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help a textbook taught me something relevant and amusing once

I'm looking for an essay I read in a textbook. This would've been in the late 90s and it was a middle school Literature textbook. The essay was about writing. I remember that it included a bit about how you can't ask writers about writing for the same reason you can't ask the sea about itself (it will just gurgle at you). It also had a bit about breaking the rules when writing, talking about how writing guides tell you never to open a story with dialogue but then gave an example of a classic novel that opened with dialogue in French. [more inside]
posted by NoraReed on Dec 20, 2012 - 2 answers

A Little Bit (Or More) Each Day ... Of What?

Help me decide how to spend 5 to 30 minutes each day in 2013. [more inside]
posted by reader-writer on Dec 14, 2012 - 13 answers

Love writing but...

I've always had communications-related jobs, but they never seem to be the right fit. I'm a great writer (although I have a love/hate relationship with writing), but I also helping enjoy helping people and interacting with people, etc., and writing is a pretty solitary job. (Well, PR isn't, but that's one area I want to stay away from, as well as fundraising). Have any other writer-types who are like me found a solution? (Oh, and I don't want to take on grad-school loans right now.)
posted by trillian on Dec 14, 2012 - 15 answers

Critical Contexts for Writing : a reading list

I've been asked to put together a longish reading list for a BA Art/Literature module, and I'd love some ideas for texts outside my current knowledge. The list should cover a series of genres and contexts, with writing from, and about, the history and theory of art, journalism, academia, design, architecture and film. Writing on design and architecture are particularly outside my knowledge. What innovative and critically significant writings can you recommend across any of these subject areas? [more inside]
posted by 0bvious on Dec 14, 2012 - 8 answers

Resources for improving one's writing

Looking for essays and books you have found most helpful in improving your writing - in particular, style, critical analysis, and conveying a strong message. I've read "Politics and the English Language" and The Elements of Style, and found them both really helpful. Thanks!
posted by mossicle on Dec 12, 2012 - 15 answers

How can I make a living as a student, but not in school?

When I was in college, I really loved writing papers and now I find that I miss the chance to study small topics in depth. How could I make that into a career? [more inside]
posted by youcancallmeal on Dec 10, 2012 - 23 answers

Creating an index of first lines

Creating an index of first lines, from a group of many poems, each stored in a seperate .txt file. Are there any applications or scripts that would help me to do that? [more inside]
posted by dylan_k on Dec 8, 2012 - 7 answers

You want to use my article somewhere else? Well, er...

Wrote an article for publication on the web. Billed the client for the article, but did not specify any charges for re-use of the article elsewhere. Now the client just got back to me, saying that they liked it so much they want to use the article on another website which was not specified in the original contract. What should I do next? [more inside]
posted by micketymoc on Dec 7, 2012 - 4 answers

Instructor access as a non-instructor?

I would like access to a supplemental resource for a textbook that I purchased, for non-school-related use, but only instructors for a course can have access. [more inside]
posted by zeek321 on Dec 6, 2012 - 3 answers

The fine art of coping with indifference

I recently finished writing a novel and want to find an agent to represent it. But wait--my question isn't what you might expect: I don't want advice about finding an agent, publisher, etc. I just want some advice on dealing with the unbearable tension of the submissions process. What can I do to distract myself or otherwise feel like I'm not just sitting around waiting for responses that will likely never come? [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on Dec 5, 2012 - 7 answers

I know I know this, but my instructor won't accept (My Brain, 2012) as a citation.

How can I become better at remembering references to cite in my academic writing? I know how to use APA style, but when I need to write I can remember theories and details, but not where I actually READ those theories. HALP! [more inside]
posted by MultiFaceted on Dec 5, 2012 - 14 answers

Does the world need to hear my very special story?

Should I write a novel or a graphic novel? Advice from authors and comic artists wanted! [more inside]
posted by lhude sing cuccu on Dec 4, 2012 - 8 answers

I don't have a really concrete idea of what I want.

Wet concrete being poured outside our house. I want to write something in it!! This is a two part question. a) Is this a terrible idea, and if so, why? and b) I'd love some creative suggestions for what to write! [more inside]
posted by Spyder's Game on Dec 3, 2012 - 65 answers

As indicated below, the headline is a reference to same.

How do you edit writing written in a different dialect than your own? I'm very soon going to be responsible for editing some English technical/business writing by a team in a highly multilingual south-Asian country. [more inside]
posted by TheNewWazoo on Dec 2, 2012 - 10 answers

How tCan I create a "Tap Essay" app (without programming...too much)

How can I create a "tap essay" app (such as Robin Sloan's Fish without learning Objective C? I'm a poet, not a programmer! The idea is pretty simple: an app that shows styled text on a page that you tap to go to the next page with the occasional option to tweet the current line, etc.
posted by fncll on Nov 30, 2012 - 5 answers

Sun and Sun and Moon and Moon and Moon

A world with binary suns and multiple satellites that can still be livable by a diverse (even lush) assortment of life forms - true or not? [more inside]
posted by batmonkey on Nov 30, 2012 - 11 answers

"Add the flour, salt, paprika, and mushrooms, stir, and let it cook five minutes while you light a cigarette and stare sullenly at the sink."

There's a particular sort of humor writer I like. Can you recommend more books in this style? Mid-century, writing about domestic matters, female, personal. [more inside]
posted by The corpse in the library on Nov 30, 2012 - 15 answers

Fonts to handwrite, not handwriting fonts

I'm looking for some inspiration for fonts/styles of printed writing for me to handwrite. [more inside]
posted by fermezporte on Nov 29, 2012 - 5 answers

World's Worst Dinner Parties

Examples of banquets/dinner parties gone horribly wrong? [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on Nov 27, 2012 - 37 answers

Chromebook questions

Would the Chromebook be right for me as a writing device? I'm looking to replace my old netbook I use for writing with something more swish and it looks to fit the bill, however I'm not a Google Docs user - how easy is it to transition to from using OpenOffice/Word? How well does the local storage/offline working option work? How easy is it to export Word files and how well does formatting carry over? Is there anything else i need to know?
posted by Artw on Nov 27, 2012 - 10 answers

pulitzer drafts

Years ago Jack Hart, the esteemed editor and writing coach at The Oregonian, posted the rough drafts of Tom Hallman's Pulitzer winning story The Boy Behind the Mask somewhere online. Perhaps to a writers'/journalists' forum or mailing list. One editor's reaction to seeing the progression of the story through the drafts was to call it the most instructive lesson he'd ever had in newspaper writing. Help me track down those drafts!
posted by AceRock on Nov 26, 2012 - 0 answers

what tools and models do we have for collaboration in the humanities?

what tools and platforms exist right now which humanists can use to do collaborative research? what models exist of successful humanities collaboration? [more inside]
posted by idlethink on Nov 26, 2012 - 3 answers

Looking for resources about monastic life

Books / resources about monastic life? I am thinking of writing a story set in a completely fictional setting, and I'd like to research more ideas of what life is like in a monastery or abbey. [more inside]
posted by marble on Nov 25, 2012 - 20 answers

Journal from "Supernatural"

Pretty much looking for the Winchester's 3-ring supple leather journal from the show "Supernatural". [more inside]
posted by DisreputableDog on Nov 21, 2012 - 8 answers

Invented language vs. familiar words in fiction?

As a reader, how do you feel about invented language versus familiar words in imaginary worlds? [more inside]
posted by batmonkey on Nov 21, 2012 - 67 answers

How should I present my writing samples?

I need help with preparing a letter of interest seeking entry level work at a television news station. [more inside]
posted by djduckie on Nov 20, 2012 - 2 answers

Focused on distraction

I'm easily distracted by the Internet while I write, but I don't want to shut it off altogether. Please help me cobble together a solution. [more inside]
posted by catlet on Nov 16, 2012 - 9 answers

I think I'm dumb-- or maybe just happy.

Wellbutrin flattening out creativity? [more inside]
posted by stoneandstar on Nov 16, 2012 - 16 answers

How to write a very readable nonfiction book for an under 35 audience?

I am interested in writing a non-fiction book or two (possibly ebooks) in a proven popular style. Where can I find resources, reviews, interviews, commentaries about choosing book structures, layout, language, tone and content that appeal to an aspirational audience? [more inside]
posted by vizsla on Nov 12, 2012 - 3 answers

The wherefores and whatofs if back when...

I would like to write a fictional novel based in actual events that occurred in the West in the 1700s. It would draw extensively from the true story ( which is likely already enhanced through the centuries ). The names would change, though the locations would be actual places. Is there anything I should be aware of with regards to the "legality" of retelling such a story? Ie. the storyline is not my original creation. I'd be adapting it for my story, but it would have a lot of similarity. The story is told, with minor variation, in a number of historical sources.
posted by ecorrocio on Nov 9, 2012 - 10 answers

Writing a thank-you, with a side of hurricane sympathy?

I've got a thank-you note to write to a friend of my parents'-- already quite late, since the gift was given early last month. Difficulty: since then, the recipient's house was damaged fairly badly by Hurricane Sandy, and she's been struggling with the aftermath. I feel like her current rough situation warrants some sort of extra gesture or comment beyond the usual thank-you boilerplate, but what might that be? [more inside]
posted by Bardolph on Nov 9, 2012 - 8 answers

Picking a selection of poems for a high school student

I'm tutoring a teen girl who loves Maya Angelou and writing her own poetry and I want to make her a book of poems to encourage/inspire her. What poems should I include? [more inside]
posted by grokfest on Nov 7, 2012 - 21 answers

What are your favorite books, movies, and essays about food?

I am putting together a syllabus for a college composition course. I chose "food" as the theme for this semester. I would like to include examples of different kinds of writing about food, ranging from essays to fiction to poetry, as well as some movies. What are your suggestions? I'm open to anything, as long as it has food in it! I already have a list of some of the obvious ones (Michael Pollan, Dinesen's "Babette's Feast," Jiro Dreams of Sushi), but I am hoping the HiveMind can help me make this the most awesome-- and delicious-- writing class ever.
posted by incountrysleep on Nov 3, 2012 - 62 answers

If someone says Tricorder....

Researchers, Writers, Grad Students, and Professors: Tell me about your technical setup (hardware and software). What do you use, and what couldn't you live without? [more inside]
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Nov 2, 2012 - 25 answers

How to prevent typing injuries!

I became a full-time author 2 months ago, and my hands are starting to get stiff. What do I do to prevent wrist/hand injuries? [more inside]
posted by sdis on Nov 1, 2012 - 17 answers

Articles into Kindles

Any experience with selling an article, as opposed to a book, for Kindle on Amazon? [more inside]
posted by zenpop on Oct 31, 2012 - 4 answers

Crossing over with art

House of Leaves and Haunted are works in two different mediums (book and album) by two different artists that deliberately accompany each other. What other examples of this are there? [more inside]
posted by divabat on Oct 31, 2012 - 30 answers

Help me define and write a scope for my job!

Help me plan a Tier I HelpDesk implementation/startup/Scope [more inside]
posted by PetiePal on Oct 30, 2012 - 5 answers

You don't need permission to dress up as a copyrighted character, but do you need permission to write about it?

My novel involves a costume party with some guests dressed as recognizable characters from films, TV, etc. I'm clearly not trying to claim them as my own and it's just all Halloween costumes, but am I asking to get sued? [more inside]
posted by scaryblackdeath on Oct 30, 2012 - 4 answers

What's some of the best, most illuminating, and most entertaining writing about conservation bio on the net?

What are some of the best technical blogs out there in conservation biology, biogeography, evolutionary biology, and ecology? [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Oct 29, 2012 - 4 answers

Bad Handwriting problems

How do I deal with my bad handwriting, especially when it comes to thank you notes? [more inside]
posted by nickhb on Oct 29, 2012 - 13 answers

Writer seeks not-office Toronto cafe place

Help me find a great writing spot in Toronto, with some very specific requirements. [more inside]
posted by lizifer on Oct 25, 2012 - 16 answers

Will Write for Food (and Rent, and Utilities).

I'm pretty sure I'm about to lose my job. How do I identify and pursue freelance writing opportunities in short order? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 22, 2012 - 9 answers

Publishing my first novel - what should I be doing?

I just got an offer to publish my first novel. I know very little about the publishing industry and the business aspect of being an author. Help! [more inside]
posted by inire on Oct 22, 2012 - 13 answers

What are non-clinical, location-independent jobs that advance (or could advance) the cause of reproductive health?

What are non-clinical, location-independent jobs that advance (or could advance) the cause of reproductive health? How do you get the skills for those jobs? Do they exist? [more inside]
posted by c'mon sea legs on Oct 19, 2012 - 2 answers

Help me get my Pfeiffer on?

What short stories and essays and what methods could I use in mentoring incarcerated youth who would like to improve their writing? [more inside]
posted by apophenia on Oct 17, 2012 - 19 answers

Rebutting minus the full frontal assault?

Tips and tricks for writing non-rebuttal "rebuttals" on the web? [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Oct 16, 2012 - 14 answers

Best Music Writing 2012

What are the best pieces of music journalism/criticism that were written in 2012? [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 16, 2012 - 7 answers

Help me keep helping people tell stories

I work at a publisher, in the production part of the business. I organise editors, designers and projects on the one side of things; printers, print runs and shipping on the other. It's clear to me that at least one half of these activities will soon diminish greatly, as paper publishing winds down and web / ebooks take over. So: What skills and talents do I need to develop to keep helping people produce and share content in the future? [more inside]
posted by ominous_paws on Oct 15, 2012 - 8 answers

Recommendations For Books On Writing Generally

I need recommendations for books on writing that address general craft issues - help? [more inside]
posted by xenization on Oct 10, 2012 - 15 answers

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