an epilogue?

I have written my entire novel thus far in past tense. However, I feel like my final chapter/epilogue would work better in present tense. I want to give the reader the sense that everything s/he has ...
Coffie's user avatar
  • 121
12 votes
4 answers
1k views

When should I avoid the passive voice? When might I use it?

An opinion exists that overusing of the passive voice can make writing harder for reading and understanding. Is it true for all kinds of writing? How to follow this advice without overemphasizing it? ...
rem's user avatar
  • 1,143
12 votes
9 answers
777 views

Swearing in a book, within a context. Too offensive?

I am currently writing a science fiction novel. The characters are almost uniformly pirates and/or miners in the asteroid belt. Having worked in the mining industry, and grown up around mining towns ...
Smoj's user avatar
  • 243
12 votes
5 answers
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 ...
Ido Tamir's user avatar
  • 1,411
12 votes
4 answers
57k views

Abbreviation for "figures" in scientific papers

In scientific papers, the term "Figure" -- referring to an illustration in the text -- is often abbreviated as "Fig." But is "Figures" abbreviated as "Figs", "Fig.s" or "Figs."? I am proofreading a ...
JAM's user avatar
  • 335
12 votes
5 answers
868 views

Switching POV: Should it ever be done at all?

When I started, I had a nasty habit of hopping from perspective to perspective to perspective. I forced myself down to one perspective per chapter, but I still wonder if it's acceptable to do it at ...
Satanicpuppy's user avatar
  • 2,399
12 votes
8 answers
2k views

How do I sound like Thanos when I write?

This is really a dumb question but as a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I have watched Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame so many times. One of the most interesting things that popped ...
BlueMagic1923's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is it bad style if the personal first person narrator of a story dies during said story?

Right now I'm writing a novel in which I use the changing perspectives of two main characters with limited information each to slowly unveil the whole plot to the reader. Both use the past tense and ...
DLCom's user avatar
  • 307
12 votes
9 answers
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 ...
user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
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'...
April  Salutes Monica C.'s user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
302 views

Notes Placement

Why is it standard for a book's notes to be placed at the very end of the book—book endnotes—while only a small minority of books place each chapter's notes at the end of each respective chapter—...
Adam Rackis's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
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 ...
sjohnston's user avatar
  • 4,765
11 votes
7 answers
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 ...
The White Cloud's user avatar
11 votes
6 answers
2k views

Why is it generally important to be consistent with the tone and style of writing?

I was thinking of writing a story that starts out as a serious drama, but suddenly shifts to a comedic tone without any clear reason or transition. I thought it would subvert expectation and make the ...
Sayaman's user avatar
  • 14.9k
11 votes
4 answers
2k views

Using "show not tell" while characters are planning for something that happens

In a narrative I'm writing, the characters have to plan an escape from a facility. The thing is, they'll be doing the actual escape in the chapter following them planning. I know usually the right way ...
RE Lavender's user avatar
  • 1,185
11 votes
7 answers
4k views

Intentionally leaving out a part of the story, for a more interesting reveal?

In the story I am writing, I have a character who is working on a project and will present it to a group of judges who will mark it in a sort of examination. The project is a source of stress for the ...
Erdrik Ironrose's user avatar
11 votes
6 answers
2k views

Mentioning quickly repeated events in first person?

When writing in first person, is it better to mention as little repetition of events as possible? Or can it improve writing in some cases to have a character duplicate previous events and have them ...
Jonathon D.'s user avatar

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