Authors Of AskMe, has this happened to you? During my self-imposed creative hiatus over the last year or so I conducted a lot of research into what would be my dream project. A project I could be passionate about, the kind of book I'd really want to exist. So I made a list of every thing, character, concept, idea, sudden kind of twist I'd like. I have three notebooks of this stuff. I cross-indexed it and included all my references. I have an astounding about of detail on what I want to put in and touch on but no actual story. I keep staring at it, like it's a list of SCP entries, and I can't think of a damn thing for anyone to do with these collected items, places, motifs, themes, and people. It's frustrating cause I can come up with quick pulp narratives on the fly for stuff I'm not working as hard on but every attempt to break and outline a rising action for these people results in rapid breathing and complete brain fume-lock. I keep asking "What does the main character want?" and coming up with nothing. Is this common? Is there a resource for this? Can I pay someone to go through these ideas and find something that other people might want to read? [more inside]
I am a writer (poetry, fiction, essays) and painter (mostly abstract art done in acrylics). I am normally quite prolific, but I have been dealing with a ferocious depression for months now and pretty much stopped creating altogether. However, I am feeling hopeful that the end of the yuckiness is in sight, and I'd like to get back to work. Yesterday I went to a cafe to write and sent out some submissions but really didn't know where to begin with writing. I made a list of potential projects, but none of them really grabbed me, and I didn't either feel any great ideas or the patience to sit with them until I got an idea. A similar thing happened when I was thinking about painting. So, does anybody have any tips for getting back into creative work after a long time away with something as crippling as depression can be?
Typing is killing me and I have to write a bunch of papers over the next couple of weeks. I have a 2012 MBP (not yet on Mavericks) and could spend ~ $100-150 on some kind of voice-to-text software. Looking for something with a minimal learning curve that will let me work fast. And, whatever else is required to quickly & painlessly navigate multiple documents. Any recommendations? [more inside]
Most of the academic textbooks I've read have had a drawn-out presentation style based on psychological observations as part of an effort to project a particular voice. [more inside]
What device is to writing what the Kindle is for reading? Assume a Kindle is, for purposes of this question, electronic, single-purpose, efficiently designed, portable, small and stylish -- and not a tablet like an iPad or Nexus. The method of document storage does not matter.
I'd like to donate some of my time to a charitable organization. The skill I have to offer is copywriting and editing. I can, obviously, do this remotely so the organization could be located anywhere in the world. What's the best way to locate organizations that might be interested in free writing and editing? Is this even a thing?
Lately I've been really into the blog Ribbon Around A Bomb, who writes about female-fronted 70s post-punk, Twin Peaks, feminist art, and leather jackets. I also love The Pulp Zine, which is full of teen dreams and high school small town angst, an obsession with Burger Records, 90s nostalgia, black lipstick and pink hair. I'm looking for more blogs that cover punk, garage rock, femme fun, DIY, weirdo fashion, nostalgia, queerness, creativity, feminism, art, and worship of countercultural idols. Basically, I'm a fully-grown scummy punk boyfemme who wants the experience of flipping through a teen magazine tailored to my interests. What other sites would I love? [more inside]
What are some jobs/careers/gigs that involve writing, some kind of direct interaction in a community space (such as a public library, media lab, shelter, etc.), and teaching/public speaking? Substituting counseling for teaching/public speaking is okay, but something verbal and interpersonal for #3 [more inside]
I want to sell what I write as a 'packaged' article or essay. Best spots to do this? [more inside]
I graduated with an M.A. in English and through luck, contracting, and family connections, came to work in nuclear power. My administrative role has changed to field work. I prefer office work, especially writing reports etc. My area in nuclear is very specialized, and due to downsizing in the industry, I feel a real need to get familiar with my prospects for other jobs and diversify my skills. However, I have no idea how to begin, research being one of my weak points. Long explanation + details inside. [more inside]
I'm trying to write a fictional character background that involves someone overcoming a generally fatal disease in childhood, and leading to a full recovery. The character must grow up to be physically fit and able to engage in a very physical job, but I'm imagining endless visits to the hospital in childhood & nobody expecting him to live long. I have a few reasons to avoid cancer as a story choice. What are other possibilities?
I want to read more essays on individual films, along the lines of Tim Kreider's "Introducing Sociology" (on Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.) [more inside]
Tryin' to track down a portfolio of English reading/writing laminated bifold four page workbooks. [more inside]
I saw a somewhat blogspammy news article the other day (regrettably, I cannot remember where, and google is failing me) which listed the top ten or twenty professions that would be eliminated by automation in the next twenty years. Among them were ones I would expect: telemarketing, retail sales, etc. Nothing surprising there. And then they threw technical writing into the mix. My question is, how could software automate technical writing? [more inside]
I'm 25 and have been in the freelance scene for about a year. I saw Igyre's question and how she was unhappy with making $25/hour. That's about what I'm making now. I'm looking for perspective and what I need to do to start charging more. [more inside]
I am writing a short story in which an unmanned spaceship crashes in a field, and I've gotten stuck when it comes to visualizing/describing the spaceship. I like the idea of a steampunk craft, though it will have lights. In case you are wondering, the overall tone I am going for is magic with a hint of sadness. Got any ideas for what it looks like on the outside or inside? What might my characters find when they explore?
Please help me understand seaworthiness so I can write about it. [more inside]
How can you make sure that as a writer you're getting better? [more inside]
I have a title for a self-help workbook I'm writing, but I'm having a lot of trouble thinking of a good subtitle... [more inside]
My friend is a French expat living in the USA and is almost finished writing a play--in French. She is looking for some feedback on her work from people who are decent speakers of French and know enough about writing for theater, or fiction in general, but it's been surprisingly difficult to find such people. Do you have any ideas for helping her find such people? [more inside]
I wrote a novel (hooray!). I got an agent (hooray!) The book went out to lots of great publishers (hooray!) who all rejected it (tears, sobbing, and gnashing of teeth). And now I'm flailing. Can you help me get my head straight and figure out a plan? [more inside]
I am a writer and visual artist, mostly a writer. I have been through a grueling bout with severe depression. Now the agonizing emotional pain is lessened, but I have been blank, apathetic, and anhedonic for a couple weeks. I started on Zoloft a couple days ago and also had my lithium increased, and I also recently started a prescription dose of vitamin D because my levels were low. I'm throwing all those things plus therapy, exercise,omega 3's, and light therapy at the problem, but there is little help right now. My big question has to do with the fact that I am seemingly unable to be creative right now. I try to write and nothing comes out,or it comes out awkward and flat. I've tried writing about the flatness,but even that trick doesn't work. The visual side hasn't fared much better. Does anyone have suggestions for how I can keep my creative side alive while I wait for all the treatments to help?
I'm a fiction writing and I've always wanted to be involved in the storytelling aspect of a computer game. Can I make this happen without a career change or having to take on technical or design stuff? If so, how? [more inside]
Which mathematicians write exceptionally well or exceptionally clearly? (Individual books or articles would also be acceptable.) [more inside]
I'm fascinated by writing systems. I've seen this wiki page about different types of systems in real and fictional languages. As I understand it, there are generally three kinds of systems: logographic, where symbols represent entire concepts or words; syllabaries, where symbols represent syllabic sounds; and segmental, where symbols represent phonemes or small units of sound. Is there any other way to write? I'm having a hard time coming up with how it would even work, but I'm sure some clever author somewhere has tried. Is there another way to write a language other than the above?
I stumbled across an older book, and I'd love to find others like it. Help? [more inside]
I've started writing more (blog posts), and several times this has happened: I use the Mac's search function to look up a word in the dictionary, for inspiration, and instead I notice a PDF search result from my folder full of (sadly illegal) PDF books, and end up on a totally wonderful track. Is there a more comprehensive, perhaps legal, way to do this? [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]
I recently bought Zero Day by Mark Russinovish because it was cheap, and also I was vaguely interested in seeing how the whole 'techno-thriller' genre has evolved since I made the mistake of trying to read the Net Force books. It's not very good. Help me find an alternative! [more inside]
Is there a formal term for the hyphen separated list of keywords and phrases that you sometimes see at the beginning of chapters in a book? These usually form a sequential summary of the chapter ahead. I've most often seen this in older books, but recently in Robert MacFarlane's, "The Old Ways".
I've been working as a receptionist for a few years, and I'd like to transition into a career as a copywriter. About three years ago I wrote back-of-the-box copy for a home entertainment distributor, I've written music and film reviews for a few blogs my friends run, and I recently finished the third draft of a novel. None of these seem like they'd work for a copywriting portfolio. I've also spoken to the marketing department at my current place of employment about writing press releases and blog entries, and I'm waiting to hear back from them about potential short-term projects. In the meantime, what can I do to get more experience and build up a portfolio?
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]
Book recommendation filter: Guy loves girl. Guy hates himself for it. Romantic drama ensues. [more inside]
I've been depressed for many years. It has sapped my creative powers. I've had enough. How can I live as a depressed person, but elevate above the limitations this has imposed on me in the past to escape into a writing practice that could create imaginative works of fiction? [more inside]
What are the narrative limitations of a third-person limited style? Solve this debate between me and a friend. [more inside]
Um, hi guys. I know there are some other writers on MeFi (help me PhoBWanKenobi...) and I've seen a few previous questions here about writing fiction and non-fiction, but I think my Ask is specific enough to have merit: [more inside]
I wrote a personal essay for a high-traffic website and it was accepted. But after seven months they still haven't published it. Do you think there's any chance they will? Should I email and ask about it a second time? [more inside]
I'm having trouble with pithy ways to describe (in popular style) the concept of "silo-ing". In other words: a certain kind of data is siloed into disparate program and department offices, and because of the lack of collaboration the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. Suggestions?
For those who have made movies, I have heard that the cheaper you can write a movie (This is of course presuming your script is already awesome!) the greater your chances are of having it bought. I am more than happy to work creatively within such constraints, but I was wondering if there were scenes that counterintuitively cost a lot that a first-time writer wouldn't know about, and vice versa. [more inside]
I'm working on a worldbuilding project set in the Harry Potter universe that incorporates Bengali culture and history. What can I do and what resources can I consult to make this project awesome? (Mild spoiler for Pottermore inside.) [more inside]
I've tried many notebooks, but have yet to find the absolute perfect one. Requirements: graph, A5, ring bound, quality paper. [more inside]
I'm like every other post-college twentysomething in lots of ways: I make too little money, watch too much Netflix and indulge in an existential crisis oh, about once an hour. Also, like many in my cohort, I love the idea of packing up a ratty old duffel bag and heading off to some far corner of the world to taste, see and do all I can, while maybe giving myself either a leg to stand on once I return to the job market here or the warm-n-fuzzies that come from volunteering and/or service learning. All pretty standard fare. Here comes the doozy of snowflake: I'm in a wheelchair and have certain difficulties with speech fluency, owing to my CP and spastic diplegia diagnosis. Try as I might, I can't get myself to give up on the dream of spending a year or more abroad, even with all this in my way. Help me get there, oh beautiful hivemind? [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 getting sick of writing to the same music. Suggest me new stuff please. Nitpicky particulars and what I'm listening to right now inside. [more inside]
What really great activities, exercises or lessons do you remember from your undergrad-level writing or composition courses? [more inside]
Does anyone know the name/email address of a guy who used to post to Usenet in the mid-1990s in justified text? (When rendered in a monospaced font.) [more inside]
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]
What are good examples of technical documents? examples: business policies, research papers, references, documentation [more inside]