I feel like I have half-assedly asked people this for a long time and gotten more encouragement than answers. Meanwhile I have written for a living for years, just in ways that are overly specialized and don't yield much you can show people as a portfolio. Call it a resolution if you must, but I'm pretty determined to write more in the new year and get paid for it. Where do I start? [more inside]
What are your favourite examples of music writing? I'm looking specifically for pieces and articles that introduced you to someone new, that made you want to either buy their records or go see them live. My own favourite example is the artist biographies from the Golden Plains Music Festival. [more inside]
When writing I often seem to switch from past tense (-ed verbs) to present whatever(?) tense (-ing verbs) within the same sentence. What is this called? How do I stop it? [more inside]
I'm in my early thirties and I don't think I've ever been creative. I just don't think I have much imagination for those kinds of things. But it's something I think I'd like in my life, and I'm a little bewildered where to start. Is creativity or imagination something I can learn (or be taught), or is it more innate?
I guess “what should I do next?” is a pretty common question here and carries a high risk of snowflakes, if I’m understanding the local usage of that term, but here goes. [more inside]
I'm currently writing a non-fiction book that will be published next year. I want to hear your best tips for keeping things running smoothly - especially towards the end of the publishing process. Specific circumstances inside. [more inside]
I'm a writer (read: I have not attempted to publish anything yet but I write. A lot.) I'm working on another novel and I want my writing to be as real and authentic as possible. However, I'm running into a gap in my life knowledge that I need your help with. (Please note: I'm not looking for you to post ideas or plot suggestions - I'm looking for a better understanding of real life, in all its messy and complicated glory, to draw from as I write this story.) [more inside]
There used to be a website that would encourage you to write a set amount (500 words?) every day. This is meant for stream-of-consicouness, just get it on paper writing. The website would store your writings (but not allow public sharing) and remind you to keep up the habit. Now I can't find it. Is it gone? Any other suggestions for how to get a writing habit going?
20ish years ago there was a one-page essay in the (maybe? Last page?) New Yorker that featured many uses of words that had no such root or form. I can't think of any specific words in the essay, but even what the words or practice are called and a list would be nice. Things like "rambunction" for rambunctious, or "consternating" for consternation. Is this mere coinage, or is there a wider practice at work? [more inside]
I want to read journals and letters by people in their fifties and sixties. It could be anyone, anywhere, any century. I prefer good writing, and some levity. Most of all I'm looking for a sense of personality, text that brings the writer to life. The writer in his/her late middle age has lived several decades. They are settled in themselves, yet they still struggle. They look forward to years ahead, and they ponder mortality. What do they have to say? [more inside]
I'm looking for links to Objectivist discussion sites/articles about how non-parent childcare (for orphans etc.) would work in an Objectivist/Randian society. I have some links; they don't cover this exact topic. [more inside]
I'm an experienced editor (of all sorts) and writer (primarily journalism but also have had short gigs writing copy for social media and for a mobil app interface). Long ago I analysed a client's website to see if it was user-friendly or hostile. I'm really good at understanding customer perspectives and advocating for users. Also, I'm an old. How might I go about getting such a job? And would such a job, in the Bay Area, be lucrative? [more inside]
Seeking examples or lists of writing that have inspired writers to write. Not "I read Orlando and wanted to be a writer," but novels, stories, or non-fiction that, when read, inspire one immediately to write, either on a one-time or a repeated basis. I write regularly; I'd like to have a shelf by my desk that I dip into more or less randomly before writing to prime the pump. While I love many books or stories, I rarely remember the ones that make me want to write.
I just retired from teaching and am resuming writing. I had an agent and had two books published (F/SF, mainstream publisher) twenty years ago, but my agent died and I'm basically starting from scratch. The Writer's Digest conference in August in NYC looks okay. Is it worth going? Or should I do something else first? [more inside]
A young heterosexual couple in San Francisco try to give each other gifts for their anniversary. They give up something of value to themselves to buy each other a gift, but when the exchange occurs they realize that what they bought for the other is dependent on something the other has already given up. What have they given each other, and what have they lost? [more inside]
Freelance writer considering education in front- and back-end coding. I've chosen an educational path, but I don't know how to make the best of my new-found skills as I move forward. More inside. [more inside]
Full time and mostly happily employed as a tech writer at company A, but it's not a long term career plan. Company B asked me to come in to see about a potential short term gig. This could be great. Or not. Help me navigate? [more inside]
There are things that make me sad, and things that make me sad about being sad. For example, some things don't really merit a lot of sadness (especially when it is ill-informed or useless), but consistently and sincerely break my heart all the same... [more inside]
Where can I learn about the physics of spaceflight if I don't know calculus? What books, movies, video games, websites, etc., would you recommend? [more inside]
Who, out of the entire MCU (TV and Movies, but not Animated series), is the oldest character? By oldest I mean was published in comics first? [more inside]
I've been having a bit of a rough time for the last while, and I'd like to try to start writing to help me work through some things. Turns out, that's easier said than done. Can you help me get going? [more inside]
I'm trying to finish my PhD thesis. I need help, tips, anything from methods for focusing for someone with probable cognitive issues related to Bipolar I disorder to ADHD or OCD behaviors, and reducing anxiety related to this so that I can function. I would appreciate any advice anyone could offer. [more inside]
I'm just getting started on the process of turning my PhD dissertation into a book. On rereading, I'm a bit shocked by how clunky the writing is and how much I haven't said. I'd love any advice from anyone who has done this or anything similar. What's the best approach I can take, and what pitfalls are there? [more inside]
Artists/Calligraphers, help me find the perfect ink for art and writing with a traditional dip pen. Tell me your favorites! [more inside]
I am looking for book recommendations. Specifically, books that have gorgeous writing. [more inside]
I have liked Pilot’s Precise V7 for the past 20 years, but the latest batch I bought seems to have irregular ink flow. A couple times a day, the normally-smooth ink dries up a bit and needs to be coaxed out, looking like this. I have a pretty light touch when I write, and when the V7 works it’s the best thing ever. These dry spells are bumming me out, though. Has quality control on these dipped recently? Is there another kind of ballpoint pen with the combination of smooth ink flow and a fat line I like? I lose pens on the regular, so I’m looking for something that I can buy in bunches and keep around.
I've never been very good at outlining or planning academic papers. My method of attack has consisted of sitting down at my laptop and hammering out prose, then going back and editing draft after draft until I come up with something I like. This method served me just fine in most of my humanities and social science courses in college, but I have a much harder time approaching philosophy essays in this unstructured way. Does anyone have any particular tips or methods that have helped them plan and write academic philosophy essays?
My 9 year old son is having a very hard time learning to spell. He's a voracious reader, and reads above grade level with good comprehension. In general he's plenty smart. But spelling even basic words is a struggle for him. It has gotten to the point where "just practice more and you'll catch on" doesn't seem like the right strategy. Is there a specific learning disability related to spelling? [more inside]
Looking for practical advice and anecdotes on actively looking for a creative partner when life does not grant you one "naturally" like best friends who share a hobby etc. More specifically how do writers find other writers or comic book artists. I've gone to a few writers meetups and they were fun and useful, but ultimately not fruitful (yet). I know there are probably a lot of online communities I could join (how should I approach this approach to finding someone?)
I've written an essay about my relationship with my ex. What are your experiences with publishing personal essays about friends or family members? [more inside]
I'm about to start a writing project with someone else. I have no idea how this is done: logistically, that can be all worked out, I mean more division of labor. Does one dream up and the other grind it out? What works best for you and your writing partner?
It's 2015, and more and more academic articles from pre-Internet times are getting scanned, indexed, and shared. Back in the day, you might have been able to publish essentially the same paper in journals with mainly domestic subscriber lists in two different countries, and nobody ever would have been the wiser. Somebody did this. The intersection of subscribers was probably less than 25 libraries in this case back then. Twenty years later, and a reader noticed. Author is now a big cheese. My gut tells me to treat this just like any other case of major plagiarism--notify the author, allow them to respond, but then likely public retraction as self-plagiarism and notify employer and journal where Author is now editor. [more inside]
As an aspiring horror writer, I am constantly in search of inspiration for images and scenarios that terrify. Help me out? [more inside]
I love my Jotter, but I'm looking for something similar in a fountain pen. My number 1 priority is slimness - I hate fat pens - but I would also like to avoid cheap-feeling plastic. What are my options for under $50? Should I stick with Parker? Is the Cross Classic worthy of my grasp? What's the best non-bulky fountain pen you've used?
I am researching liner notes, and would like to see Johnny Cash's liner notes for his album "Live at Folsom Prison" as well as his liner notes for Bob Dylan's "Nashville Skyline." They don't seem to be anywhere online, even in iTunes. I would order hard copies, but I don't have time for shipping. Does anyone know where I can find them online, or would anyone who has them be willing to take readable photos for me? I'm on a time crunch, of course. Please help!
Should one query publishers individually or simultaneously about short story collections? Does no mention of submission status on publisher websites mean "we're closed to subs at this time?" I've read tons of opinions about novel, short story, or article subs, but little about submitting/querying for collections, other than "you should probably wait until you have a novel." In my niche, many authors publish collections with small or large presses before a novel, if they write novels at all. [more inside]
My wife has started doing some freelance writing, and her first story will be published in tomorrow's edition of our local newspaper. Yay! Unfortunately, someone in the editorial chain made several errors, including misspelling a simple word in a section they (poorly) rewrote, and misspelling the name of one of the subjects of the story in several of the photo captions. They also rewrote another portion into a bunch of short, choppy sentences that totally ruin the flow of the article. How should she respond? [more inside]
I am a music journalist, and I’ve also done a lot of promotional writing (bios, press releases, etc) over the years for musicians, PR firms, and record labels. I’ve mostly written for rock musicians but have done other genres as well. I want to get more clients but don't know the most effective way. More inside. [more inside]
I'm close to an important academic deadline, and I need to hole up somewhere this weekend and just churn out words. My goal is to produce about 10-12,000 words of rough draft in the next 3 days (there will be time to edit so I'm not too worried about polish at this stage). I would like some tips on how to maximise my chances of getting this done. [more inside]
A friends son is very keen on creative writing - he publishes online via Reddit and his own blog. He is currently negotiating with an online gaming company (based in the Netherlands) to write dialogue for their new game that is in development (they send him prompts and basic outlines of the game sequence). Can you give me any advice about the average rates for online writing. Do you you charge by the hour or for a written piece? What would you recommend would be a good rate, considering his age (17) and his skill level (he is still in high school!). From my research I have seen a range of quotes - anything from $20 per hour or $50 per article up to $900 for skilled writers. Any advice much appreciated.
I just moved to Boston and don't know much of anything about it's history as a music town. I mean I'm generally aware of classic rock bands being from Boston, and then Mission of Burma, but what else? What books, documentaries, websites, magazine archives, etc should I read to find out more about the Boston (and surrounding area) scene? [more inside]
Where can I find excellent movie discussion, analysis, reviews, dissection, etc by women? I feel like I have a stable of great film-related youtubers, writers, and podcasters that I enjoy, but they are largely male -- I'd love to discover more current work from women in this area. Thank you!
I am looking for the journalists that are experts in what they write about. [more inside]
I'm returning to freelance copyediting after 10 years on the writing side of nonprofit operations. Educational, business and technical content interest me the most, and that’s where I want to start (I also enjoy research, but how to fit that in?). Can the hive mind help steer me in the right direction? Another challenge: I must do it remotely. Where do I start? [more inside]
I can't find any sources that really explain how they'd work to a science illiterate like me. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Even fiction will help, seeing as it's for a story of my own. [more inside]
I'm co-writing a theme and blurb for a conference with a colleague. The theme is "Convergence|Divergence." My pal has added an opening that is driving me insane, but I see his point. What images come to mind with this theme? There are two from the music of our youth...The Beatles' "Come together right now," and $BandName "Song Title" Trigger warning: Annoying earworm inside. [more inside]
A few years ago I interviewed a locally-based but internationally-known folk musician about her life and work. Her stories were great and I thought she should write a memoir, but she said he didn't have the time. So I volunteered to help. [more inside]
After finishing my dissertation, I successfully applied to become a reporter at a newspaper. I'm liking the work as well as the flexibility and connectedness that allows me to apply what I researched (political theory/discourse analysis) in my writing--I'm wondering how I can better conceptualize my future career path. (Details within) [more inside]
I think I write in a confusing manner. Folks seem to have a hard time wading through my sentences and paragraphs. Maybe it's because I use peculiar words. Maybe I phrase things awkwardly. Maybe I just don't understand how to properly structure a sentence. I don't know. Do you have any advice about how to write in a way that's easy to read and understand? [more inside]