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American English convention is double quotes for dialog, with single quotes reserved for nested dialog, so we can rule single quotes out. The other three are all legitimate choices, with differing impact. O'Malley remembered the witness's directions precisely: "Take the first left on Pine, then the second right on Maple." This is being reported ...


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I, personally, as a "modern reader" do not prefer heavy and overly-detailed blocks of text. That is the main reason why I struggle to read classics and tend to gravitate to newer novels. Sometimes I might even skip over portions of text because I don't feel like it's very important or the author is just droning on. However, I also don't like when ...


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An effective method of characterization is to draw attention to the 'things' the character notices as they move the setting. The objects that you notice when you enter a room can reflect a lot about your inner state. For instance, if you come home when you are really tired and exhausted, the comfortableness of a sofa with lots of pillows might be the thing ...


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If the loss of that character proves to be very tragic for the rest, you might consider having him or her die before page one of book one. Then, the rest of the characters start off devastated and have to work through their grief before admitting another into their ranks. The story of the deceased character could be told via flashbacks, fond memories, ...


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I would suggest going with the italicized version as we get to be inside the characters head somewhat since he is recalling an experience he had, as opposed to having the narrator spell out a scene which we don't really know happened or not. It gives the reader a chance to get a little more involved with the story.


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A novel in the form of a diary tends to concentrate attention on the narrator's PoV, even more than a more usual first-person narrative. It also tends to focus things more on the passage of tiem, because each entry must be made without knowledge of future events, while a non-diary first-person work can include intentional foreshadowing by the narrator, and ...


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