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.
A few days ago I went to see my local Career Advisor at school. She said I was miles ahead of every other humanities grad as I have 15 months of work experience. She told me to contact various guilds and organizations in my area... [more inside]
I got myself a Lenovo tablet on super sale for Christmas. I'm interested in using it to read and annotate pdf files (mainly journal articles). The pdf reader app I'm using has the ability for freehand writing, and I'd like to try that out for margin notes (some of the papers are technical with lots of symbols, so writing is easier than typing). I bought a stylus that had pretty good reviews on Amazon, but I have to push down to make it work which is ok for highlighting, but tiring for writing. Is this a limitation of this tablet's screen? Or is there a stylus that is easier to use? [more inside]
I work in communications and would like to start a blog that I could link to from Twitter and LinkedIn. But I'd also like to write about my personal life. How do I thread this needle? [more inside]
What elements are needed to write a frighteningly plausible post-apocalyptic story? [more inside]
Writing fiction: is it the sort of thing where you either have "the gift," or you don't? [more inside]
Graduating soon with a BA from a Canadian Uni. Job search help please. I have two years writing experience.
Graduating in June with a BA Philosophy. I have two years journalism experience. I'm currently searching for jobs through my network and linkedin. Help please! [more inside]
I'm looking for examples of fiction that heavily involve transcripts of online communication - forum posts, website content, emails, IM conversations, the more and more varied the better. [more inside]
As a reader of fiction (especially if you're a devotee of speculative fiction), how much do you like detailed descriptions and/or lists as part of the story? What if the story switches between detail and expediency? [more inside]
I officially entered my mid-30s in 2012...a year in which I got my BA and have continued to maintain my mental health. Though I feel good about my accomplishments this year, I am at an impasse. Please help! [more inside]
What is a realistic path to becoming a published SF author? [more inside]
What are the legal rights and obligations of someone reading aloud in public from a published book? [more inside]
I have an ~18 hour flight ahead of me and I am compiling a DIY ebook of longform journalism/non-fiction for my Kindle to get me through it. So, what is the best thing you read this year? [more inside]
I'm looking for an essay I read in a textbook. This would've been in the late 90s and it was a middle school Literature textbook. The essay was about writing. I remember that it included a bit about how you can't ask writers about writing for the same reason you can't ask the sea about itself (it will just gurgle at you). It also had a bit about breaking the rules when writing, talking about how writing guides tell you never to open a story with dialogue but then gave an example of a classic novel that opened with dialogue in French. [more inside]
Help me decide how to spend 5 to 30 minutes each day in 2013. [more inside]
I've always had communications-related jobs, but they never seem to be the right fit. I'm a great writer (although I have a love/hate relationship with writing), but I also helping enjoy helping people and interacting with people, etc., and writing is a pretty solitary job. (Well, PR isn't, but that's one area I want to stay away from, as well as fundraising). Have any other writer-types who are like me found a solution? (Oh, and I don't want to take on grad-school loans right now.)
I've been asked to put together a longish reading list for a BA Art/Literature module, and I'd love some ideas for texts outside my current knowledge. The list should cover a series of genres and contexts, with writing from, and about, the history and theory of art, journalism, academia, design, architecture and film. Writing on design and architecture are particularly outside my knowledge. What innovative and critically significant writings can you recommend across any of these subject areas? [more inside]
Looking for essays and books you have found most helpful in improving your writing - in particular, style, critical analysis, and conveying a strong message. I've read "Politics and the English Language" and The Elements of Style, and found them both really helpful. Thanks!
When I was in college, I really loved writing papers and now I find that I miss the chance to study small topics in depth. How could I make that into a career? [more inside]
Creating an index of first lines, from a group of many poems, each stored in a seperate .txt file. Are there any applications or scripts that would help me to do that? [more inside]
Wrote an article for publication on the web. Billed the client for the article, but did not specify any charges for re-use of the article elsewhere. Now the client just got back to me, saying that they liked it so much they want to use the article on another website which was not specified in the original contract. What should I do next? [more inside]
I would like access to a supplemental resource for a textbook that I purchased, for non-school-related use, but only instructors for a course can have access. [more inside]
I recently finished writing a novel and want to find an agent to represent it. But wait--my question isn't what you might expect: I don't want advice about finding an agent, publisher, etc. I just want some advice on dealing with the unbearable tension of the submissions process. What can I do to distract myself or otherwise feel like I'm not just sitting around waiting for responses that will likely never come? [more inside]
How can I become better at remembering references to cite in my academic writing? I know how to use APA style, but when I need to write I can remember theories and details, but not where I actually READ those theories. HALP! [more inside]
Should I write a novel or a graphic novel? Advice from authors and comic artists wanted! [more inside]
Wet concrete being poured outside our house. I want to write something in it!! This is a two part question. a) Is this a terrible idea, and if so, why? and b) I'd love some creative suggestions for what to write! [more inside]
How do you edit writing written in a different dialect than your own? I'm very soon going to be responsible for editing some English technical/business writing by a team in a highly multilingual south-Asian country. [more inside]
How can I create a "tap essay" app (such as Robin Sloan's Fish without learning Objective C? I'm a poet, not a programmer! The idea is pretty simple: an app that shows styled text on a page that you tap to go to the next page with the occasional option to tweet the current line, etc.
A world with binary suns and multiple satellites that can still be livable by a diverse (even lush) assortment of life forms - true or not? [more inside]