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Help me, and my team, strengthen our non-fiction writing skills

I lead a team of podcasters. They're all great people--intelligent, articulate, and very good speakers. We now wish to translate our spoken success to the page, and our early attempts have shown that despite the successes we have as speakers we're finding our writing skill (specifically in regards to concise, clear, engaging, and personable communication through the written word) is in need of honing. I need suggestions how to do that. [more inside]
posted by arniec on Feb 4, 2013 - 4 answers

Tell me about an essay that flows really well.

Hello! I am teaching a writing class, and am now teaching students about flow. I would like to do an exercise where I take an essay (preferably, somewhat academic) and cut it up and give it to them to rearrange to show how well the author transitions between paragraphs. The problem is, I can't find one that works in particular! If anyone has a good example, I'd be grateful.
posted by caoimhe on Feb 4, 2013 - 4 answers

Where are all the writers hiding?

The writing workshop I attend might end up dissipating soon. How can I find a replacement group? [more inside]
posted by deathpanels on Feb 3, 2013 - 3 answers

Fun, writing games?

So I'm having some friends over tonight. We're all writers and we're going to play some writing games. Do you have any that you might suggest? [more inside]
posted by You Guys Like 2 Party? on Feb 1, 2013 - 17 answers

Writing catchy, fun, simple Facebook updates for a company. How?!

I have just become the person In Charge of Facebook for my small company. Last week I sat down and wrote some Facebook posts that my boss thought were "too cheesy." I agreed with him. They totally were. I am a social media lover- I have a tumblr, a Facebook, etc. I know when people try too hard and used to work for a government official who Did Not Get Facebook and so I know what definitely doesn't work. I've just never been in charge of writing one. [more inside]
posted by timpanogos on Jan 30, 2013 - 12 answers

What are you best and worst experiences with a Director?

I'm a writer who has two one-act plays on in a theatre. I am also directing them but this will be my first time working as a director. What do you think makes a good director? What positive and negative experiences have you have and what could I do to make this go brilliantly? [more inside]
posted by Nufkin on Jan 27, 2013 - 10 answers

Help me write beautiful letters.

Rather than rely on our usual email correspondence, I would like to write some letters by hand to someone very important to me who lives very far away. [more inside]
posted by Callicvol on Jan 26, 2013 - 5 answers

Why isn't my husband interested in what I do?

I'm a writer married to a jazz musician. I always hoped I'd end up in this sort of arty, creative marriage. But there's a problem that is becoming overwhelming. In spite of fully expecting me to experience and support his art, my husband never, ever, reads anything I write. Not a two-page story or a blog post much less anything longer. He says he feels awful about never getting around to it (and I've made it clear it's fine if he hates it—I just want him to be willing to check it out) and he seems to be sincere... But he still doesn't read it. It really hurts me. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 26, 2013 - 91 answers

OMG, storytelling in journalism is changing. What to read abot this?

Here's an European writing a book/thesis about storytelling in journalism. What texts (linguistics, literary theory etc – preferably *not* mass communication theory) might help in analysing contemporary changes in that field? [more inside]
posted by earthwormsleg on Jan 24, 2013 - 2 answers

Rom coms where the love interest is introduced later?

The standard format for a romantic comedy has both key characters introduced very early in the script/movie -- say, in the first ten pages/minutes. I'm looking for examples of romantic comedies where one of the romantic leads is introduced later in the movie. [more inside]
posted by allnamesaretaken on Jan 22, 2013 - 38 answers

CMS for book project

I'm considering writing a technical book, mostly a labour of love. I want to do the writing process online, like Bruce Eckel did for his excellent Thinking in Java years ago. In order to facilitate user feedback, Eckel had a very fine-grained commenting system, which he developed himself and called TalkBack. At the end of each paragraph there was a "comment" link that let users comment on that particular paragraph. Are there any other CMS that offers fine-grained feedback like that? I'm aware of an older (2003-2004?) Zope TalkBack implementation, but would like something more current. And if you think I'm looking for the wrong thing and should go about writing a book on the web differently, please chime in!
posted by Harald74 on Jan 22, 2013 - 8 answers

Sports metaphors for the unsporty

I came across the phrase "in his/her/my wheelhouse" last year for the first time and was shocked to learn there's an entire genre of writing with its own set of metaphors that I know nothing about. Sportswriting! [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on Jan 20, 2013 - 38 answers

Hanzi: How to increase patience?

Hello, I am currently studying Chinese. I'd be interested in any advice people could give me with regard to making my Hanzi practice more productive. [more inside]
posted by Musashi Daryl on Jan 19, 2013 - 11 answers

Best Windows software for writing a non-fiction book (with callouts!)

I want to write a non-fiction book with basic formatting like bulleted lists, numbered lists, along with some callouts. Think "XYZ for Dummies". I'm on Windows XP / Windows 7. Don't want to upgrade XP on my seconday machine if not absolutely necessary. [more inside]
posted by 4midori on Jan 18, 2013 - 8 answers

Podcasts as good as Scriptnotes, but for prose?

I've recently started listening to Scriptnotes, a great podcast by John August and Craig Mazin about screenwriting. Is there a similar podcast about novel/short story writing, or indeed writing in general? Podcasts I already subscribe to and key things I like about Scriptnotes inside. [more inside]
posted by Happy Dave on Jan 18, 2013 - 4 answers

Help me fill in this vague recollection of a story I read?

Help me fill in this vague recollection of a story I read? I read it probably as recently as last year. I don't remember if it's a short story or an incident in a novel. [more inside]
posted by Infinity_8 on Jan 17, 2013 - 6 answers

Self-publish, Kindle Single, or publish traditionally?

Am considering publishing an unusual philosophical self-help tract written in a fiery, contrarian tone. Think Hegel meets Deepak Chopra, for lack of a less weird description. Right now the manuscript is short. I'd like it to provoke conversation, make a reputation, and build an audience. I lack these currently. Am I better off a) self-publishing, b) creating a Kindle Single, or c) publishing traditionally? C would require me to expand my manuscript to 5x its current length, but give me prestige, a (likely small) advance, wider distribution, and perhaps more publicity. The other options would be far faster and might allow me to iterate my ideas / write other pieces based on audience reaction. Any advice on which option (feel free to add options) would best serve my goals?
posted by shivohum on Jan 16, 2013 - 8 answers

Philosophy reading reccomendations on "Notion of freedom and humanity"

A friend of mine recently quit his job and has found himself with a lot of free time. As a method to explore his mind and world he has set himself a task to write an essay on : - "The Notion of Freedom and Humanity" I am no philosophy veteran but I am sure that there must be some great texts already dealing with this subject. What research and reading material can I recommend my friend for his essay?
posted by Cogentesque on Jan 15, 2013 - 12 answers

How to be a strong writer (Academic)

ok, hivemind, I am going back to school and I want to brush up on my writing. Are there any workbooks, or maybe even online classes that you might suggest? Particularly, in the area of academic writing to be published and grammar? And, are there any books you might suggest, as well, in the general area of strengthening your writing skills and grammar? I have heard of The Elements of Style, and On Writing Well, but I do not think those are the books I am looking for. I am really look for something that addresses grammar, like when to use a semicolon, etc.
posted by TRUELOTUS on Jan 11, 2013 - 21 answers

Half-remembered quote about poets

I read, somewhere, a quote about poets to the effect that even successful poets have day jobs, collect disability payments or come from money. I vaguely recall that this was said (or written) by a woman who was a successful [poet? writer? editor?] in her own right, and who would have had a reasonable sample size on which to base the statement. What quote am I thinking of? Who wrote or said it? My googles have been uncharacteristically ineffective in locating the quote or identifying the source.
posted by dersins on Jan 11, 2013 - 2 answers

Graduating with a BA in Philosophy (Canada) in April. Job search help

A few days ago I went to see my local Career Advisor at school. She said I was miles ahead of every other humanities grad as I have 15 months of work experience. She told me to contact various guilds and organizations in my area... [more inside]
posted by GiveUpNed on Jan 10, 2013 - 7 answers

Is it the stylus or the screen?

I got myself a Lenovo tablet on super sale for Christmas. I'm interested in using it to read and annotate pdf files (mainly journal articles). The pdf reader app I'm using has the ability for freehand writing, and I'd like to try that out for margin notes (some of the papers are technical with lots of symbols, so writing is easier than typing). I bought a stylus that had pretty good reviews on Amazon, but I have to push down to make it work which is ok for highlighting, but tiring for writing. Is this a limitation of this tablet's screen? Or is there a stylus that is easier to use? [more inside]
posted by bluefly on Jan 9, 2013 - 9 answers

How do I write a blog that's professional and personal?

I work in communications and would like to start a blog that I could link to from Twitter and LinkedIn. But I'd also like to write about my personal life. How do I thread this needle? [more inside]
posted by kat518 on Jan 8, 2013 - 8 answers

Naturalistic Post-Apocalypse Worldbuilding

What elements are needed to write a frighteningly plausible post-apocalyptic story? [more inside]
posted by Doleful Creature on Jan 7, 2013 - 24 answers

Is writing great fiction innate or learned?

Writing fiction: is it the sort of thing where you either have "the gift," or you don't? [more inside]
posted by indognito on Jan 6, 2013 - 38 answers

Graduating soon with a BA from a Canadian Uni. Job search help please. I have two years writing experience.

Graduating in June with a BA Philosophy. I have two years journalism experience. I'm currently searching for jobs through my network and linkedin. Help please! [more inside]
posted by GiveUpNed on Jan 3, 2013 - 5 answers

Wanted: Novels Set on the Internet

I'm looking for examples of fiction that heavily involve transcripts of online communication - forum posts, website content, emails, IM conversations, the more and more varied the better. [more inside]
posted by restless_nomad on Jan 3, 2013 - 37 answers

Details, details, details...and then BAM!

As a reader of fiction (especially if you're a devotee of speculative fiction), how much do you like detailed descriptions and/or lists as part of the story? What if the story switches between detail and expediency? [more inside]
posted by batmonkey on Dec 28, 2012 - 12 answers

This is 35.6

I officially entered my mid-30s in 2012...a year in which I got my BA and have continued to maintain my mental health. Though I feel good about my accomplishments this year, I am at an impasse. Please help! [more inside]
posted by pxe2000 on Dec 27, 2012 - 7 answers

What is a realistic path to becoming a published SF author?

What is a realistic path to becoming a published SF author? [more inside]
posted by deathpanels on Dec 26, 2012 - 13 answers

Reading Aloud Allowed?

What are the legal rights and obligations of someone reading aloud in public from a published book? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 24, 2012 - 5 answers

Year in long reading 2012

I have an ~18 hour flight ahead of me and I am compiling a DIY ebook of longform journalism/non-fiction for my Kindle to get me through it. So, what is the best thing you read this year? [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Dec 21, 2012 - 11 answers

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

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