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]
I used to be a decent writer growing up. I could write things in two hours that would take other people weeks while in school. Ideas.... mental outlines... of what a certain piece of writing would look and sound like would spontaneously form in my head, sometimes down to specific wording. Suddenly, I would get a burst of energy and write until there was nothing left. Now even writing an email feels like pulling teeth. What's wrong with me? YANMD. [more inside]
I've been invited to give a series of workshops at a local high school on writing science fiction and fantasy. What should I do to make them awesome? [more inside]
I'm stuck on part of a short story I'm writing. My main character is at a silent Vipassana retreat, but I'm not comfortable having so much of the action be internal. Aside from natural disasters and the like, what are some weird/dramatic things that could happen there that are realistic?
I want to explore a career as a medical writer/editor. I've worked in the healthcare field for 18 years and I feel I have a lot of things going for me, however I don't have the undergraduate degree that most employers list as required. More details below the jump. [more inside]
Can a writer's literary style or technique be summed up in one phrase? I am trying to compile such a list of descriptions. An example would be: "Ernest Hemingway: Simple, terse, unadorned, and uses few adjectives." George Bernard Shaw: "Energetic, witty, intellectual, aggressive, comedic, and socially critical." The more technical the description, the better.
Let's say I wanted my Mac to be able to display every Unicode character. I mean EVERY character. Not just the useful ones. I want Ancient Greek Musical Notation (U+1D200..U+1D24F). Or Pau Cin Hau (U+11AC0–U+11AFF), a script created by and named after the 19th-century founder of a religion in Northwest Myanmar. Or the undeciphered glyphs engraved on the Phaistos Disc (U+101D0..U+101FF). How can I accomplish my goal while doing the least work sourcing and installing fonts? [more inside]
Hi, I am working on a story and I have a sentence that says, "Please give them the food packets." Can anyone tell me if that is second person point of view or if it's third person point of view. Thanks in advance.
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?)
Please recommend a good course to learn more about playwrighting and/or more resources to learn how to do so/NYC city based but open to other locations. [more inside]
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]
How do copywriters and designers collaborate on assignments? [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]
If you were mentoring/working with a technical professional or someone without a strong writing background, what book(s) would you recommend they read to learn about basic concepts/techniques/style/voice, etc.? [more inside]
I'm looking for examples of a particular kind of narrative writing style that might be (or overlap with) what I think is sometimes called deep-point-of-view. [more inside]
I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Difficulty level: self-employment for the past decade, entrepreneur, 40something female. [more inside]
[FictionFilter] In the era of doxxing and all that, is it possible for a tech person with a high-profile position to keep his personal info -- and real name and identity -- under wraps? [more inside]
I am interested in books that manage to combine a successful plot-driven approach (particularly thrillers or other airport-style reading, like Crichton or Dan Brown) with humor, either in the form of characters, dialogue, or narration. When has it been done successfully? When has it been attempted unsuccessfully? Are they like oil and water, and if so, why? [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]
How do I get a good grounding in the study of literature while not a full-time student? What resources (Great Courses, books, textbooks, seminars, courses, etc.) would help? The purpose is to add depth, symbolism, and allusion to my own writing. [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!
What's the best way to approach potential ghostwriting clients? [more inside]
I got a last-minute invite to a weekend creative writing workshop. I haven't produced anything except for work related, decidedly non-creative, work in a long time, and am not at all in a daily writing (or idea generating) habit at this point. Prescribe me a workout for the next 4 days so I am as "in shape" as is realistic. [more inside]
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 daughter is turning 11 next year and I am writing her a Harry Potter inspired story (fanfic) of her very own. She is the star character in a story about her first year at Hogwarts. Can you help me name some of other characters? [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]
Objective: Career change to technical writing. Obstacles: My current demanding job. Needing to relocate to place that actually has technical writing jobs. **Please help me determine the feasibility of my plan to relocate and change my career. Details inside.** [more inside]
I've been writing for an online pop-culture magazine and at this point have hundreds of clips. The company is shifting to a new CMS soon and I'm worried some of my stories might disappear, either deliberately or not. What's the best way to preserve them for my own portfolio? [more inside]
I wrote a timely semi-personal essay about abortion and rape culture in response to Katha Pollitt's call for pro-choice women to speak out in the NY Times a couple days ago. I'd like to pitch it to a handful of feminist-friendly websites--think Jezebel, The Atlantic, The Guardian's US Comment is Free, etc, although I'm absolutely punching above my weight with those particular examples, and I'd like some advice on where and how to pitch it. [more inside]
I'm looking for examples of authors and musicians who lived artistically unremarkable lives for their first four decades, only beginning to express themselves creatively in their 40s, and who subsequently received critical or popular acclaim for the work they produced during that fifth decade. [more inside]
I just finished reading Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies, and I realized I don't really understand, at all, what's involved in writing a book like that. [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]
After twenty years of not doing so, I've started writing fiction regularly. I'm really great at keeping up with it so far: after three months of near-daily writing, I have produced several thousand words, comprising a handful of short stories. Now I've reached the point where I need to be both revising the stuff I've already written and also writing new stuff, and I'm not so good at the first part. [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]
Nanowrimo, Inktober, One Book July...where can I find a list of such challenges so that I don't miss them next time? [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]
I'm hoping to someday change careers into a more writing-focused field. The advice for this is always "start a blog and join Twitter." I would like to do both of these things, but I have so many interests, and such difficulty thinking about how any of them would translate into a blog, that I'm stuck at the screening phase. How to pick one? [more inside]
I run a blog about punk, garage, and DIY music. I'm starting a new feature where we list 3-4 facts about punk which are all untrue except one. First person to email us with an accurate guess as to which fact is made-up wins tickets to an upcoming Chicago show. I'm thinking of calling it something like "Fact or Fiction?" but would love more suggestions. [more inside]
I currently live in Brooklyn, but I'm headed to Vancouver for grad school in the fall. I have a few part-time freelance writing gigs that I can take with me, so I thought I could leave my higher-paying job in NYC, satisfy my wanderlust, and get out of the city for August. I could go anywhere, with relatively cheap flights/rent and wifi-access. But where should I go? [more inside]
I write and I am a white Southern woman. I have a fantastic idea for a novel set in the far future, five hundred years from now, in a particular town in the South where I grew up. It would feature no white viewpoint characters. Should I do this? [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!
Have you made the transition from paper journal to digital journal? [more inside]
Help me think of people/companies my daughter can send postal mail to that are likely to respond. [more inside]
I enjoy writing short stories but I'm very aware of the fact that my female voice is somewhat lacking. Help? [more inside]
I am looking for the journalists that are experts in what they write about. [more inside]
I met a guy who is producing a tv show - he has raised half the money to shoot the pilot and seems to be legitimate. I told him I was a writer and he expressed interest in having me on board as one of the writers for the show. He then asked me if I could turn his treatment (the overall idea of the first episode) into a proper script format. He did not offer to pay for this and it seemed like it was a way of auditioning / interviewing me. More details and my question inside.. [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]