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Q&A

General Q&A about the craft of professional writing, editing, and publishing. Questions about all types of writing are welcome -- fiction, technical documentation, scholarly articles, poetry, scriptwriting, blogs, and more.

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What is the Current State-of-the-Art / Any Successful Experiements with EPUB Format?

As a zipped web-page, EPUB has long offered the possibility of completely changing how a book looks and feels with dynamic content and interactive content. But since EPUB came out (2007), I really...

3 answers  ·  posted 5mo ago by James McLellan‭  ·  last activity 4d ago by James McLellan‭

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For starting a blog, is a niche blog or general/misc content better?

I am thinking of starting a blog and wondering how I should approach it. Is it better to have a niche blog or is general/miscellaneous content fine?

4 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by yashikaissrani‭  ·  last activity 11d ago by Strider‭

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Steps in writing a university assignment paper

Can someone please explain me the steps in writing a university assignment paper.

1 answer  ·  posted 3mo ago by Baleonkennedy ‭  ·  last activity 3mo ago by arpitsinha‭

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How to organize ideas to start writing a novel?

Beginner here. So, I have tons of ideas for a novel, and in fact I want to write one (even a series), but I'm struggling a lot in actually starting writing the story. I have ideas for characters an...

8 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by KLTKGK‭  ·  last activity 3mo ago by arpitsinha‭

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Want to Expand my Writing Career as Freelancer [closed]

I've been working as a content writer and blogger for a few local agencies. I want to start freelancing this year but am slightly afraid to start. Could anyone help me how to start freelancing as a...

0 answers  ·  posted 4mo ago by proptijohn‭  ·  closed 4mo ago by Mithical‭

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Should writers shun cognate stems that share roots, because readers take longer to process these stems? [closed]

Question 1 Here I am asking about merely reading and writing. Do human readers take longer to distinguish between stems (and bases) that share the same root, even if merely picoseconds? For exa...

0 answers  ·  posted 4mo ago by TextKit‭  ·  closed 4mo ago by Canina‭

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Sphinx: API documentation: How to turn off creating links to Parameter/Argument link creation

For projects with API documentation generated by Sphinx, I've noticed that some project's don't include links to the Parameter/Argument types (str, file-like object, int, etc) and some projects do....

0 answers  ·  posted 4mo ago by CodeFarmer‭

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Avoiding racist tropes in fantasy

I'm interested in starting a pleasure project: a fantasy story, along the lines of a witch delivering a prophecy to a king about a dangerous and deceitful foe who will overthrow him, and the king e...

9 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by weakdna says reinstate monica‭  ·  last activity 5mo ago by James McLellan‭

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HTML tags versus CSS classes: is one preferred over the other for the same styling?

We publish documentation online using HTML. For things like fixed parameter names and other code literals, we use &lt;code&gt; tags. My question is about styling these in tables. On our referenc...

2 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 7mo ago by Canina‭

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Why didn't 18-19th century Anglophone authors shorten their sentences, by starting more with Majuscules? Why lengthen them with commas, (semi)colons?

Shorter sentences have been proven more readable. Thus why didn't the authors below sunder their lengthy sentences, prolongated by commas and (semi)colons? Why not divide them into shorter sentence...

0 answers  ·  posted 9mo ago by TextKit‭  ·  edited 9mo ago by TextKit‭

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Why didn't 18-19th century Anglophone authors shorten their sentences, by starting more with Majuscules? Why lengthen them with comma + conjunction? [duplicate]

Shorter sentences have been proven more readable. Thus why didn't the authors below sunder their lengthy sentences, prolongated by comma + conjunction? Why not divide them into shorter sentences s...

0 answers  ·  posted 9mo ago by TextKit‭  ·  edited 9mo ago by TextKit‭

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How can I catch more errors when I proofread?

I have a problem where I often proof my own writing and I don't catch all the errors while I am reading through it. I often miss entire words out of sentences or find myself repeating words. I can ...

9 answers  ·  posted 10y ago by Joel Rodgers‭  ·  last activity 9mo ago by ArtOfCode‭

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How can I make the plagiarism detector "Ithenticate" identify "θ-continuous" as a single word?

I have a problem with the similarity index of one of my works since the plagiarism detector "Ithenticate" identifies θ-continuous as continuous. In my university, all that matters is the similarity...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by Heba ‭  ·  last activity 9mo ago by Canina‭

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What is the correct way to mark a section as a translation?

I am often in the situation where I would like to cite a source in another language, and as such include my own translation alongside the quotation. I have been told that translation is a form of ...

1 answer  ·  posted 10mo ago by Moshi‭  ·  last activity 9mo ago by dsr‭

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Need basic tools and ways to practice and polish my writing skills

What are the ways to practice and improve basic writing, like content and creative writing? I am not planning to write or learn to write fictional stories. By creative writing, I mean the essential...

3 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Michael16‭  ·  last activity 10mo ago by sinneddennis‭

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block-quotation narrative with dialogue

Over on the Judaism site, I summarized a narrative text in a block quotation. Because the narrative is well-known, I expected many people to skip the block quotation; therefore, I did not want it t...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by msh210‭  ·  last activity 12mo ago by Mark Baker‭

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How can garden path sentences be used (and misused)?

"A garden path sentence is a grammatically correct sentence that starts in such a way that a reader's most likely interpretation will be incorrect; the reader is lured into a parse that turns out t...

1 answer  ·  posted 12mo ago by Paul A. Clayton‭  ·  last activity 12mo ago by gmcgath‭

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Will it help you to get published if you have a lot of followers of your writing?

Background To be honest, I really didn't know how to title this question. Anyway, the background. I was sitting around in front of the plan for the second book of my trilogy. Woohoo! I finished th...

3 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by Daniel Cann‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by desbest‭

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Why closed questions tend not to get reopened? [closed]

This post is about Q&amp;A websites in general. In StackExchange there is a culture of closing questions which do not reflect "the standards"; it's a culture that I as someone who uses SE since 20...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by deleted user  ·  closed 1y ago by Canina‭

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For HTML documentation sets, are there meaningful guidelines for topic length?

We produce a large HTML documentation set with the conventional two-pane view: expandable table of contents on the left, selected topic on the right. When you select a topic, if it has subtopics --...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Mark Baker‭

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How can we integrate a lightweight public ticketing system into our documentation feedback form?

We publish a substantial documentation set online. Each page has a place at the bottom that asks "was this helpful? (Y/N)", and if the person chooses "no" we offer a textbox. We collect all this ...

3 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Mark Baker‭

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What are the benefits of including complete working code samples in documentation

When documenting software API so others know how to access the various methods, what data structures are used etc, I like to document each bit in detail and also include, regardless of the coding l...

4 answers  ·  posted 5y ago by Lefty G Balogh‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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How should I document a database schema?

I am going to be writing some user-facing documentation for a database that visitors can query. That is, the people writing queries are not the ones who created the database; they can come in, look...

3 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  edited 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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How to control safety nets in discovery writing

Even though discovery writing is about letting the story go without interference, you still don't want the characters to get killed in the first chapter. For this exists safety nets, people, objec...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  edited 1y ago by Canina‭

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I feel like I'm plagiarizing my story? [closed]

So my fears are kind of taking over my enjoyment of writing my book because I feel I'm doing something wrong. In my story I stole ideas from other stories. I took the idea of Bioshock's infinite so...

4 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by user27125‭  ·  edited 1y ago by Canina‭

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How do I write a report analyzing a system's weaknesses and how to address them?

I was asked to prepare an overview of an existing IT architechture and provide a document that consists of weaknesses analysis and suggestions on how each of the weak spots can be improved. How to...

2 answers  ·  posted 5y ago by user40‭  ·  edited 1y ago by Canina‭

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mice don't tap and tablet-users don't click: what word can I use for all audiences instead?

I am documenting features on a web site. The audience is end users, who could be anywhere from seasoned Internet veterans to relatively new people who came for my site's content but aren't general...

4 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  edited 1y ago by Canina‭

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What can a novel do that film and TV cannot?

I have enjoyed writing prose for years and have a few short stories penned. I would like to build up to a novel but believe I have identified a potential weakness in my storytelling. My style is g...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Smeato‭  ·  edited 1y ago by Canina‭

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What content parts should a technical (IT) CV have?

I've been struggling for a while with my CV and I need help on deciding which sections should I include in it? I lack the formatting skill, I remember studying in school how to prepare my CV - ther...

1 answer  ·  posted 11y ago by karla‭  ·  edited 1y ago by Canina‭

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Text Editors. Suggesting & Tracking Changes to Plain-Text Documents

Many word processors are capable to tracking and displaying changes made to a document. Those changes are typically displayed in special markup supported by the editor. E.g. But when using a pla...

5 answers  ·  posted 10y ago by Robert Cartaino‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by celtschk‭

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Blog Timeline for mini stories

Does anyone know of any blog tools that incorporate a timeline? What I'm essentially wanting to do is write little short mini stories about my life, but on each blog entry I'd want a timeline to ap...

1 answer  ·  posted 5y ago by codemann8‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Canina‭

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Do readers primarily identify with or judge heroes in a novel?

In this article about different categories of heroes, Matt Bird states that sensitive and unlucky heroes are hard to write because audiences have a hard time caring about them. He says: "Americans...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by icanfathom‭  ·  edited 1y ago by Canina‭

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In 2021, which publishers distribute novellas?

The Hugo awards are prominent fan awards in the SF&amp;F genre. In 2021, I noticed that all of the finalists in the Novella category are from a single publisher, Tor.com. Novellas have, I underst...

2 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Mark Baker‭

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How do I brainstorm for writing positively about myself?

I've always struggled writing about myself, but I need to apply for a program and the application has a lot of very broad but personal questions like, Tell us why you would be a good leader Exp...

2 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by Sigma‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Is Wikipedia Trustworthy?

So in elementary school, I was told not to use Wikipedia too much because you can't trust what they write. So then for all the projects, I used the Canadian Encyclopedia, but then now, I really wou...

5 answers  ·  posted 5y ago by iiRosie1‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Is there a need for better software for writers?

Software developers don't ever work in text editors, instead they use IDEs (integrated development environments) full of code assistance tools, etc. Why don't writers use similarly advanced writin...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by mauleros‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Compelling story with the world as a villain

My main character is up against the world, or, rather, the world and reality are up against her. A good story is in some ways defined by its villain. 1984 personifies its villain by adding a repr...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Calypso Writes‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Changing a story's title to hint at story's meaning

I wrote a short story here http://zecountess.deviantart.com/art/Mirrors-440990952 whose ending explains everything that is narrated before. The feedback I got from my readers is varied, and none o...

0 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Kuchiki Byakuya‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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What is the possessive form of et al.?

When referring to a paper with multiple authors by using the name of the first author and "et al.", how does one indicate possession? For example, is it correct to write, "Einstein et al.'s paper ...

3 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by BR11‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by celtschk‭

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How do we prevent Madcap Flare from injecting non-breaking spaces in our documentation?

We use Madcap Flare for our documentation, and it has an annoying property: if you happen to have the shift key down when you type a space, it inserts a non-breaking space (&amp;#160;). Our docume...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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When else ought you introduce new material in a final paragraph?

Are there any other "times" for introducing new content into a final paragraph? Have any other famous writers substantiate this bombshell? I was flabbergasted to read this para. because mo...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by TextKit‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Mark Baker‭

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How would you pop the reference to a minor case into the ‘Application' section of an essay?

I don't understand the example emboldened below. Can't you add just a superscript number in the text, then in the footnotes cite that "minor case"? Unquestionably one superscript cannot "detract fr...

0 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by TextKit‭

law
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Using accents while staying legible

My character is using a hardly legible accent, or simply an accent which is not comfortable for a reader to read. For example: “Ye've caught us in th' middle o' supper. Seein' as how yer no bleedi...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Prahara‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by rodeng‭

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How do we get Flare to stop modifying .gitignore?

We use Madcap Flare for our documentation, and the project is checked into git. (In case this matters, this is a locally-hosted git server, not GitHub.) The project uses a .gitignore file to aver...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Does DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) Apply to Documentation?

In programming, it's usually accepted that DRY code is better code in most situations. Does this principle also apply to documentation? I'm asking about the documentation output, not necessarily ...

3 answers  ·  posted 5y ago by Scribblemacher‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Lundin‭

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What are some ways to encourage team members to contribute and maintain a centralized wiki?

I joined my current company and department a few years ago. We had some documentation for processes but most people had been around for a long time and never needed it, so it was very sparse. Sinc...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Sigma‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mark Baker‭

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Linking documentation to Git commit comments

Using git to track modifications to the project allows contributors to include comments with each commit. If the project's guidelines, and managers' control, keeps those comments limited to a forma...

1 answer  ·  posted 5y ago by Gypsy Spellweaver‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Git plugins for MS Word?

Is anyone aware of a plugin for MS Word that allows me to keep my documents in a git repository (gitlab compatibility would be even better)? I'm aware that git diffs won't be very meaningful, merge...

0 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by Kurt Weber‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Good Examples of and Practices in Code Documentation

I noted in this question: What is the best way to learn technical writing? ...that a rated method to learn how to write technical documents is to imbibe good examples. Can you recommend any exam...

1 answer  ·  posted 8y ago by Stefan Piskorski‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Technical Writer Skill Set

As technology and industry demands evolve, what tools/skills should one focus on learning/improving as a technical writer?

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by yashikaissrani‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mark Baker‭

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