How do memoir writers jog their memories? How have you (in the absence of note-taking during or immediately after transformative periods in your life) jogged your memory? [more inside]
How do I kindly decline my struggling-writer friends' numerous requests that I submit their screenplays to my agent, without causing any bad feelings or strife? [more inside]
How do you go about consciously aping the voice/tone/style of a particular genre of fiction or writer? [more inside]
Please name some Paranormal Young Adult fiction tropes and cliches (obvious or obscure) so I can avoid doing them myself in the book I am writing. Thanks! [more inside]
If I want to hire an editor to manage the blog for my ad-driven website, how much should the pay be if it's full-time? What about part-time? Other than creating and managing content, managing writers (and bringing on new ones), and promoting the blog and the site on social media, is there anything else I should list in a online editor's duties? [more inside]
That's really the only string I can grab at it "Three then four, then many more" or maybe
My ex and I had a couple of ideas for books before we started dating. They were joint ideas and something we were going to work on together. Unfortunately our working styles clashed and very little got done on even the main one. I want to have the option to actually put the hard work in to develop the story from the tiny amount of info I have now into a finished story at some point in the future. So is it possible, wise, legal or even moral to ask him to sign something saying he relinquishes the rights to the ideas in return for a very small royalty IF I finsih the books and get them published? [more inside]
Hi, writers of MeFi! I am an unpublished writer of fiction. I think I am good, or at least, not terrible. No great stylist, but readable. However, I am awful at writing witty dialogue. I can do awkward, I love writing arguments, but I can't do funny. Can you help? [more inside]
I'm working on a new book and I need to name a genome. I can't handwave it-- while the book is SF, I don't want people in the know to be able to look at it like people look at Law & Order address (ie, nobody from New York would ever think that's a real address. Nobody in science would ever think that's a real genome.) [more inside]
I teach writing to adults. When they ask me to edit something that's not for class (say, for their professional work), can I refer them to my private writing/editing business, even if they're currently enrolled in my class? [more inside]
Mr. Lucid and I put our lovely cat to sleep after her brave battle with kidney disease. I'd like to send an uplifting poem to the vets and vet staff who have helped our family so much. I'm looking for poetry that is specific to pets and animals and speaks to the value of having them in our lives, but also expresses gratitude for those in the helping professions who mean so much to their four-legged patients. [more inside]
What does it feel like to walk across a thick carpet of cooled ash, like after a forest fire or a house fire? I'm writing a book and I didn't think about the sensation until right now, and I'm quite clueless. Thank you!
I'm looking for high-quality, moving, compelling, interesting writing about having ADD; i.e. personal essays, creative nonfiction, that sort of thing. [more inside]
I'm in a creative portion of the software development field (advertising), and I often am asked to help write technical documents like case studies, final documentation to the client or simply find myself needing to explain technical ideas to a client. How can I improve my writing skills? I'm looking for general tips or rules, as well as examples of engaging technical writing that doesn't read like a Github Wiki page. [more inside]
Writers: how do you go about creating new characters? I've tried in the past, but they usually end up a combination of tired cliches and quotes from old movies. They never feel real. If I don't have a natural talent for doing this, how do I get better at it?
Surely there are some more sophisticated programmers' tools for storing and comparing multiple drafts, or versions, of a written document. Might we use those tools, to study written work, or to keep track of versions both linear and non-linear? Authors, editors, literary scholars, archivists: all eventually have to do work with multiple versions of a text. Can the existing tools be made more readily available to them? [more inside]
Can anyone help me identify the original source of this Gore Vidal quote? "Write what you know’ will always be excellent advice for those who ought not to write at all. Write what you think, what you imagine, what you suspect. That is the only way out of the dead end of the Serious Novel which so many ambitious people want to write and no one on earth wants to read." Have been Googling for a while without any luck.
I'm new to the world of freelance writing but not making enough to hire a tax advisor. Should I start paying taxes in September? And how can I write off the depreciation of my laptop? [more inside]
Looking for a short story, in which an elevator figured prominently, used to demonstrate literary irony in a gifted-talented/advanced placement middle school class. [more inside]
Specific story-writing method published by a '20s/'30s crime writer? [more inside]
Are there paid jobs I could get that are non-demanding enough that they would give me long hours of free time to work on my own creative projects? [more inside]
What are your favourite examples of building tension or suspense in literature? Ideally these are brief moments, single paragraphs or small scenes, compelling the reader to continue on, worried about what will follow. [more inside]
What are the best online writer's groups or workshops, especially for genre (scifi/fantasy) fiction? Active community of geeks wanted. Help a writer get serious about her stories. [more inside]
I want my students to learn something from reading a "model essay." But how do I do this? [more inside]
I am in the middle of a long, demanding professional school admissions process. Essays are required. But I am so demoralized about my life situation that I am finding it very hard to have the proper upbeat tone. Experienced writers and editors--hell, experienced salesmen--what are some exercises I can do to get into the proper headspace? The more concrete, the better, like "start every writing session with ten bullet points about your accomplishments," or similar. [more inside]
What are the most useful writing tips and/or resources (books and the like) that you have come across as an adult? New teacher of a course in professional writing wants to know. [more inside]
Is it possible to find an expert in creative writing in the Boston area or online to help me improve my short story? Several knowledgeable readers pointed out specific flaws in it that I have no idea how to fix. [more inside]
What $20 item will help me remember that I can make better use of my time than playing video games? Exciting snowflakes inside! [more inside]
Is there an external professional/creative communication undergraduate program with no class interaction at any Australian university? [more inside]
I want to go about finding entertaining, engaging, intelligent things I can read about subjects I know nothing about. Ideally, I want a source of these things which will reliably send me off in directions I'm completely unfamiliar with, rather than just new sources which cover individual specific subjects. But it has to be enjoyable, even somewhat mindless reading – think Cracked or Buzzfeed. Does anything like this exist? Are there good places online for me to stimulate myself when I'm in that mindless time-killing mood?
Where do you go to read about written science fiction? Not a recommendation engine like GoodReads (or god help me Amazon), but somewhere that talks about new books coming out, old books you may have missed, reviews, previews, release dates, etc? And if they want to throw in some actual science, all the better. [more inside]
I'm writing a TED conference parody, and I'm hungry for some good behind-the-scenes info. I can't find much of anything. Which makes me hungrier. Do you know of any good blog posts, essays, articles out there? For people who have attended or have some inside info, would you mind dropping some info here about what it was like? Particularly, unusual or annoying things. [more inside]
This one might be a doozy. So, I'm a 23 year old recent college grad ( this May) with a B.A. in psychology and no idea what to do with my life. ( Original, I know, but bear with me, it gets better.) Everyone around me seems to have what are at least well-outlined 5 year plans, oriented around either grad school or a great entry level job. Certain circumstances in my life though seem to leave me with a vision of the future that doesn't extend far beyond the living room couch and daytime TV for the next 10 years and that frightens me to no end. [more inside]
I love the idea of doing everything electronically - easy backups, filing, being able to search, etc. Problem is, I much prefer the tactile experience of writing on paper. I have this delusion that I'm not able to be my "full creative self", whatever that means, unless it's with pen/pencil. I know that's just procrastination/laziness talking, but I am curious: did you struggle with this? Did you find something that made the typing process as enjoyable as writing, or did you just train yourself out of wanting to physically write? [more inside]
So, I'm starting tentatively to plunk out the first few pages of what I imagine will become a first draft of a first novel. It's aimed somewhere in the range of a very-near future, with some decidedly speculative features and technologies. No spaceships, no aliens, no dragons, no ray guns. I'd like it to be something like the novels of William Gibson and Gary Shteyngart, though I don't presume to compare the quality of what I'm working on to their works, which I truly admire. Both of those guys have published what are clearly SF novels, outside of genre SF. What are the advantages and disadvantages of attempting that, rather than selling to the SF publishing houses?
My bulldog is swimming in my swimming pool. [more inside]
Medium, a 'thingy' on the web, which is apparently in beta, has just sent me an invitation to come and write. Its been difficult searching for reviews or information about them due to their name. I've been recently burnt by Posterous' closure with the sudden demise of a popular* group blog I'd initiated. I would appreciate your thoughts on this medium (heh), whether I should consider writing there, particularly wrt its longevity or survival, and any other insights on its target audience, reputation and/or credibility, before investing time, effort and original content once more. [more inside]
Who wrote something like "all great writing is travel writing and Mary Shelley was the best travel writer"? I think I read this on the Internet in the last 10 years, written by a currently living book reviewer. I'd like to read the article again. It was an article about the importance of travel writing.
A number of sources suggest that writers write for x number of minutes a day. I wrote for 30min/day for 2 months, but stopped because I could not determine a benefit. In addition, I was (and remain) totally unclear on what one is supposed to do with the writing afterward: read it (if yes, soon after writing, or later)? Edit it (if yes, again, soon after writing, or later)? And for what purposes? I hope some established writers can direct me in the proper use of this tool, or debunk it in favor of another method. If it helps, I am writing creative non-fiction, travel narrative, etc.
I've been writing satirical news articles for a website I created, and while my articles have been popular so far, I realized that I've been writing solely on my instinct of how a newspaper article would sound. What are some resources that go more in-depth on the style of newspaper articles, rather than the news gathering/reporting side of journalism?
I want to start writing freelance. Not necessarily full-time, but I want to try it. [more inside]
The psychological testing I recently went through as part of my therapy suggests that my would-be career path may not be a great fit after all. Part of me wants to keep trying anyway. Is this a really terrible idea? If it is, how can I make a realistic new plan? [more inside]
[Novelists Filter] Name a few quick things (under 5 minutes) I can do to become a better writer. [more inside]
I'm looking for examples of analysis of why a particular passage of prose is excellent, or why it fails. [more inside]
When I type up a line or a short passage from a novel to post online, I often "clean it up" a little, and I'm wondering how much of this is OK. [more inside]
Hey AskMetafilter - calling on all writers for help. I write screenplays, and I think my greatest weakness is that I have trouble developing clear, consistent characters in my work. I seem to constantly make characters do things that don't fit their personalities - which creates a lot of confusion for my readers. I need help figuring out how to create well-defined characters who are consistent throughout the text. [more inside]
I gave my aunt a draft manuscript of my novel to read and in addition to catching typos and asking about character motivation, she wrote the above. I'm now halfway through the manuscript and I have removed THREE HUNDRED extraneous 'that's. Maybe 'that' is just my quirk (see what I did there?) but I wonder if you have similar tips. I'm not looking for grammar rules or broad writing suggests like 'use active voice,' just quick, concrete shortcuts to tighten up flabby writing. Another example, depressingly necessary in academia, is to replace every instance of "the way in which" with "how." Thoughts?
Can you recommend some good resources for writing outlines for short fiction? I have this book which focuses on novel writing, and I'd like a comparable resource for short stories, novellas, and other, shorter pieces. [more inside]
What I want is an older sister /grandmother/ auntie type - someone wise I can write letters to from time to time, who will write me thoughtful letters back and offer suggestions and whatnot. A life coach? A counsellor (or therapist)? Does anyone offer this service? I would happily pay a reasonable fee. [more inside]
I like putting words together, whether they're short stories or research and reports. What kind of job would allow me to do more of that? [more inside]