60 Answered Questions for the topic Style
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... more
How do you avoid the problem of all the characters in your story sounding the same?
There's a common flaw that I can easily detect in amateur writing, (and of course my own) which essentially boils down to all the characters "sounding the same", dialogue-wise anyway. Trying to... more
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... more
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... more
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... more
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... more
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... more
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?
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... more
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... more
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... more
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... more
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... more
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... more
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.... more
How much does style contribute to the overall value of a novel?
I've recently got a crushing critique. The critic pointed out I was obviously unfamiliar with the basic tools of the trade and that my style was non-existent. She insisted that "everybody can... more
Avoiding Deus Ex Machina resolutions?
Most Crime/Thriller Novels usually have a sudden, unexpected plot twist that puts the main character in a really hopeless situation.One way to resolve this is by using a "Deus Ex Machina", that is... more
How can I Switch Protagonists Between Books?
*Disclaimer: I am not intending on doing this. It is just a question I thought was fascinating and might be useful to other writers.* Here's the scenario. You're writing a series of novels. After... more
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... more
What does active voice mean?
I was reading on here about passive voice but didn't really know what active voice was. I read some examples but was hoping for more insight. What does it mean to write with the active voice?
What are the differences between narrative and descriptive writing?
What are the differences between narrative and descriptive writing? What should we keep in mind while writing it?
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?
Must every piece of speech get its own paragraph?
I've had a few people read pieces of narrative writing I've done, and they seem to take issue with the fact that I sometimes put a piece of speech inline with the rest of a non-dialogue paragraph,... more
Should a narrator ever describe things based on a character's view instead of facts?
There is something I find myself doing often while writing, and I don't even know what to call it, but I would like to know if its good practice. It happens when I'm writing from a third-person... more
Striking the balance between dialogue and narrative?
I am participating in [National Novel Writing Month](http://www.nanowrimo.org) this year. I have never in my life written so much of a single story. Although I am supposed to tell my inner editor... more