Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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March 30

Getting to know Mark Twain: What are the best resources?

I'm working on a project that involves Mark Twain and I have only a few weeks to get to know his body of work, literary style, philosophy, etc. What are they key works I should be looking at to get a sense of Twain? [more inside]
posted by hamsterdam at 12:37 PM - 8 answers

Name That Book: Sci-fi - shoots arrows to build faraday cage

I'm struggling to remember the name of a book I read from a school library around 1995. I remember very little other than towards the end of the story the hero was fighting some sort of machine or robot. He used a bow to fire wires/cables over the top of the robot. With each cable the robot became less powerful as he believed he was building a faraday cage which was weakening it's powers. However, it was a ploy and the robot was feigning weakness. [more inside]
posted by Simon_ at 6:19 AM - 0 answers

March 29

Best font for legibility at small size

I am editing a booklet that will contain text at approximately the same size as Times New Roman 9 pt. I'm wondering if there is some other font that is generally accepted to be more (or most) legible at the equivalent size. [more inside]
posted by slkinsey at 11:43 AM - 7 answers

March 26

Memoirs about PTSD

Mac McClelland's Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story is kind of changing my life. What else can I read that touches on similar issues? [more inside]
posted by Stacey at 4:05 PM - 1 answers

What are the rules for working with a literary executor?

I am working on a partially biographical essay about a well-known writer who died in the past ten years, leaving an extensive collection of papers and correspondence. I will meet with his literary executor soon. However, I have realized that I don't have a clear sense of an executor's responsibilities or what it is appropriate to expect. For example, is it reasonable to request access to materials that are not yet archived? Help me with the rules and etiquette of primary biographical research so that I can establish a good working relationship with the executor.
posted by GeorgieYeats at 7:58 AM - 0 answers

Is the pen still mightier than the keystroke for anyone here?

Two questions, both writing related: 1) For those of you engaged in essay and fiction writing (not academic or research-heavy professional writing), are pen and paper still part of your creative process at all? What is your workflow like?; 2) Will publishing an essay on one's own personal, special interest website (with a potential reach of less than 100) first preclude ever having it accepted for publication (not just linked) in some form or another on an online magazine platform? [more inside]
posted by these are my travel socks at 7:09 AM - 9 answers

March 25

Give me your best NON-RELIGIOUS wedding readings

I'm looking for a short reading for our wedding that we can ask an athiest friend of ours to read. Other portions of the ceremony will contain religious elements, but we don't want to ask him to read anything that might make him feel uncomfortable or awkward. [more inside]
posted by rainbowbrite at 10:26 AM - 29 answers

March 24

Looking for poems about birth.

After many years of ambivalence, two years of infertility, some surgeries, some IVF, and 9 months of actual pregnancy, I am about to have a BABY. Due to placenta previa, it will be a scheduled c-section, which is great because most likely me and baby will end up alive! But sad because I'd hoped for a natural childbirth to balance out the scientific conception. My hospital does "gentle" c-sections, so I'm allowed to do immediate skin-to-skin, play music in the operating room, and even "read a poem or a story." [more inside]
posted by apostrophe at 1:25 PM - 13 answers

Silly, yet arguable, questions

Can you help me compile a list of silly, yes/no style questions? [more inside]
posted by meese at 9:33 AM - 23 answers

Latin to English translation

Please translate into Latin: "surprised or confused." [more inside]
posted by cake vandal at 8:46 AM - 4 answers

March 22

Meaning of drama terms?

In Somerset Maugham's memoir, The Summing Up, he writes: "Only idolatry can refuse to see the great shortcomings in the conduct and sometimes in the characterization of Shakespeare's plays; and this is very comprehensible since, as we know, he sacrificed everything to effective situation." What do "conduct" and "effective situation" mean in this context in this book published in 1938 by this sometime-playwright?
posted by shivohum at 8:40 PM - 1 answers

March 21

"Literary studies are..." or "Literary studies is..."?

"Literary studies are..." or "Literary studies is..."? This is for an academic book written in US English. [more inside]
posted by undue influence at 11:58 PM - 11 answers

Please help me identify this (possibly) Chinese brooch

I recently came into possession of this brooch. I would like to know what it is. Any ideas?
posted by mortimore at 9:01 AM - 6 answers

British Accent Question: "ow" sounds like "I"?

Maybe it's just my ears, but I swear I've heard a British accent where "ou" and "ow" sounds like a long-I -- "down" sounds like "dine", 'ground' sounds like 'grind', 'now' is 'nye', 'house' sounds like 'hise'. I've looked around the internet for descriptions of British accents and came up empty. Is there a name for this component, or is it tied to a specific dialect/accent?
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:59 AM - 28 answers

March 20

What is the meaning of this obscure Latin [and/or] rebus?

I am trying to figure out the meaning of the rebus on this page of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. It's a strange work, but beautifully done: the printer of the book is Aldus Manutius, who died 500 years ago this year. Can you help me figure out the rebus and/or translate the "Latin"?
posted by lackutrol at 6:41 AM - 3 answers

March 18

What the hell does this mug mean?

It says, "Part time virgin... I didn't plan it, but it worked out that way." Images. What is the joke? Is it a joke? [more inside]
posted by cmoj at 10:30 AM - 17 answers

March 17

Oh hey, it's that guy!

I'm always delighted when reading to discover that an author has subtly written their books into the same quasi-real-life universe. Help me find more examples! [more inside]
posted by phunniemee at 10:39 AM - 71 answers

Writing a scientific manuscript

I've done all the analysis for my thesis, but how do I write a scientific manuscript? [more inside]
posted by quadrilaterals at 9:07 AM - 5 answers

March 16

What can you tell me about this tabernacle scroll?

According to my grandmother, this scroll was given to her by a client many years ago. Apparently, the client was actually present when items from a tabernacle were being burned during WW2. He rolled up this scroll and secreted it away safely, until he decided to gift it to grandma. Years later, she had a client who was a rabbi, and he first told her it was hung upside down, and then identified the scroll as being a particular story. Grandma says she thinks it was either Joseph's Coat or Jacob's Ladder, but she can't remember which. Can anybody tell what it is, or provide any other information?
posted by gilrain at 1:56 PM - 5 answers

March 15

Help me do a Boston Southie accent.

I'm playing Costard in a production of Love's Labours Lost. He's a lower class character among royalty. A bright guy, but ignorant of their ways. I want to attempt a Southie accent, and I'm looking for help. So far I've re-watched Good Will Hunting, The Fighter, and Ted, and have googled "how to do a Boston accent". I'm looking for additional advice from a Bostonian beyond the basics, but ideally, a phonetic transcription or recording of Costard's lines would really help me out. I've included the lines below. [more inside]
posted by consummate dilettante at 7:48 PM - 12 answers

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