Years ago (years!) I recall a TV show with Carl Sagan wherein he was standing in a library and made the point that if he read x books per week for x number of years then he would have read a small fraction of the books that have ever been written. His point was that even a well-read person can only ingest a fraction of what is out there. I've always like that quote and would like to find this scene on YouTube or another site... Anyone?
A friend of a friend posted a picture of a note to facebook. Can any of you identify the language and offer a translation of what it says? [more inside]
When I lived in Chicago, there was a great late-night coffee shop called New Wave Cafe in Logan Square that was perfect for after-work writing. I've been having a hard time finding a similar spot since moving to NYC. It doesn't need to be a coffee shop, but it does need to be well-lit enough that I can read, and calm enough that I won't be seen as preventing the establishment from doing business. Bonus points if the place has a neighborhood-y feel with a friendly staff. I live in Greenpoint, work in SoHo, and usually commute via bicycle over the Williamsburg Bridge. Any suggestions, Metafilter?
There are Latin fonts designed to mimic Cyrillic, Asian characters, and many other scripts. What are some examples of foreign-script fonts which mimic Latin characters?
I started freelance writing recently and have met a couple of people who are dream contacts -- a literary agent who's reached out to me for book ideas, and an editor who offered to have lunch with me to see what else I might contribute to their publication. The problem is, I'm very new to this and, though thrilled to be able to write for an audience, am really struggling between courageous ambition and compulsive self-effacement. I know creative producers go through this all the time. However, my question is: how do I take advantage of these opportunities ASAP in spite of it? [more inside]
Professional communicators of Metafilter: Please give me your tips for handling subject matter experts who write poorly, but don't know it. When a colleague is adamant that their disorganised writing and grammatical errors Must Not Be Changed, how do you respond? [more inside]
Are there any blog/writing websites out there that are like Thought Catalog, but slightly more... mature I guess? Without the high-school/college drama or pop culture nonsense. Sometimes I feel just slightly too old for TC's target demographic. :/ But I do enjoy reading short blog posts from a variety of authors. Thanks in advance
I've been writing short fiction. I've got my process down pretty well, to the point that I am not getting stuck in writer's block hell or any other common pitfalls. I have ideas, and I'm capable of getting them down on paper. I revise them, I produce new drafts, etc. My problem comes in the last phase of the process. I don't know when to say something is done. [more inside]
Are there other simple-to-express checks like the Bechdel Test for measuring gender bias and feminism in fiction? I try hard to make sure I'm being a decent feminist as a writer -- I'm a guy, I tend to write with male protagonists but with a lot of female characters involved, and I worry about my blind spots. [more inside]
For the last few years, I have reviewed every book I read on Goodreads, just for my own edification. I read a lot. I have written a lot. Is there a better use to put this content to? [more inside]
I'm looking for something in Los Angeles that is similar to the Loft in Minneapolis - writing classes for all abilities and ambitions. I am not looking to write the next Pulp Fiction, only to have fun and actually write. I've found one potential place so far - this is a big city!! I must be missing something... right? [more inside]
I'm 31 years old and looking for a career change. I've come to love research and I've always loved reading nonfiction and true crime as well as the exposé articles often published by alternative weeklies. What are some careers that would fit these interests, and how do I work my way towards those careers? [more inside]
I can't think properly while online. Nor can I think properly if the Internet is a few clicks away. So I am looking for a laptop that can run Open Office, Adobe, and MS Word, has a USB port for swapping files on and off. It must not be capable of connecting to the Internet, at least not wirelessly. Alternately, I'd be interested in ways to permanently disable the wireless on my old unibody MacBook Pro, model 1.1. Then I could buy a second laptop for Internet purposes. The goal is two laptops--one that's capable of online work and one that is not.
There seems to be huge number of online work/project tracking/logging programs out there, but they are mostly designed for small businesses and freelancers (e.g. focussed on invoicing) and charge by the month. I've seen a few that look OK like Toggl and Slimtimer but none that seems ideal for my needs yet. Can anyone recommend ones (ideally free and with the ability to track different tasks & share that tracking/logging) that are easy to use, have decent functionality, and would be good for 2 friends working on writing their PhD theses and would like to try and help each other keep track of how much work they're doing? [more inside]
I'm submitting a story to a fiction contest, attaching it to an email. Other than the contest guidelines, is there anything else I need to do to the document or be aware of?
I've got a brand new (refurb) Retina MacBook Pro, fresh out of the cellophane wrapper. I've been eking out a slow and cluttered existence on a combination of my iPad mini, my oldish Mac Mini, my iPhone, and a desktop Windows machine (for gaming) for a couple of years. I haven't had a laptop in... I can't even remember if I have ever had a laptop. Help me find the perfect set of apps for it? Snowflake details inside. [more inside]
I'm looking for myths/stories about books and writing. Not - and this is where I'm running into trouble with google - top ten lists about cafe productivity and self-publishing; I mean more like a hero whittling a pen from the boughs of Yggdrasil and then stealing ink from the Kraken, with the goal of writing down the secrets of Enki in order to embarrass him and get him to pay the 5 goats owed. Or whatever. Any location/time is fine! Can be short, can be long.
I need an editor (copy and content) for an edgy, non-traditional chapbook of poems. Word count is light -- around 4,000. Budget is nearly non-existent (this is an art project) but there would be some kind of honorarium attached. Can someone help me find a good, trusty editor?
I've tried several different writing groups and classes. Each ended up being 10% writing and 90% sitting around in a circle giving "three positives and three negatives!" about other writers' submissions. I don't want to do that. [more inside]
I'm a freelance writer in the second year of my career, as well as a lifelong creative writer with several published works. I've done a lot of performing arts blogging and local news writing and I'd like to build on that and get into more paying work as well as increase my publication credits. I've been recommended to join Writer's Market. Have others had worthwhile experiences with the service? Also happy to hear about other options. Thanks!
I'd like to get more into freelance copywriting. It's something I can do from home, and I'm pretty good at it. I have a money and time goal for it. Money: 5 cents a word Time: 15 hours a week Total: About $1,500 a month. I'm on Textbroker, but they rarely pay more than 1.5 cents a word. I'm open to pay-by-project too, if they're consistent. How would I go about finding regular clients/websites that could help me reach my goal?
When I'm racing to meet a writing deadline, I feel a sense of exhilaration, momentum, and flow. How can achieve that state on a regular basis so I can make steady progress on my writing? [more inside]
I have a perfect notebook, left over from college, and would love to find more just like it. But it has no branding -- I have no idea who manufactured the darn thing. My school doesn't seem to sell them anymore. It's 7" by 10", double-wire bound, cloth hardcover, with nice lined pages. Each page has a little recycling triangle symbol on it (indicating 100 percent recycled). Pics inside. Anyone know who could've made it, or where to find the same? Many thanks! [more inside]
It's been almost 10 years since I last changed jobs and it's also been that long since I've written a resume. I'd like to get some (hopefully) expert opinion and editing to bring my resume up to date, both to reflect the skills/experience I've gained and ensure that it is in a format that will be acceptable to recruiters/companies. Has anyone used a resume service recently that you've been pleased with? (I'm located in the NYC metro area if that makes a difference).
In the last 9 years, I've written a Russian novel's worth of blog comments. Can you help me channel this energy into personal writing projects? NOTE : I am NOT interested in blogging. [more inside]
I work as a journalist. However, I only get articles in publications due to my personal relationships with the editor(s). I've never been able to send in an unsolicited pitch and have it accepted. [more inside]
For a friend: I’m writing about a fictional, Polynesian-inspired trickster god for a game. What are some resources I can consult so my storylines are respectful and grounded in authentic myth? Ideally, these sources will be fun to read as well.
When addressing a formal or business letter to multiple parties, say, A, B, and C, is there a rule for the order, e.g. by how important people are? I.e. if A is more important than B is more important than C, is it: Dear Mr. A, Ms. B and Dr. C: or Dear Dr. C., Ms. B and Mr. A: and are there style guides that I can reference for this? [more inside]
How Do I Write My First Book? I'm a bit shy and uncertain about the whole process and need some help in understanding how to just let the words and story gel into something readable. [more inside]
Let's say that certain phases of my life were already written in a book 70 - 100 years ago by someone, who was either a futurist of a scifi-writer. Let's also say that there are people, who want to make sure - for some yet unknown reason - that I live through those phases and that my personality gets developed similarly to some character's personality in that book. The book would have been written a long time before I was born. Now, what kind of search engines and what kind of search strategies I should use to become sure that there actually is such a book? There might exists traces of revitalizing of the book, if the original writer didn't make good enough guesses about the future.
I lead a team of podcasters. They're all great people--intelligent, articulate, and very good speakers. We now wish to translate our spoken success to the page, and our early attempts have shown that despite the successes we have as speakers we're finding our writing skill (specifically in regards to concise, clear, engaging, and personable communication through the written word) is in need of honing. I need suggestions how to do that. [more inside]
Hello! I am teaching a writing class, and am now teaching students about flow. I would like to do an exercise where I take an essay (preferably, somewhat academic) and cut it up and give it to them to rearrange to show how well the author transitions between paragraphs. The problem is, I can't find one that works in particular! If anyone has a good example, I'd be grateful.
The writing workshop I attend might end up dissipating soon. How can I find a replacement group? [more inside]
So I'm having some friends over tonight. We're all writers and we're going to play some writing games. Do you have any that you might suggest? [more inside]
I have just become the person In Charge of Facebook for my small company. Last week I sat down and wrote some Facebook posts that my boss thought were "too cheesy." I agreed with him. They totally were. I am a social media lover- I have a tumblr, a Facebook, etc. I know when people try too hard and used to work for a government official who Did Not Get Facebook and so I know what definitely doesn't work. I've just never been in charge of writing one. [more inside]
I'm a writer who has two one-act plays on in a theatre. I am also directing them but this will be my first time working as a director. What do you think makes a good director? What positive and negative experiences have you have and what could I do to make this go brilliantly? [more inside]
Rather than rely on our usual email correspondence, I would like to write some letters by hand to someone very important to me who lives very far away. [more inside]
I'm a writer married to a jazz musician. I always hoped I'd end up in this sort of arty, creative marriage. But there's a problem that is becoming overwhelming. In spite of fully expecting me to experience and support his art, my husband never, ever, reads anything I write. Not a two-page story or a blog post much less anything longer. He says he feels awful about never getting around to it (and I've made it clear it's fine if he hates it—I just want him to be willing to check it out) and he seems to be sincere... But he still doesn't read it. It really hurts me. [more inside]
Here's an European writing a book/thesis about storytelling in journalism. What texts (linguistics, literary theory etc – preferably *not* mass communication theory) might help in analysing contemporary changes in that field? [more inside]
The standard format for a romantic comedy has both key characters introduced very early in the script/movie -- say, in the first ten pages/minutes. I'm looking for examples of romantic comedies where one of the romantic leads is introduced later in the movie. [more inside]
I'm considering writing a technical book, mostly a labour of love. I want to do the writing process online, like Bruce Eckel did for his excellent Thinking in Java years ago. In order to facilitate user feedback, Eckel had a very fine-grained commenting system, which he developed himself and called TalkBack. At the end of each paragraph there was a "comment" link that let users comment on that particular paragraph. Are there any other CMS that offers fine-grained feedback like that? I'm aware of an older (2003-2004?) Zope TalkBack implementation, but would like something more current. And if you think I'm looking for the wrong thing and should go about writing a book on the web differently, please chime in!
I came across the phrase "in his/her/my wheelhouse" last year for the first time and was shocked to learn there's an entire genre of writing with its own set of metaphors that I know nothing about. Sportswriting! [more inside]
Hello, I am currently studying Chinese. I'd be interested in any advice people could give me with regard to making my Hanzi practice more productive. [more inside]
I want to write a non-fiction book with basic formatting like bulleted lists, numbered lists, along with some callouts. Think "XYZ for Dummies". I'm on Windows XP / Windows 7. Don't want to upgrade XP on my seconday machine if not absolutely necessary. [more inside]
I've recently started listening to Scriptnotes, a great podcast by John August and Craig Mazin about screenwriting. Is there a similar podcast about novel/short story writing, or indeed writing in general? Podcasts I already subscribe to and key things I like about Scriptnotes inside. [more inside]
Help me fill in this vague recollection of a story I read? I read it probably as recently as last year. I don't remember if it's a short story or an incident in a novel. [more inside]
Am considering publishing an unusual philosophical self-help tract written in a fiery, contrarian tone. Think Hegel meets Deepak Chopra, for lack of a less weird description. Right now the manuscript is short. I'd like it to provoke conversation, make a reputation, and build an audience. I lack these currently. Am I better off a) self-publishing, b) creating a Kindle Single, or c) publishing traditionally? C would require me to expand my manuscript to 5x its current length, but give me prestige, a (likely small) advance, wider distribution, and perhaps more publicity. The other options would be far faster and might allow me to iterate my ideas / write other pieces based on audience reaction. Any advice on which option (feel free to add options) would best serve my goals?
A friend of mine recently quit his job and has found himself with a lot of free time. As a method to explore his mind and world he has set himself a task to write an essay on : - "The Notion of Freedom and Humanity" I am no philosophy veteran but I am sure that there must be some great texts already dealing with this subject. What research and reading material can I recommend my friend for his essay?
ok, hivemind, I am going back to school and I want to brush up on my writing. Are there any workbooks, or maybe even online classes that you might suggest? Particularly, in the area of academic writing to be published and grammar? And, are there any books you might suggest, as well, in the general area of strengthening your writing skills and grammar? I have heard of The Elements of Style, and On Writing Well, but I do not think those are the books I am looking for. I am really look for something that addresses grammar, like when to use a semicolon, etc.
I read, somewhere, a quote about poets to the effect that even successful poets have day jobs, collect disability payments or come from money. I vaguely recall that this was said (or written) by a woman who was a successful [poet? writer? editor?] in her own right, and who would have had a reasonable sample size on which to base the statement. What quote am I thinking of? Who wrote or said it? My googles have been uncharacteristically ineffective in locating the quote or identifying the source.