Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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May 24

What are some works of SFF that use extraordinarily beautiful language?

What are some works of SFF that showcase beautiful language on a par with All The King's Men, Gilead, and Raymond Chandler's detective novels? I've read plenty of SFF that has transported me, but little that's struck me as gorgeously written. Thanks!
posted by Going To Maine at 9:08 PM - 28 answers

Where can I find a phone or in person interpreter for Hakka Chinese?

I'm looking for someone to help me communicate with my Chinese grandmother who only speaks Hakka, a dialect spoken in her village in Hong Kong. Is there somewhere I could find someone to help me interpret over the phone? We are in Sydney Australia, but would be happy for help from anywhere. [more inside]
posted by strekker at 9:11 AM - 5 answers

May 23

So Latin, Greek, and Old English walk into a bar...

Sometime in the last several months I found a post on a site I'd never been to before that shared a word made up by the author. [more inside]
posted by dubadubowbow at 1:43 PM - 4 answers

May 22

Examples of myths etc about being trapped by what gives one power

Looking for examples of myths, fairy tales, or folktales about becoming trapped by that which gives one power [more inside]
posted by cotesdurhone at 7:54 PM - 21 answers

How might a PTA association deal with a parent who is weird

This is for fiction: What might happen if a parent showed up at a PTA meeting and started making people uncomfortable by going on and on about the power of satan or some such thing. I mean, what might happen officially? [more inside]
posted by angrycat at 1:10 PM - 13 answers

May 21

Damn, that's pretty confused.

Help me complete this sentence in a fun way. "She's more confused than a...." [more inside]
posted by np312 at 11:01 PM - 28 answers

Training as a noun

When did people start saying "a training" to mean "a training session/workshop/meeting/program/etc"? What dialect of English did training-as-a-noun originate in? How did it spread?
posted by jedicus at 1:06 PM - 29 answers

Words and their lesser-known meanings

Help me find very common words with secondary, uncommon definitions. [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger at 7:00 AM - 63 answers

May 20

Book Recommendations - Greek Mythology Themed

My 12 year old daughter is ready to move past her Warrior Cats Series. She's very much interested in Greek Mythology. Her reading level is that of a college student. [more inside]
posted by myselfasme at 3:00 PM - 25 answers

Book Suggestion for 16-year-old Manga, GoT-loving Girl

Need a book rec for a sixteen year old girl who reads manga and Game of Thrones, loves Miyazaki movies and Japanese culture. Extra context inside. [more inside]
posted by Locative at 6:43 AM - 37 answers

May 19

Remind me of the title and author of a science fiction short story

The story followed an alcoholic ex military leader as he tried to reach the control room (head) of a giant humanoid robot so large that it housed an entire civilization. That's about all I remember. I believe it was written by an author generally known for more literary fiction rather than SF.
posted by 256 at 8:03 AM - 2 answers

May 18

writing workshops: how do they work?

I'm about to travel out of town to attend a two-day writing workshop hosted by one of my favorite authors/idols, but I have no idea what writing workshops are like or what anyone actually does at them. Writers of MeFi, can you help me figure out what to expect? [more inside]
posted by divined by radio at 1:50 PM - 9 answers

Why is the one title by an out-of-print writer so much more expensive?

I grew up in a home where post-colonial literature got a lot of discussion and now I want to read one of the books I remember my sisters talking about. The book is My Bones and My Flute by Edgar Mittelholzer, a Guyanese writer with a respectable amount of books published but who struggled to earn a living by writing. His books are out-of-print but reasonably available (example Abe Books) except for My Bones and My Flute which is going for silly.money. My question is why? [more inside]
posted by glasseyes at 7:20 AM - 8 answers

May 17

What is another way to tell an adult you are proud of them?

My husband works very hard and does amazing things. When he has an accomplishment, I have a hard time thinking of something to say other than "I'm proud of you" but I think that sounds so patronizing, fake, and parental. [more inside]
posted by ForeverDcember at 1:29 PM - 26 answers

May 16

Please give me a different pop song, please.

I'm co-writing a theme and blurb for a conference with a colleague. The theme is "Convergence|Divergence." My pal has added an opening that is driving me insane, but I see his point. What images come to mind with this theme? There are two from the music of our youth...The Beatles' "Come together right now," and $BandName "Song Title" Trigger warning: Annoying earworm inside. [more inside]
posted by Gotanda at 1:16 AM - 10 answers

May 14

Rilke quote

I read an article that claimed Rilke wrote that romantic lovers "keep on using each other to hide their own fates." Where did he write this? Googling reveals nothing except the article itself, but it may just be a non-standard translation from German.
posted by deathpanels at 5:39 AM - 5 answers

May 13

Have vs Has

It's not important at all, but it bothers me! Yes, I know something's wrong with me. But which is correct? And why? [more inside]
posted by one4themoment at 4:07 PM - 11 answers

Help me find an expert in stylometry and forensic linguistics

I'm working on a project that focuses on determining authorship of a well-known work in pop culture. I have anecdotal evidence of authorship, but need to back it up with science. It's along the lines of the work done to discover that J.K. Rowling was the author of The Cuckoo's Calling, writing under the pen name Robert Galbraith. [more inside]
posted by bassomatic at 9:30 AM - 6 answers

May 12

Eat the cherries off the top?

What’s a good metaphor for taking what you want and leaving the rest? Eat the icing and put the rest of the cupcake back on the plate? Eat the inside of the Oreo and put the rest back? Pick out all the cashews and leave the peanuts? I know there's a popular expression, I just can't remember what it is.
posted by Clotilde at 8:07 PM - 33 answers

What does this passport say?

This is my uncle's passport. It was issued in 1949. He was originally from Aleppo, Syria, but he lived elsewhere. I'm not certain what some of the words are (in French and in Arabic) on his passport. [more inside]
posted by jdl at 12:52 PM - 8 answers

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