Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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August 30

What Novel Is This Quote/Comparison From?

My Search-Fu is utterly failing me. Where did I read the line (paraphrased): "He was like a tennis player who mistakes his best game for his everyday game [or natural level or basic capability]". I want to say it was in a novel by a female author,: Lessing, Christie or Woolf maybe? I might be completely wrong. Fairly sure the narrator's voice was female. Can anyone help?
posted by comealongpole at 2:53 PM - 1 answers

August 29

How can I train myself out of saying "like" all the time?

I say "like" too much. When I'm speaking publicly or meeting a new person, I don't, but when someone is in my comfort zone I say "like" constantly. I even realized today that I even say "like" in my thoughts. As in, it is so deeply ingrained into my thought processes that I THINK in like. How can I strip "likes" from my speech? [more inside]
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 8:15 AM - 13 answers

August 28

"I'll smack you in the mouth, I'm Neil Diamond!"

Is there a particular phrase or word to describe the phenomenon of people who are famous for innocuous reasons being extremely unpleasant human beings? [more inside]
posted by tomorrowromance at 12:02 PM - 13 answers

For Norwegian Readers About Per Petterson

In Per Petterson's great novel, Out Stealing Horses, there is a moment when baby animals appear outside a home. The English translation that is current calls them "fauns". This disturbs me and I have read and re-read the passage to determine if we are talking about "fawns" which would make sense, or goat-footed children, which would be something different. Although others have noted this translation difficulty, no major critic seems to take notice. So, I want to know: "fauns" or "fawns"? [more inside]
posted by CCBC at 3:11 AM - 6 answers

August 26

Help finding interesting writing on chaos/complexity of the mind

I'm looking for interesting writing on chaos, confusion, losing control, being insecure, complexity of the mind, thriving in chaos. I would love something from writers like Alan Watts and William S. Burroughs or someone along the same vein.
posted by poorchanticleer at 10:45 PM - 7 answers

Novellas, novelettes, short stories

Where do you read novellas, novelettes and short stories in science fiction? Whom do you suggest? During the golden age of sf I relied on Analog/Astounding, but after all the recent Hugo drama I have realized that I barely keep up with the new novels. Looking back at the titles that won Hugos and Nebulas, I realized how many of the shorter pieces I truly loved and I feel the need to get to know the youngish writers. Tell me whom I should read and where I'll find that author.
posted by francesca too at 5:56 PM - 11 answers

August 25

And deafening silence followed

I am looking for two things: 1) additional expressions and terms -- like "deafening silence, " shunning and crimes of omission -- for talking about exclusion from a group primarily via inaction of the group members and 2) examples of this social dynamic in popular media, like movies. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California at 10:10 AM - 23 answers

History: swift, coordinated, mass betrayal

What are some interesting historical events of relatively swift, coordinated, mass betrayal, such as the Night of the Long Knives, or the Bleiburg Tragedy? Doesn't matter if the betrayers were "good" or "bad".
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:21 AM - 9 answers

August 24

Writing version of "Couch to 5K" (or maybe just 1K)...in 4 days.

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]
posted by these are my travel socks at 5:21 PM - 6 answers

Trying to find a specific German-language short story

Asking for a friend, who read the short story in question in the 80s in Germany (thus in a print format). [more inside]
posted by janey47 at 3:52 PM - 2 answers

Authors like Rainbow Rowell

I love Rainbow Rowell! Can anyone recommend me books that are similar to hers in genre/content/tone? More details after the jump. [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500 at 10:33 AM - 18 answers

Advice about submitting short story collections to publishers?

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]
posted by cupcakeninja at 4:12 AM - 3 answers

August 23

I believe Mefi for an answer to this question

What is the etymology of using "believe" as a synonym for "ask" or "pray to"? As in, 'If I Want to Believe God for a $65 Million Plane, You Cannot Stop Me' (and how I found it, naturally). Or if not the etymology, when/where it appeared? It wasn't in Google Ngram. [more inside]
posted by supercres at 10:03 PM - 6 answers

Literary-ish novels about relationships/families/"first world problems."

I've recently been practicing escapism by devouring novels about comfortably bourgeois (urban, middle-class or wealthy) people dealing with familial and romantic relationships and the mundane traumas and joys of fortunate lives. Looking for recommendations in this vein! [more inside]
posted by mylittlepoppet at 10:21 AM - 38 answers

What's it called in American English?

You know that game when you grab someone's forearm with both hands and twist back and forth in opposite directions? In Swedish it's called "tusennĂ¥lar" - thousand needles. My kid asked me what it's called in English and I hesitated to tell him "Indian burn" which is what I remember. Surely there is something better? Help me out please.
posted by three blind mice at 7:56 AM - 35 answers

August 22

IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) to Audio Website?

Is there a website where you can paste in something spelled in International Phonetic Alphabet script (usually surrounded by forward slashes) and hear the audio pronunciation? [more inside]
posted by WCityMike at 1:44 PM - 1 answers

Ultra-Violence Through the Ages

Can anyone recommend a good historical examination of literary and performed works throughout all of human history that stood out from their contemporaries for containing exceptionally violent/disturbing imagery, even for their own time? (more 'recent' examples being Titus Andronicus, the various Penny Dreadfuls, de Sade, Milton, etc) [more inside]
posted by chambers at 10:06 AM - 8 answers

August 20

"I want to tell you how much I love you." in foreign languages?

How do you say I want to tell you how much I love you in your non-English language, including specialized non-romanized lettering? Please also specify the English equivalent of the language name ("Japanese"/etc).. It's for a non-school, non-profit art project :-3 [more inside]
posted by Quarter Pincher at 7:47 AM - 31 answers

August 19

Looking for a way to find songs with similar metrical lines

Is there a service or way to find songs with similar metrical lines or lyrical rhythms... specifically, I'm trying to find songs that match the speech/lyric patterns from "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel.
posted by Unsomnambulist at 9:10 PM - 10 answers

I want to captivate you...

...or at least capture your attention and potential friendship, in an email. How do I do this? [more inside]
posted by nightrecordings at 7:10 PM - 8 answers

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