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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Is writing policy pages in a lighthearted manner harmful in any way?

Recently, I threw together a draft of a policy page about promotional content, with some guidelines on what to keep in mind to avoid spamming. (Incidentally, this is for Codidact itself.) I decided...

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

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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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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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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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How to ask for permission to use readers' endorsements?

I have a blog with long, analytic articles. Because of their nature, they don't really attract much clicks. However, once people distill it thoroughly, many of them express that the articles are in...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Ooker‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mark Baker‭

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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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How can I write a dark protagonist for whom there is no hope?

In my ongoing effort to weed out every beginner-related problem I might have before I write my novel (what do you mean? I'm not delaying at all), I have now come to a dreaded area: dark protagonist...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Thomas Myron‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by icanfathom‭

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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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How can I pinpoint a story's moral dilemma?

In this answer, Mark Baker makes a statement about story: All story ideas are basically a variation on one thing. A man (or woman, or child, or small furry animal) has two desires, both of which h...

4 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by icanfathom‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by DPT‭

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Which parts of a character's plan should be revealed beforehand?

Two characters (one is a PoV character) come up with a plan to break a third out of prison. They succeed, with only minor complications. If I describe too many details of their plan beforehand, it ...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Evil Sparrow‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Razetime‭

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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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Choice of words on writing

Novice on writing here, except few academic reports. I've got an idea to write a blog about my travel experiences, Although I speak Queen's English, I wish to write this blog for anyone interested...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Vishwa‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Secespitus‭

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What can I ask my readers to help me and how?

I have a growing non-fiction blog about challenging existing dogmas in my culture, and it has been attracting a good amount of readers. However its growth is still not optimal, as they just read or...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Ooker‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mark Baker‭

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What style should I write a torture scene in?

The premise of my scene is basically that MC is electrocuted by scientists trying to trigger some sort of power in him. I've been writing his view (3rd person) the whole time before, alas I'm only ...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Mina‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How to start a story after the inciting incident?

My novel starts with the three heroes joining a cattle drive. When they talk among themselves, it's obvious that they have some kind of hidden agenda. We'll learn more about thier secret mission ov...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Shawn V. Wilson‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by DPT‭

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In a young adult, what would cause development of a high sense of duty?

This is a question related to my previous question about child's morality, but different criteria are applied. Criteria and Question: My desired kid would be born commoner but from merchant class, ...

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

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Are competitions worth it in order to get published?

I have recently finished my 25,000 word novella and contacted some publishers and agents about a month ago. I have only heard back from a couple rejecting me but considering the format of my book a...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Tttttttttttttt‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Mark Baker‭

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Help! Editing Tips? [closed]

Hey, I'm having trouble editing my book. I have a crime novella but I can't edit that well. Does anyone have any tips to help? Thanks! ~Rosewood

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Rosewood‭  ·  closed 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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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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Good exposition examples

Sometimes exposition is just necessary. Although there's plenty of youtube videos with examples in films of exposition done right, I'm struggling to find good examples of written exposition. I te...

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

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How do I introduce dark themes?

My story involves a superhuman organization that aims to overthrow the main government, through any means necessary. This involves murder and some rather gruesome deaths. Additionally, there might ...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by overlord - Reinstate Monica‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Mark Baker‭

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Syntax summaries use brackets for optional elements; how do I represent literal brackets in a way readers will understand?

In our documentation of SQL functions and statements, we include a BNF-style syntax summary. As is conventional, we indicate optional elements in square brackets, like this: CREATE [IF NOT EXISTS]...

4 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Derek Elkins‭

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In this day and age should the definition / categorisation of erotica be revised?

My experience tells me that a disproportionate number of wannabe writers are prudes. I recently wrote a scene where a female character is watching TV. The build up is complicated so I'll have to ex...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Surtsey‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How can I shorten a piece of writing effectively? [duplicate]

I always face the problem of word limit. How can I shorten a piece of writing without causing its original essence to mar? How can I be effective in doing that? Are there any general rules? For ex...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Stacy‭  ·  closed as duplicate 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Emotional arc types

Assuming this vocabulary: the narrative arc is the arc which makes the plot go forward, while the emotional arc is the arc which engage the character on a deeper, not always logical level. While t...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by laancelot‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Leaving wiggling room for your characters while avoiding contradictions

So, I finally began writing my sixtieth or so first draft. And I noticed a small thing: As sunset came the sky became a river of orange and gold. Maybe like a lava stream? Gyvaris might have be...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How to write characters doing illogical things in a believable way?

As much as I would like it, both in Worldbuilding and Writing, not every action is logical or "right". There are two types of this: Imperfect information: The character(s) lack vital informati...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Mephistopheles‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Amadeus‭

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What makes an ending "happy"?

In this answer, Amadeus makes the case for happy endings based on their far greater popularity compared to unhappy endings. This leads me to wonder, what exactly makes an ending "happy"? Before I...

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

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Can I say this about real countries in my fiction?

I am writing a visual novel and use a fictional country in "real-world" setting. Some cases have been bothering me and I'm not sure if it's legal to write this because it might be insulting(?): ...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by sunDalik‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Should I use the words "pyromancy" and "necromancy" even if they don't mean what people think they do?

If you look up the exact definition for "pyromancy" or "necromancy" they refer to divination using fire and the dead, respectively. However, if you were to ask a layperson what those words mean, t...

9 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by klippy‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Is it illegal if I use religious material in writing my novel?

I have a serious problem. I am going to start writing a novel and it contains material from another religion. Something like this: my book involves Moses vs Pharaoh. Moses is only a mentor and not ...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Mudbrains‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭

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Everyone's a woman: how do you show that through gender-neutral language?

In my latest short story I'm playing around with common gender misconceptions. It's set in a near future society were men have disappeared, and all roles are taken up by women. The theme is played ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Liquid‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Prahara‭

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I want to make two of my characters fall in love

My story is about two gang leaders. The female is the leader of the largest gang in the country. The guy is the leader of the 2nd-largest. They meet at a café where the guy instantly falls in love...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Hail‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by DPT‭

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Introducing a new POV near the end of a story

This question is strongly related to this one: Balance between character's point of views However, that question is asking about balancing POVs in general, whereas this one is about potentially su...

6 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Llewellyn‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by DPT‭

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Multiple lines of dialogue and action from a single character

I am in the middle of writing a scene between two characters, a cello player, Lisa and her friend from college, Jack. Lisa has recently lost her sight, and Jack is trying to encourage her back into...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Melanie Gault-Taylor‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How to convey the anatomy of a humanoid race?

I am writing a extra-terrestrial high fantasy novel. The story is completely set in an alien world. No visits from Earth and no visits to Earth. My characters are humanoids, who look like elves...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Sangeetha‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by DPT‭

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What kind of name should a fantasy author go by?

I'm currently in the middle of writing several fantasy books and, even though I'm not done with any of them, I can't stop thinking about how my name will appear on my books once they are finished. ...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Sage Piche‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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How to eliminate standoff between "Lengthy" vs "Concision"?

Often while writing a software requirement/change-request documentation, I need to include the quoted requirements descriptively, the impacted modules, the changes provided both in UI and in logic....

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Karan Desai‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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Subfigures in a figure, how to label?

So if I later refer to figure 2 (i) or figure 2 (ii) would it be better for the figure to be labelled as is Figure 2: Figure (i) shows cycle C? or Figure 2: (i) shows cycle C or Figure 2: ...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Hao S‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by System‭

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