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How has the MFA/Creative Writing affected fiction?

Is it possible for a layperson to differentiate an MFA trained author from one who isn't?
posted by larry_darrell on Dec 28, 2013 - 13 answers

“Original” self-marketing ideas

I'm looking for original self-marketing ideas for a writer and/or a designer. Okay, social media is important: Design your own page, update it frequently and get your friends to like it and promote it to their friends. But I'm looking for those kinds of tips that you've read and thought to yourself "Well that's original!". Something on par with Nine Inch Nails'/H2DA/Radiohead's decision to give their music for free "lest they come to the unique live concert experience" marketing ploy. Have you ever come across a Seth Godin or a Malcolm Gladwell book (or anything else) and was struck by something interesting?
posted by omar.a on Dec 24, 2013 - 5 answers

This sentence is an example of the passive voice that I'm desperately

trying to get rid of. I have to write for my job and although I'm a good writer, the passive voice is my nemesis. I want to use it consciously and for a reason, not as a mistake or a bad habit. So ummm, yeah, I need some resources. [more inside]
posted by onecircleaday on Dec 22, 2013 - 22 answers

Online Magazines or Magazine-like Sites?

I enjot reading OMNI Reboot, Aeon Magazine, IEEE Spectrum, and Nautilus. Can you suggest more like them? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 18, 2013 - 12 answers

Resources on Alan Moore's process

I couldn't find any information as to how Alan Moore goes about writing his comics (namely Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell). I found an excerpt from his Watchmen script which shows how incredibly detailed he is in describing each panel. I once read that on Watchmen, it was a back-and-forth between him and Dave Gibbons, where Gibbons starts off with roughly sketching out the panels, gets comments from Moore, gets greenlit, then proceeds to drawing the final version. Any more information on Moore's process? Any other scripts you know of and is his writing as detailed for all his projects as detailed (I know that From Hell has labyrinthine appendices that almost match the work itself in length for example)?
posted by omar.a on Dec 17, 2013 - 3 answers

Chapter One: The End.

Tell me the story of how you managed to keep your novel organized! [more inside]
posted by mittens on Dec 16, 2013 - 15 answers

What has happened to the past perfect tense?

I've recently noticed an irritating trend in English-language writing: sections that really should be written in the past perfect tense are instead in the simple past tense. I've seen this more in American English than in British English, but that might just be confirmation bias. Is there a reason for this, for example a new style of teaching in schools or universities? And is it really new, or am I just looking for things to get annoyed about? [more inside]
posted by daisyk on Dec 14, 2013 - 30 answers

"This towns got secrets you can't possibly comprehend!"

It's a common trope in literature, film, etc. where somebody warns another person: "You can't possibly grasp the secret that's going on here!" Which, of course, raises a mystery that an author's got to resolve, usually anticlimactically. What are instances of stories which pay off on those juicy teasers? i.e., stories in which the thing that our protagonist "can't possibly comprehend" is in fact astonishing, unexpected, and totally rewarding for the reader? (Bonus points for avoiding cosmic horror, unnecessary violence, sexual savagery.)
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 13, 2013 - 66 answers

a little twlonger

Is there some sort of online venue that's midway in concept between twitter and a blog? [more inside]
posted by threeants on Dec 12, 2013 - 9 answers

She was from *********

What's it called when authors put ****** in place of place names or character names? [more inside]
posted by dilaudid on Dec 5, 2013 - 13 answers

Russian Cursive

Where can I see numbered diagrams for handwriting each Cyrillic letter?
posted by slowlikemolasses on Dec 5, 2013 - 2 answers

I am afraid to write.

I'm a writer who doesn't really write anything...help? [more inside]
posted by Cybria on Nov 21, 2013 - 31 answers

Articles / books comparing writing to other artistic mediums

Can anyone point me to articles or books which investigate the artistic advantages and disadvantages of writing vis-a-vis other mediums like film (e.g. what effects can written documents have that movies cannot, and vice-versa)?
posted by shivohum on Nov 18, 2013 - 1 answer

Several characters in search of a plot

I'm looking for an example novel(s) that features several separate third person viewpoint characters with seemingly different plot strands at the beginning but whose plots converge as they go on and they end up meeting further on in the novel (if only briefly). I want to see how the author handles these meetings and the meta narrative of several stories merging into one. I would prefer mainstream rather than literary as I'd like to seem something straight forward rather than overly tricky and would prefer sf but please don't let that constrict you as I'm more interested in the mechanics rather than the background and any genre would do.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 14, 2013 - 50 answers

Is there a list or blog that tracks writing contests?

I enjoy writing but often have trouble with motivation. Is there a blog or other resource that tracks writing contests? Looking for anything from publishers looking for compilation submissions on a certain theme to overtly commercial contests (where you might write something about a product to win a small prize or the product itself) to just for fun bragging rights competitions. [more inside]
posted by mikepop on Nov 13, 2013 - 4 answers

I want to go into Marketing Communications. Good idea?

Is Marketing Communications a good fit for me? Career advice appreciated, especially from people with experience in the industry. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 11, 2013 - 4 answers

Cursive is weird.

Why doesn't a cursive capital G look like "G" or "g"?
posted by DoctorFedora on Nov 9, 2013 - 7 answers

I like advice columns. Please advise.

Nothing helps me fall asleep at night like a well-written advice column. My current favorites are Dear Prudence, She Said, She Said, and The Gentleman Scholar. Who else might I like? [more inside]
posted by The corpse in the library on Nov 8, 2013 - 34 answers

Best book to learn how to write professionally and self-edit my own work

Recent job opportunity came up, and I have the chance to write semi-professionally for a small company. Think in the vein of writing movie reviews or reviewing software. Its professional writing, but there will be conceptual and thematic details involved, it's not simply writing staid copy. I would like to find a book that helps me hone my prose, and will teach me how to better edit and improve my work. [more inside]
posted by cascando on Nov 5, 2013 - 5 answers

Daily writing practice.

I'd like to begin a daily writing practice, to be hosted on a semi-public blog (that is, it's public but not promoted, and not for anyone but myself). [more inside]
posted by jsturgill on Nov 4, 2013 - 13 answers

Ways To Help People in Need with Writing or Film Skills?

St. Louis friend trained as a writer and filmmaker wants to use his skills to help people in need/suffering. Does anyone in the area (the city, or St. Louis County) know of any volunteering options for him? He already has an office job, but career suggestions would be welcome, though I think volunteering is more of an immediate interest. National and local organizations anyone knows of in the area are welcome. Thanks!
posted by Locative on Nov 4, 2013 - 6 answers

To blog or not to blog (anonymously)

I'm starting a blog about a particular subculture. While there are a lot of blogs about this particular thing, there aren't any from the particular perspective that I'll be writing from. I'm wondering if it's best for me to write it anonymously, or to attach my name to it. Outside of my writing, I'm on the path towards a public(ish) career. [more inside]
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper on Nov 2, 2013 - 16 answers

Help me exacerbate my mad writing crush on Nicole Holofcener!

Last night I saw Enough Said and it blew my mind with how great the writing was as well as the acting. What other movies would the Mefiverse recommend in this vein? What I liked about it was the characters were deeply defined and multi-layered, behaved as real people would in their circumstances, and held each other accountable for their actions. Bonus points for having a serious lack of Hollywood veneer lacquered over the top of the movie. [more inside]
posted by Lipstick Thespian on Nov 1, 2013 - 8 answers

How can I get started as a freelance writer?

I'm looking to make around $300-$700 a month doing freelance writing to supplement my income. So far I have been overwhelmed with the resources online and still have no idea where to start. I have no experience writing professionally but I am an English major and have been writing almost all of my life. I'm mostly interested in the "Elance" platform but I'm open to other options. How do I get started? [more inside]
posted by dargerpartridge on Oct 20, 2013 - 23 answers

Leaping into the action: good examples of in media res in short fiction?

I'm teaching a workshop on in media res (starting a story at the height of the action and then revealing backstory later) this weekend, and I'm looking for a short story (fairly short, short enough that students could read it in under 5-10 minutes) that illustrates in media res well. After the students read the story, I'm going to ask them to write an in media res story of their own. Does anyone know of any good short stories that would resonate with 13-16-year-olds? Thank you!
posted by DeusExMegana on Oct 17, 2013 - 19 answers

Examples of essay/articles without a character or main person

Hello, I'm looking for examples of good essays/articles/long form journalism (2000-5000 words) that aren't told through profiling a person or based on the author's experience somewhere. I received advice that you don't pitch an idea or a subject, but a character, and I've stuck to that, but I'd like to try a few shorter articles and essays that don't depend on framing it around a person or a trip somewhere (my essays that hang off a person's story take over a year to get the material because I follow the person's journey). I hope that makes sense.
posted by cimuir on Oct 17, 2013 - 5 answers

Best Area for Small Press and Tech Jobs?

In February/March 2014, my roommate and I will be free to move almost anywhere within California. She graduated last year with a BFA in Writing. I write code. Where should we move in order to find a job for her, preferably in small press? [more inside]
posted by WasabiFlux on Oct 16, 2013 - 12 answers

You know where you want to go, but you don't know for sure...

[Book filter] Please recommend stories about people who find out (through trail and error) what they really want, and eventually get there (after a bunch of detours). [more inside]
posted by fix on Oct 13, 2013 - 24 answers

Dead ends everywhere I look

That I've posed this question more than once before in various forms doesn't say very many good things, but the circumstances being what they are, I have to hope the answer is yet to be found. That's all I've got really- hope.I'm a 23 year old recent college grad ( in May, with a BA in psychology from Stony Brook University in NY), looking for love, a job, a journey and a purpose. I'm also in a wheelchair, unable to speak fluently in an increasing percentage of life situations, grossly overweight, unmotivated and uninspired. Help me build a life away from my couch and outside of daytime TV, Facebook and lies. [more inside]
posted by marsbar77 on Oct 10, 2013 - 25 answers

How to use 40,000 sheets of letterhead paper?

Instead of ordering one set of 200 sheets of letterhead writing paper (with mine & my husband's names and our address), I ordered 200 sets of 200 sheets of paper. That means I will now be receiving 40,000 sheets of letterhead... how can I make this less wasteful and use it all up? [more inside]
posted by ladybird on Oct 10, 2013 - 22 answers

To Self-publish, or (try) to Publish... and I'm a snowflake

I am writing a guidebook for my industry and while I want to catch some of the increase in reputation that comes from going through a real publisher, I also pretty much want to give it away (electronically but also in hard copy as gifts for clients etc) to as many people as possible. Is there a way to achieve both of those goals? Published by an independent, real publisher, printed for those that want to pay, and those I am willing to pay for, and free for me to distribute as much as I want?
posted by HopStopDon'tShop on Oct 3, 2013 - 7 answers

Quiet place to drink, write, and read in Cambridge/Somerville MA?

I like to have a glass of whisky and read and write on weekday evenings. I'm looking for quiet bars (or licensed cafes) where I can hole up with a laptop and/or book. Does such a thing exist? [more inside]
posted by Beardman on Oct 2, 2013 - 11 answers

How can I improve my writing?

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]
posted by myitkyina on Sep 28, 2013 - 11 answers

Brief example of a rant / ineffective written argument?

Brief example of a rant / ineffective written argument? Possibly from a discussion forum, content thread, or review site? [more inside]
posted by toomuchkatherine on Sep 25, 2013 - 11 answers

Can a Git Branch Contain Only a Sub-Set of the Repository?

I'm new to Git but as I understand it, a branch is typically for working with a copy of all the files. Would it work for what I have in mind, if the branch only contains a sub-set of those files? [more inside]
posted by dylan_k on Sep 24, 2013 - 9 answers

GTA V writing staff demographics?

What is the racial makeup of the Rockstar North writing team? Specifically, how people were involved in the writing of Grand Theft Auto V were black?
posted by Jairus on Sep 21, 2013 - 5 answers

Wrote TV Spec Script, Now What?

So, I finished the first draft of a TV spec script this week. I checked to see if the show even looks at spec scripts (it does) and I got a bunch of scripts off the show to study the style and length, etc. Now what?* The only writing gigs I've gotten before have either been people coming to me, self-publishing, or people with their own agents bringing me in as part of a package deal. My only experience with the slush pile is cartoon selling (and I've done well there in so far as you can). I don't have representation of my own. After the writing part of writing is done, how does the selling part go - at least for US TV? [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Sep 20, 2013 - 16 answers

Specfic writing workshops in the Midwest

Are there any speculative fiction writing workshops in the Midwest? [more inside]
posted by deathpanels on Sep 19, 2013 - 7 answers

Help me compose a letter/buy a flat

I'd like to buy a flat in a particular building. I'm going to do a hand-written letterdrop, but would love some advice about the best way to execute this. [more inside]
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Sep 18, 2013 - 4 answers

Handwriting without tears.

I never learned to hold a pen correctly. My extremely awkward method involves pressing my index and middle fingers hard on the top of my pen. As a result, my hand quickly gets tired and cramped. Can I change this? How much practice would be involved? It's easy to find descriptions of better grips, but I don't find advice for adults who want to change long-established bad habits.
posted by Wordwoman on Sep 16, 2013 - 17 answers

Help me find a Junot Diaz quotation about writing and politics.

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.
posted by HeroZero on Sep 15, 2013 - 2 answers

Unsung Short Story Masters

I want to know about that favorite short story writer of yours that no one else has ever heard of. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Sep 13, 2013 - 42 answers

Day in the life of a Technical Writer.

Is your job title 'Technical Writer'? What on earth do you do all day? Would pursuing a job as a Technical Writer even be remotely fruitful given my past experience? [more inside]
posted by furnace.heart on Sep 8, 2013 - 16 answers

Where do you go in Rome, Italy if you want to hang out and write?

My family (myself, my sister and our parents) are heading off shortly for a vacation in Rome, Italy. My family likes to write a lot; my parents are actually taking on online writing course at the moment, and I have a fair bit of writing to do for work. In the States we'd go hang out at a coffeehouse to get our daily wordcount in. What's the best place to get writing done in Rome? [more inside]
posted by fermion on Sep 7, 2013 - 8 answers

Does everyone in the world want to write, or is it only Americans?

Between the writers' conferences, workshops, organizations, academic degrees, web sites, online fora, regional groups, and how-to books that seem to fill this country, it appears that every third American more or less seriously wants to be a writer. (UK seems to have a bit of the fever as well.) Is the same obsession at play elsewhere, that is, in the non-English speaking world? [more inside]
posted by IndigoJones on Sep 4, 2013 - 14 answers

Speak, memory. (Or at least whisper a bit louder.)

How do memoir writers jog their memories? How have you (in the absence of note-taking during or immediately after transformative periods in your life) jogged your memory? [more inside]
posted by blue suede stockings on Sep 3, 2013 - 12 answers

Please don't ask me

How do I kindly decline my struggling-writer friends' numerous requests that I submit their screenplays to my agent, without causing any bad feelings or strife? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 27, 2013 - 45 answers

Tips & tricks for capturing the 'voice' of a piece of fiction?

How do you go about consciously aping the voice/tone/style of a particular genre of fiction or writer? [more inside]
posted by Erberus on Aug 24, 2013 - 8 answers

Name some paranormal young adult fiction cliches so I can avoid doing it

Please name some Paranormal Young Adult fiction tropes and cliches (obvious or obscure) so I can avoid doing them myself in the book I am writing. Thanks! [more inside]
posted by Sully on Aug 22, 2013 - 21 answers

How much should an editor of an online publication be paid?

If I want to hire an editor to manage the blog for my ad-driven website, how much should the pay be if it's full-time? What about part-time? Other than creating and managing content, managing writers (and bringing on new ones), and promoting the blog and the site on social media, is there anything else I should list in a online editor's duties? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 20, 2013 - 4 answers

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