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46 votes
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Using fake swear words without them seeming out of place to the reader

First, I would not do the "translation" of your last sentence. Second, you need to understand that swear words are typically one or two syllables, and the audio effect needs to be somewhat similar. ...
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32 votes

Writing in a Christian voice

Read authentic Christian voices Find works written by religious Christians on religious subjects, and read them. These can either be non-fiction works, or stories with religious themes. Ideally, ...
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23 votes

How do male and female writing styles differ?

There have been some observations of business writing/interaction that suggest that women apologize more in business settings and interrupt less. But I wouldn't consider that to be especially useful ...
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21 votes
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Repeated Use of Short Sentences

Short sentences are short. Simple. They don't tend to be that complicated. They're easy to understand. Yes, the period is something that makes people stop. But when you have many separate phrases that ...
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  • 1,780
21 votes

Is italicizing parts of dialogue for emphasis ever appropriate?

It's not that it's always a bad thing - and to directly answer your question it can be appropriate to use it. Where it's bad is when it is over-used, specifically when the writer relies on it to place ...
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  • 6,497
18 votes

Using fake swear words without them seeming out of place to the reader

Keep it consistent throughout the story and don't use lots of words. Making up one or two is better than four, and keep using those. Make his audience gasp when they hear him saying the word. Make ...
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16 votes
Accepted

Instruction manuals: should the end-user be addressed directly (passive vs imperative)?

Use direct, simple, clear, imperative instructions. Passive voice and subjunctive make your language unclear and complicated for an international audience. Luckily in this respect there is no ...
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15 votes

Writing in a Christian voice

Every social group has its own dialect: that's called a sociolect. As dialects, it is hard to pick a sociolect for an outsider. Think how many writers handle teenager language in a horrible way. ...
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14 votes

Using fake swear words without them seeming out of place to the reader

I think this is a good technique, I've recommended it myself elsewhere here, but it needs to align with how people really create and use words. Curse words and oaths are generally used for shock ...
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14 votes
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Is it possible to narrate a novel in a faux-historical style without alienating the reader?

There's multiple pitfalls to consider here: The first is the Uncanny Valley concern you mention in the OP - actually being able to write in the style of the time period to a suitable level of ...
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  • 6,497
13 votes

How do I differentiate between the "voices" of my characters in a multi-character POV?

How do the people speaking around you, wherever you are, speak differently? How do your favorite authors give characters different voices? Here are a few ways your characters might differ: Different ...
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13 votes
Accepted

How do I differentiate between the "voices" of my characters in a multi-character POV?

Well, kind of a wide question, but you already got the hang of it: the entire worldview, it changes from character to character The whole point is having a clear idea of who your character are. As ...
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13 votes

Writing in a Christian voice

Perhaps the crux of the problem is you are thinking of Pam as a Baptist. While I was in the hospital, I befriended a former missionary who had spent twenty five years in China. I made the mistake of ...
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13 votes

Writing in a Christian voice

Pam might also consider that some supernatural forces other than God are involved. Basically, four possibilities spring to mind: This is the legitimate voice of God speaking This is some other ...
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12 votes
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How do I stop my writing sounding like a bad imitation of whatever author I've just been reading?

The first thing you should do is look at the answer to this question. Then realize that this is not an issue, but something that you can use greatly to your advantage. However, you still have the ...
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11 votes

Writing in a Christian voice

What Southern Baptists teach Hell is as central to the Christian mythos as Heaven. Maybe "central" is not the right term, they co-exist as a sort of carrot and stick – arguably for the same purpose, ...
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  • 24.2k
11 votes

Writing in a Christian voice

Overdoing it is worse than underdoing it. This isn't a complete answer, but remember that Christians are, before anything else, people. Yes, they might see the world differently, but then again, not ...
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  • 209
10 votes

Writing in a Christian voice

Growing up in Israel, I am surrounded by Jews. Interacting with Christian acquaintances, and reading literature written by religious Christians, there are a few things I noticed - things that stood ...
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10 votes

Is italicizing parts of dialogue for emphasis ever appropriate?

Item #1: Words are just tools First, writing is ultimately about conveying something. If your words convey to the reader what you want them to, they're good by definition. It's just a question of: ...
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  • 201
9 votes
Accepted

What is it called when the reader is the focal point?

When the reader is the focal point, it is called second person.
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  • 376
9 votes

Using fake swear words without them seeming out of place to the reader

Fake swear words are a staple, particularly in otherworld fantasy and science fiction. But most of the fake swear words that I can think of are real words, just not ones that are typically used as ...
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9 votes

Is it possible to narrate a novel in a faux-historical style without alienating the reader?

In art, there are essentially 2 ways of creating a new work in an old style. RETRO – attempts to preserve all aspects of the old style, including the themes and techniques that were appropriate to ...
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  • 24.2k
8 votes

How can one not let their voice show through in all the characters?

The other answers are good but they strike me as abstract. Maybe I'm a philistine, but I like my advice concrete and practical. Different people naturally use different: Vocabulary Sentence length ...
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  • 1,162
8 votes

How do male and female writing styles differ?

It is hard, I think, to create an authentic voice of a different sex because you can't get inside and hear the truth of an internal voice. I often wonder what on earth my husband's internal voice is ...
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  • 9,893
7 votes
Accepted

What are the drawbacks of writing too much in the active voice?

The passive voice is a grammatical tool, and like any tool it can be overused. However, passive voice does have legitimate uses; there are times it makes sense to use it. This is particularly the case ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Who should I use for my POV character?

Why not use all three? Write it in third person and alternate chapters from different POVs. I love reading books that do that. You could have a main character that gets the most chapters or you ...
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  • 713
7 votes

Is it acceptable to use synonyms to achieve rhythm?

Authors often look to synonym dictionaries to find words different than what first occurs to them, but this is generally NOT to achieve rhythm, but to find a more accurate or evocative word for what ...
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