43 votes
Accepted

When my story has a powerful phrase but that loses its power when I read it again in the next day, should I keep it or remove it?

I believe it's better to steam through and finish your first draft without constant editing and second guessing everything you've written. This is because you will learn so much about your novel ...
TheNovelFactory's user avatar
31 votes

In fiction, what is meant by phrases such as "his eyes flashed anger for a moment"?

“His eyes flashed with anger for a moment” simply means the character looked angry for a second. Perhaps he immediately realized an interruption was important or he regained his composure in a tense ...
Tysto's user avatar
  • 319
27 votes

Should I use the term vis-à-vis? How should I decide when to use/avoid a term?

Showing Off: This is old-fashioned and unfortunately kind of high-brow. Depending on the audience, they are likely to just not get it/understand, and you risk sounding pretentious. Unless you're ...
DWKraus's user avatar
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18 votes

Should I use the term vis-à-vis? How should I decide when to use/avoid a term?

Vis-a-vis has multiple meanings, which are: in relation to (if used as preposition) opposed to (if used as an adverb) face to face meeting (if used as a noun) a counterpart (if used as a noun) ...
mishan's user avatar
  • 281
16 votes
Accepted

In fiction, what is meant by phrases such as "his eyes flashed anger for a moment"?

Writer At Work With the phrase... "...his eyes flashed anger for a moment” ...you've stumbled upon "The Writer at Work". Which means that the writer has interrupted your reader's reverie by ...
raddevus's user avatar
  • 6,467
14 votes

In fiction, what is meant by phrases such as "his eyes flashed anger for a moment"?

Taking this phrase at face value, I'd assume that the area surrounding the character's eyes (and not just the eyes themselves) show a very brief sign of anger that the character then manages to get ...
Llewellyn's user avatar
  • 3,305
12 votes
Accepted

Should I use the term vis-à-vis? How should I decide when to use/avoid a term?

Most answers so far have not addressed this specific context, and instead are addressing use of this phrase in writing more generally. Vis-à-vis is not unusual as a piece of corporate jargon, and ...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 389
8 votes
Accepted

Do writers copy other writers?

Well, first of all, Picasso never said it. Please see, for example, this investigation which could find no evidence to suggest Picasso ever said this. In fact, the earliest quote that could be found ...
Craig Sefton's user avatar
  • 11.6k
8 votes

When my story has a powerful phrase but that loses its power when I read it again in the next day, should I keep it or remove it?

+1 Mark, delete it. Make sure you have a backup of your manuscript for the day, you won't lose it. Then delete it and try something else. Psychologically speaking, a major problem for writers is our ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 99.6k
8 votes

How should you describe turning pages quickly?

I suspect your question will be closed as it leans to asking what to write (I'm not completely sure though, so no close vote from me yet), but I'll give you some of my ideas anyway. The GIF shows the ...
user11111111111's user avatar
6 votes

In fiction, what is meant by phrases such as "his eyes flashed anger for a moment"?

I narrowed my eyes at someone once, and only once. It was an unconscious reaction, but I was fully aware of doing it. It was quite a strange experience and I left feeling embarrassed knowing that I am ...
Mazura's user avatar
  • 497
6 votes

Alternative to "it is commonly said"

"It is commonly believed, that ____. However, ____" "It is a common misconception, that ____. In reality ____." "Many believe it to be true, that ____, when in fact ____." "You'd be forgiven for ...
storbror's user avatar
  • 2,571
6 votes

Should I use the term vis-à-vis? How should I decide when to use/avoid a term?

Depending on circumstance I probably would use vis-à-vis. But not, as has been pointed out, for a foreign audience. I once had someone complain about a sign I printed for him: Mater Misericordæ Me: It'...
Peter Wone's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

I have another question about adverbs. Can you check my instincts?

You're overthinking it Adverbs are, on the surface, not bad. Without them, certain sentences and phrases wouldn't sound right, and we couldn't convey what we wanted to. You're finding this out with ...
Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Alternative to "it is commonly said"

There are as many ways to say "here is an idea" as there are words. The second part doesn't matter for now; it will naturally follow the first. You are going to make a contrast, but first you are ...
user8356's user avatar
  • 1,313
5 votes

Should I use the term vis-à-vis? How should I decide when to use/avoid a term?

I disagree with several of the previous answers on this specific phrase--which I find perfectly natural and ordinary, and would expect most speakers to understand. (Even just from context, on the off ...
Tiercelet's user avatar
  • 181
5 votes

Trouble describing people standing around three of four sides of a rectangle?

Leave out the bits that don’t add anything. If it’s already established that the stage is rectangular, there is no need to mention the ‘U’ shape as that is inevitable if the are lining the edges of ...
Spagirl's user avatar
  • 904
4 votes

Do writers copy other writers?

I do not, to my knowledge ever. I am not a lawyer but I believe copyright applies: If the sentence or fragment you want to use is original (meaning it cannot be found in multiple sources or from a ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 99.6k
4 votes

Do writers copy other writers?

Stealing is bad. Quite aside from it being illegal, what satisfaction would you draw from presenting someone else's work? It's not yours, the praise it gets is not to you. Being inspired by another ...
Galastel supports GoFundMonica's user avatar
4 votes

How can I show a character looking around without just saying "I looked around"?

Instead of saying that your character is looking somewhere, you could use the opportunity to describe the situation and the scenery. My eyes scanned the crowd for any familiar face. This proved ...
Llewellyn's user avatar
  • 3,305
4 votes
Accepted

Is "Truth be told" a valid expression to be used in a written essay?

This is asking two different questions so I'll answer them in turn. First, yes, you can use "truth be told" in writing. The verb "tell" is not restricted to speech. Second, the ...
Dmann's user avatar
  • 721
4 votes
Accepted

Trouble describing people standing around three of four sides of a rectangle?

I can think of some better ways to phrase this. One idea might be: "The students stood on all but one edge of the stage in a U-shape so that all of them could face the door." You could also ...
lost_not_found's user avatar
3 votes

Do writers copy other writers?

I keep a notebook of all the most beautiful metaphors I read. Once in a blue moon, I'll pull it out and look through the pages, but never while I'm writing. I want to be inspired by their words, not ...
Neghie Thervil's user avatar
3 votes

Do writers copy other writers?

Structure, high level plot "mile markers," or archetypal elements are all fair game. I put this in the same space as "casting" your novel by picking people/actors to play roles in your works. At the ...
Kirk's user avatar
  • 7,590
3 votes

How to use the phrase 'by my undertanding' in a formal essay? Or it is formal already?

Typically you don't include any first person pronouns (such as "my") in formal essays. So instead of saying x is true by my understanding. you would say something like, It appears x is true. ...
levininja's user avatar
  • 1,844
3 votes
Accepted

How to describe a feeding hand motion in the following context

If it is from his perspective, the arm motion can simply be implied. You could go as you are, the implied position of the two is opposite sides of the table, and simply say, ‘she fed me the spoonful ...
Rasdashan's user avatar
  • 12.3k
3 votes
Accepted

What's a shorter way of saying, "If you had asked me, I would have said, 'I suppose'"?

It depends on the more subtle meaning you wish to convey. The obvious solution would be to combine it into one sentence: Rebecca lived in the same building as my wife and I, and was one our ...
Amadeus's user avatar
  • 99.6k
3 votes

Do writers copy other writers?

I'm a writer who will probably self-publish. I'm not a fiction author yet. I do not steal phrases from favorite authors, but I do steal phrases from all over, if they are generic but powerful. For ...
SFWriter's user avatar
  • 23.8k

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