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]
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]
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]
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]
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?
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]
It’s been a stressful year thus far and I really need to get away for a few days, but alas, none of my friends are available for a trip right now. I’d love to go somewhere in mid/late August. I have a bunch of requirements, of course! [more inside]
So I've been pecking away at a book for a while, encountering the typical novice writer issue of not getting past 100 pages or so before things start to stall. Can you help me figure out who my heroes will do battle with? [more inside]
Please recommend to me any science fiction/fantasy novels (maybe TV shows as well) that are well written, interesting, and essentially nonviolent. "Completely violence-free" isn't necessary. I'm particularly looking for novels aimed at adults that don't rely on combat scenes to advance the narrative, generate/resolve tension, or provide Crowning Moments of Awesome.* [more inside]
I'd like to find some software to organize and tie together less-important details in my story. Probably I want a personal wiki--but which one? I'm open to wiki alternatives also. [more inside]
My personal history is something that has confounded me and still does. Please help me find some resources to help me make more sense of it. [more inside]
Please help my husband and me find words or phrases (any language!) that describe the sensation of knowing how far you are from home. Not really alienation or nostalgia or being homesick-- just the understanding/realization of the distance. [more inside]
Hi mefi, can anyone recommend sites/writers that post interesting longer articles in French? [more inside]
Can you please give me advice, or share recommendations, about non-disposable, easy writing pens for a left-handed writer? Not ballpoint, and need free-flowing ink. I have tried various gel, ball-point, fountain, and dip pens, and I prefer a sustainable solution. [more inside]
I have a couple of short stories out there on the market right now. They're between 4000-6000 words each. I've really been struggling with how to price these, and I have found no good advice on Google. How should I proceed? Writer flurries inside. [more inside]
I am about 15,000 words into my first novel, and I'm finding it difficult to get feedback from my old English major friends. I'd like to know how the pace, grammar, syntax, etc. of my story strike various experienced readers, but I certainly don't want to put my manuscript online in an unsecured environment. Any thoughts? BTW, I live in the Maine woods; no, there are no local meet-ups. I really wish there were.
I want to sell what I write as a 'packaged' article or essay. Best spots to do this? [more inside]
Tryin' to track down a portfolio of English reading/writing laminated bifold four page workbooks. [more inside]
Please help me understand seaworthiness so I can write about it. [more inside]
I stumbled across an older book, and I'd love to find others like it. Help? [more inside]
Could someone recommend a free or inexpensive program I could use to track experience points in a nerd project I'm working on? To inspire myself to write more, I thought I'd turn my automath afternoons into a sort of rpg, where I gain points for expanding my vocabulary, memorizing passages, writing, revising, and publishing. I could do it all on paper, but I've found I'm much more productive when I keep all my work on my laptop (hypotheses abound). I could also use a spread sheet, where current stat totals are in the top row, but that would quickly lead to tedious scrolling just to input new data. Ideally, I'd like to have a static page with fields I can plug numeric data into, and have that data compiled and displayed somewhere at the top of the page. Seems pretty basic--the kind of thing that must exist, right? Thanks!
What language is this? What does it say? [more inside]
Yesterday I saw a community theater production of Sam Shepherd's Buried Child. Later at home, I looked up some commentary/analysis on it. So many different meanings were attributed to various aspects of the play, such as the corn that Tilden kept bringing in from outside. It was tied to fertility, infertility, Sukkot, the Corn King, death, and on and on. At one point, Vince reentered the house from the screened-in porch by cutting the screen vertically top to bottom and stepping through. This was said to be a symbolic rebirth for his character. [more inside]
Asking for a friend. Friend interviewing a source for an article and wanted to publish it as an interview. He pitched it to a paper and the paper wants him to right a story in the form of "as told by." So the article reads like a narrative by the source but is written by my friend. He has never written anything like this before and wonders whether or not he should pay some of what he's paid for the article to the source?
I'm having trouble finding any decent quality writing on sex advice or on sex in general where the author and target audience are both straight men. Part of this is about being interested in reading such content, part is about wondering if there really is a void here and if I should start writing myself to fill it. [more inside]
I was reading a review of Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312 and a reviewer said the following: The author inserts John Dos Passos-like lists here and there in the text. Not quite sure that works, however (These lists are distorted and truncated in the Kindle edition). What do these lists look like? [more inside]
Tell me the story of how you managed to keep your novel organized! [more inside]
I'm a writer who doesn't really write anything...help? [more inside]
My writing tends to be very brief, and it's difficult for me to write long essays that are good. Also, I would like to start writing literary and cultural critiques and would like MeFites' advice. [more inside]
I'm looking for a Junot Diaz quotation about writing and politics, and google is failing me. I saw it in the last year or two in the form of a tumblr-type image, though it was not this one about Elvish. It went something like this:
Interview question: How do you make sure your writing has good politics?
Diaz: When you grow up in a society that is as repressive as ours, that bad politics is going to come out in your writing no matter what. I have to struggle constantly to examine my writing and make sure I agree with the politics and get misogynistic or otherwise reactionary political content scrubbed out of it.The interview question may or may not have been present. I of course can't phrase Diaz's response as eloquently as he did.
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]
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!
Specific story-writing method published by a '20s/'30s crime writer? [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'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]
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]
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]
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?
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 want to submit my short story to the kind of literary magazine that I'd actually enjoy reading. Do you have any suggestions? [more inside]
Writers, and novelists or fiction writers in particular, can you share your goals, processes and timelines for each of your drafts? [more inside]
I'm looking for websites that post longer pieces (3000 words+) on topics like science, culture, personal essay (not so much regular long-form journalism). These could be magazines like seed or nautil.us or online only. Recommendations?
Folks I know get published! Yay them! Go them! But shamefully, it.. the ...the flames, flames...on the side of my face...breathing...heaving breaths. How do I tame my inner envy monster? [more inside]
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]
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]
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]