I taught college English for years, then transitioned to technical editing, where I've been working for almost two decades. I'd love to get back to teaching, but I thought it would be impossible. Now a friend of mine thinks my experience makes me a strong candidate for an upcoming opening as a teacher in his department. More inside. [more inside]
Can anyone recommend a good editing service for academic journal articles (in the humanities)? The article in question is around 9000 words and has already passed peer review and had a number of edits for style at the request of the journal but they are asking for it to be edited again. [more inside]
I’ve been a lifelong reader and writer. I’m realizing while doing more writing (and in particular editing my own writing) that I need better resources and suggestions for learning English grammar. I've been told by some editors that I make mistakes and I’d love to have a better sense of how to polish what I write and deal with the little bits of grammatical inaccuracies that sprout up in finished pieces. [more inside]
Can you think of any examples of pieces of writing that open with a . . . temporal bait-and-switch? [more inside]
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?
I had a freelance pitch accepted from a major national outlet. For various reasons, the editor didn't like it after I wrote it. Now what? [more inside]
I have legal access through my school to the full archives, on EBSCO, of a magazine, and I would like to save about a decade's worth of articles in PDF format. [more inside]
I am looking for excerpts or entire works that describe as viscerally as possible the feeling of wanting to die (not necessarily being suicidal but not necessarily not). [more inside]
What should I be reading to replace Grantland? [more inside]
I've been a blogger, off and on, since "weblog" first became a word, but the way blogs and communities are built these days confounds me. I miss tight-knit, ye olde internet communities but am no longer sure how they are built or nourished in a noisier, more commercialized web. I need opinions. [more inside]
I started a MFA writing program in Vancouver this fall. I wasn't sure about whether I should go or not to begin with, and now, I'm still second-guess and worrying I made a big mistake. I'm unhappy, often, and I'm worried that if I stay it will be for the wrong reasons: a big, heavy sunken cost fallacy. Can you help, please? Long complicated backstory inside. [more inside]
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]