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Online English Grammar Resources Needed

I am looking for three things here: 1) Some kind of drill, preferably in game format but anything good will do 2) tools to run my writing through to catch my errors and 3) generic reference materials. Online resources are strongly preferred, in part because I get sick when I handle books and papers too much. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Sep 20, 2014 - 2 answers

Resources for writing and revising policies, procedures, & regulations?

I work in state government and my position may soon shift to policy analysis, which would include writing and revising policies, procedures, and regulations. I have plenty of experience researching regulations, but not as much in the areas of writing and revising. Can anyone recommend any resources (books or websites) which may be helpful for this type of writing? Thank you! [more inside]
posted by onecircleaday on Sep 18, 2014 - 6 answers

MeFi Writers, Help Me With a Personal Writing Project

I'm taking next week off to do two things. The first is to develop some habits that are conducive to me writing continually, daily and with presentable results. The second is to actually have a product by the end of the week. I'm thinking one good and fairly polished short story. Please give me advice and ideas about how to accomplish this. Do you need a place to work that is for "writing only"? Do you have a daily routine? Did you have to develop self-discipline? Do you have rituals like meditation or having tea or writing by candle light? Do you listen to music? With an entire week to do whatever I want, how do I best use my time for writing? [more inside]
posted by snsranch on Sep 18, 2014 - 12 answers

Self- sabotage: A beast with two heads

For the past few years, I've had to deal with what seems like procrastination's more stubborn cousin. It's not just a tendency to put things off- it feels like a visceral, physically-manifested resistance to doing things that should involve no forethought in terms of effort whatsoever, or that do, but that would only serve to help me better myself if I managed to get them done. [more inside]
posted by marsbar77 on Sep 18, 2014 - 18 answers

Grammar/style for mathematicians?

I'm interested in learning about the details of English grammar and usage, and also maybe in picking up some prescriptions or guidelines for writing well-styled/balanced prose (a la Strunk & White, though my understanding is that there's potentially a great many schools of thought to look at here). The kicker: my academic background is in math and computer science, including the very formal reaches of things like logic, formal languages, etc. Is there any way that this stuff can help me learn that stuff? [more inside]
posted by karo on Sep 18, 2014 - 9 answers

EPI writing about numbers and data for the non-mathematically minded

This is my first year in public health. I am writing a report describing data trends and prevalence rates regarding maternal and child health issues. I am trying to be a little creative in my writing. I feel as though I keep restating the same phrases, "the rate was", "a higher percentage of Asian women" , etc. Any tips on writing about data? For example, one in 4 children, one in ten women, etc. Any resources you can point me to in this type of writing? Basically, writing about numbers and data for the non-mathematically minded :)
posted by TRUELOTUS on Sep 15, 2014 - 9 answers

How to get over a creative lull?

For something like the past four or five months, I've been in what I can only describe as a creative lull. I work as a comedy writer and have been doing this for roughly two years, but for whatever reason, I am not producing material that I'm happy with any more. I'm looking for advice from people who have climbed out of something similar, or any insight into why this is happening. I realize the awesome irony of asking this question in a very serious, unfunny way. [more inside]
posted by arsgratia on Sep 15, 2014 - 5 answers

Improving academic writing

I'm looking to improve my essay writing skills. I have two questions: [more inside]
posted by casebash on Sep 12, 2014 - 12 answers

Tools for detecting plagiarism when working with contract writers

I am working with contract writers developing content for a website. Due to the nature of what we're working on and the fact that we have very loose relationship with the contractors, plagiarism is a major concern. Are there any good online tools (free or paid) available for checking copy for plagiarism? [more inside]
posted by gertzedek on Sep 9, 2014 - 7 answers

Trans* and trans*-inclusive word nerds, tally ho!

I need some examples of organisations using trans*inclusive language in interesting and welcoming ways - particularly on the web and on social media. When I need to communicate that a group is open to women and trans* people, but not cisgender dudes, I feel like I'm using the same clunky phrases every damn time. Help me find new ways to say it without tying myself in linguistic knots. [more inside]
posted by embrangled on Sep 8, 2014 - 29 answers

Regional dialects and vernaculars in fiction and television?

I'm curious as to how writers of fiction or television (specifically writers who are not from the depicted region or culture or economic class themselves) of shows like The Wire or Deadwood or The Sopranos, are able to write a wide range of dialects, vernaculars and idioms so successfully.* [more inside]
posted by Mrs. Buck Turgidson on Sep 8, 2014 - 9 answers

Discouraged with my job prospects-- how to stop feeling worthless?

I graduated recently with a BA in English, and was set on academia so naturally I pursued a masters. Around the time of submitting my thesis I started work in an entry-level admin type role, which I have been at for the past year. My thesis was recently passed, and I'll graduate this autumn. [more inside]
posted by sociology on Sep 5, 2014 - 16 answers

How do I leave a message to be read after my death?

I am writing a letter, which I would like to keep secret until after my death. In the movies it seems so easy, but how would one really go about doing it? [more inside]
posted by Myeral on Sep 5, 2014 - 11 answers

How to teach, tutor, or sub in Cincinnati, Ohio

I'm a part-time freelance copywriter trying to figure out how I can quit my full-time retail job and piece together work that is more related to writing. [more inside]
posted by bookishandbelle on Sep 1, 2014 - 7 answers

How to get better at organizing my ideas in writing?

How can I get better at organizing my ideas in writing? I want to be able to write essays, long-form blog posts, articles, etc. I want to be able to use in-depth writing as a tool to accomplish things, instead of just enduring it when it comes up. I'm interested in resources (classes? books?), techniques, and advice. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 30, 2014 - 15 answers

I'm done asking this but.... Hope me with jobs?

The situation that prompted one of my first questions on AskMe is unfortunately still relevant. Logistics have improved, my depression is....eh. I'm 25 now and have been out of undergrad for over a year. This is my resume . Ignore the crappy formatting, but... [more inside]
posted by marsbar77 on Aug 30, 2014 - 11 answers

So Many Publishing Platforms, So Little Time. Which One(s) to Choose?

Here's a run-down of just a few of the publishing platforms I've heard of recently. Some of them are blog-like and others are book-like. Some are for technical writing and others are more general. I haven't had time to try very many of them, so I'm curious what anybody else might think of them before I jump into using one(s) of them. Are there others like these? What are the differences among them? Vellum Hi Medium woop.ie GitBook LeanPub PressBooks
posted by dylan_k on Aug 30, 2014 - 0 answers

Leather notebook holder for A5 block, glue-bound on left?

I really like Fabriano blocks - particularly the A5 dot-patterned paper that is glue-bound on the left side of the block (see here. I would like to get a leather (or other suitably durable material), A5-sized zipper-closing cover to hold one of these with writing implements (pen, pencil, and eraser)... [more inside]
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike on Aug 23, 2014 - 4 answers

What are your best reporting/writing hacks?

So I'm finally getting some freelance assignments. Yay! But how do I actually do this organizationally? [more inside]
posted by caoimhe on Aug 20, 2014 - 9 answers

resources for planning and executing a career change?

Are any of the coaches / services out there that advise on how to change careers actually legit and useful? I need help figuring out a career change and I see a million books and services out there for me to consume, but I would really value recommendations of someone who has successfully used any of those resources. My goal is to find a position showcasing writing and/or research skills. [more inside]
posted by fingersandtoes on Aug 19, 2014 - 2 answers

Word association: Fairy Tale

Further to the success of a previous Ask Me, in which I was given a great idea for a fictional story I am writing, I am back with another question. I would like to know what people, places, events and objects you associate with fairy tales, folklore, myths etc. [more inside]
posted by Youremyworld on Aug 17, 2014 - 27 answers

I need to find a programming job in San Francisco in 1953.

Story research filter: My imagination was sparked by a recent comment about how computer programming was considered a suitable career for women in the 1950s and 60s, akin to clerical work. I'd like to learn more about what working life might have been like for these women, and about computing in general at that time. Bonus points if you can help me name some companies in 1950s San Francisco that might have employed my character. [more inside]
posted by sunset in snow country on Aug 13, 2014 - 22 answers

How to compose transfer essay for college admissions?

I just began my application for certain UCs and CSUs (hoping to matriculate Fall 2015). In particular I'm concerned about my essays. What resources do I have to help me revise the essays before I submit them? Are there any topics I should be sure to cover/avoid? [more inside]
posted by miltthetank on Aug 13, 2014 - 5 answers

Technical writing for the not technically inclined?

I am pondering a career change into technical writing. I do not consider myself a "technical" person. Is this a stupid idea? [more inside]
posted by whistle pig on Aug 11, 2014 - 9 answers

'Being' and creativity: does meditation dissolve imagination?

A lot of mindfulness meditation techniques focus on awareness of the present moment and stepping outside our personal narratives. My question is: does this process end up dissolving our perceptions of the past; and when one side steps the narrative, doesn't it make it harder to compose and imagine stories that exist outside of the present moment?
posted by wallawallasweet on Aug 10, 2014 - 11 answers

Now That's What I Call a Cover Letter Vol I

How does a job-seeking cover letter stand out in this day and age? [more inside]
posted by Kitty Stardust on Aug 8, 2014 - 10 answers

I can put together words so that they sound nice. I can't write. Why?

All my life, people have complimented me on my abiity to write well. In middle and high school, it was writing good chapter summaries, literary analyses and essays for homework using flowery language. In college, it became about construction and the flow of ideas, and I found myself to be reasonably adept at that as well. I'm currently jobless ( looking for my first job at 25), and when people chime in with suggestions on how to fix that, they can't understand why I poo-poo the idea of writing professionally out of hand. Help me develop my writerly mind and get myself out of the English class for good. [more inside]
posted by marsbar77 on Aug 7, 2014 - 25 answers

Modern Day Commonplace Notebook

I'm looking for ideas to improve creating and organizing notes efficiently. Including analog and digital devices. [more inside]
posted by chrono_rabbit on Aug 6, 2014 - 11 answers

Is my idea for a blog going to be a copyright issue, or is it fair use?

I want to write a blog that invokes the aesthetics and atmosphere of a certain fictional world from a comic strip. In this comic, they live very happily, have a delightful home, and go on many adventures. I'd like to write posts inspired by their activities. I would reference the strip in the blog name, and occasionally include single panels for context. Is this okay in terms of copyright? [more inside]
posted by to recite so charmingly on Aug 4, 2014 - 9 answers

I Want To Learn About Bands, Please Help Me!

I am currently co-writing a play with music (which may turn into a musical, but we're not sure on that yet) that involves the dynamics of a group of band members, their management, the issues they have with each other, etc. My writing partner is a singer who was in a very successful local band, but I have never been in anything but high school marching band. I would like to watch some documentaries or behind-the-scenes footage of bands in action, bands in practice, etc. [more inside]
posted by xingcat on Aug 3, 2014 - 23 answers

Will this pay for college?

Bewildered by an old-looking mahogany wood writing set. [more inside]
posted by Captain Chesapeake on Aug 2, 2014 - 2 answers

community orgs for arts and technology?

Which organisations, companies, community groups, etc support and encourage embracing both arts/humanities AND STEM (especially technology)? [more inside]
posted by divabat on Aug 1, 2014 - 12 answers

How do I stop panicking about being overtaken and finish a PhD?

I'm in the final couple of months before submitting my dissertation, writing up frantically, and have just found out that someone I know has switched topics to my topic and actually submitted their dissertation. How do I cope with this and get on with my work? Snowflakes inside. [more inside]
posted by Aravis76 on Jul 30, 2014 - 15 answers

high-concept low-spectacle speculative realistic fiction

What are some good novels that have a high-concept speculative element in the background, but aren't quite about that? [more inside]
posted by threeants on Jul 28, 2014 - 34 answers

I need a job yesterday. I'm still stuck. Where do I go from here?

Many of the details in this question still apply. Logistics aren't that big of a deal anymore, and I'm chipping away ever so slowly at my social anxiety and fluency issue, but I'm still without prospects and now about $12k in debt on account of some reckless impulse spending and unpaid debt from college. Can the hivemind help get me out from under this? Snowstorm inside. [more inside]
posted by marsbar77 on Jul 28, 2014 - 7 answers

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Mexico?

I want to move to make a permanent move to Mexico. How do I make this happen? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 25, 2014 - 18 answers

I'm productive only at night, but this clashes with my class schedule.

When I want to do work that involves writing, I find that I am most productive during the hours of around 11 PM to 6 AM, because it takes me all evening to wind down from the day and get into a mindset where I can focus on creative/writing work. My circadian rhythm will then be messed up for the next three days or so. This is incompatible with my class and work schedule as a medical student. [more inside]
posted by gemutlichkeit on Jul 24, 2014 - 6 answers

Software skills for aspiring technical writer

How do I know I’ve taught myself enough technical writing software (number of programs and my abilities therein) for potential employers to take me seriously? [more inside]
posted by glass.hourousha on Jul 23, 2014 - 6 answers

How dare I think I can do this

I want to write. But I have all kinds of Big Dumb Issues around it. Help me stop sabotaging myself? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 23, 2014 - 25 answers

Time for another round of name that career!

I was wondering if any Mefites might currently work in, or know someone who works in, a career that meets the following qualifications: 1. Involves a ton of writing. Any type of writing. Even if one spends most of one's time crafting emails, that would be sufficient. 2. Is relatively easy to get into with only a bachelor's degree in a possibly unrelated subject. 3. Is generally not discriminatory based on age (in other words, someone who is in their late 40s/early 50s would not be seen as teetering on the edge of their grave). [more inside]
posted by Sockrates on Jul 22, 2014 - 12 answers

Page archiving and bookmarking

Is there a website that works like a bookmarking service but will also allow screenshots of the page? Or how else can I work this out? [more inside]
posted by divabat on Jul 21, 2014 - 11 answers

How can I finish my novel and establish an effective writing routine?

I have been writing since I was about 7 and always enjoyed writing stories, sometimes hundreds of pages long. In my final year of English at school my teacher said that I should really turn the start of a piece I had written at the time into a novel. At the time I was flattered but I don't really think I considered it possible. [more inside]
posted by Kat_Dubs on Jul 21, 2014 - 11 answers

How can I get started quantifying and tracking my time and goals?

I want to take control of my time, writing output, attention and procrastination, bedtime, exercise, and diet. What tools should I use to track what I eat, how I spend my time, what I spend money on, when I exercise, when I go to sleep and wake up, and how many words I write per day. [more inside]
posted by incandescentman on Jul 21, 2014 - 11 answers

We do (A + B) * (C + D) * (E + F)

I need to write a short blurb describing the services our group provides, which is basically defined in three dimensions, eg. "We provide services (A + B) for data types (C + D) in domains (E + F)." I imagine this is something faced by technical writers, is there some best practice for writing this sort of thing so that it is readable in plain English? [more inside]
posted by bjrubble on Jul 21, 2014 - 6 answers

I want to think about something new!

Looking for quality, regularly-updated web content as an alternative to the potpourri discussion-based sites that usually make up my day online. [more inside]
posted by theraflu on Jul 21, 2014 - 11 answers

Advice for confident everyday writing?

I'm looking for related resources (online & offline) for improving my writing skills for everyday work. [more inside]
posted by chrono_rabbit on Jul 20, 2014 - 9 answers

inspirational books/biographies about the non-fiction writing life?

I'm neck deep in writing an academic book at the moment, and on the worst days I lose the will to live. To dislodge myself from the daily temptation to nuke the whole manuscript, slit my wrists and be done with it all, I've been trying to keep motivated by reading good accounts of the life of writers. I would love recommendations! Details inside. [more inside]
posted by starcrust on Jul 18, 2014 - 4 answers

Should I find an agent or continue with small presses?

I've had some success this past year in publishing through small presses. I'm seeking direction in my literary career. A lot more details inside. [more inside]
posted by dances_with_sneetches on Jul 16, 2014 - 4 answers

Captain Planet - but for grown ups

Please help me come up with a decent name for a group of four fictional characters who have power over the classic elements in an equally fictional world. [more inside]
posted by Youremyworld on Jul 15, 2014 - 25 answers

Winter Is Being GRRM's Editor

I'm about halfway through reading the first Game of Thrones book, and I'm looking for some literary criticism or in-depth articles about the series' writing (books only). [more inside]
posted by Red Desk on Jul 13, 2014 - 5 answers

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