Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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July 2

Help me find my female voice

I enjoy writing short stories but I'm very aware of the fact that my female voice is somewhat lacking. Help? [more inside]
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 10:32 AM - 31 answers

July 1

Question about the Sheckley ouvre

I think a lot of (speculative fiction author) Robert Sheckley's work is brilliant and masterful. Especially the stuff he published in the 1950s and 1960s. But I've wondered for years why there was such a sharp decline in quality in it around the 1970s and thereafter. Does anybody know? [more inside]
posted by Mr. Justice at 5:06 PM - 6 answers

Name that organization!

I'm starting a group that will be pursuing Freedom of Information requests (mostly under state laws, not federal FOIA) to have genealogically and archivally relevant materials released from local and state archives and governments and put online for free access. But we need a name for this new group! [more inside]
posted by Asparagirl at 8:54 AM - 7 answers

June 30

Number Generator for Foreign Language Learning

Is there a number generator that will read the number out in Mandarin? [more inside]
posted by Trifling at 7:06 PM - 2 answers

Where can I get basic copyediting training?

I want to learn copyediting basics. I have writing skills and great attention to detail, but no formal copyediting training. What resources are out there? I'm looking for short-term things like courses, manuals, and workbooks, not full degree or certificate programs. [more inside]
posted by cadge at 10:06 AM - 10 answers

Help me find the title or author of my favorite lost half-read book!

I was so enthralled with it that I mentioned how wonderful it was to a visiting friend. He asked to borrow it, and then disappeared with it into the wild east of Estonia or maybe Moscow and I've never heard from him again. He also owes me two dollars. [more inside]
posted by cytherea at 1:50 AM - 1 answers

June 28

Words for service

I need ideas for how to word a brief inscription honoring someone's work of N duration, for X cause/ Y institution. Failing that, any ideas for compact inscription-y alternatives to the words "dedicated," "service," or both? [more inside]
posted by gallusgallus at 9:24 AM - 10 answers

also, too

Explain the nuanced difference in meaning between "also" or "too" in this sentence: "We repair your motorcycle too." vs "We repair your motorcycle also."
posted by mightshould at 3:50 AM - 13 answers

June 26

Did you arrive? No, I did not, but I had a very nice time.

Inspired by this thread about unintentional historical double entendres, I'm looking for a science fiction short story that was published twenty or so years ago. [more inside]
posted by infinitewindow at 9:53 AM - 1 answers

June 24

longform/investigative [music/art] journalism examples & best practices?

I'm embarking on an overambitious personal writing project to profile the career of a pair of multidisciplinary artists who've been kicking around underground for 20+ years with next to no fanfare outside of their scene. Can you link me to some SUPER in-depth profiles of other working artists to give me an idea of what to aim for and what to avoid as I work on this? (Really long, career-spanning pieces would be best, but shorter stuff is OK. Bonus points if it's about someone you don't care for/about but the writing was so compelling that you loved reading it anyway, like this incredible profile of Carrot Top in Esquire.) What are some investigative profile best/worst practices when it comes to building something huge from scratch? What do readers love/hate to see in projects like this? [more inside]
posted by divined by radio at 9:10 AM - 12 answers

June 22

Good books about surfing? (not how-to books)

A friend of mine is interested in books on surfing - like memoirs of surfers, or fiction that involves surfing. He's interested in "a good read," not a how-to manual. Can you name any good books about - or involving - surfing that would make a good read?
posted by mark7570 at 4:47 PM - 14 answers

June 21

Need some birthday poems

I'm going to an event this week where people sit around and eat and drink and read poetry, either their own or by others. Since it also happens to be the organizer's birthday, I'd like to read a birthday-related poem, something by a contemporary poet. [more inside]
posted by daikon at 10:49 AM - 3 answers

June 20

Murakami, Translation, and Descriptions of Food?

Would the Japanese text of a Murakami novel bother elaborating that oyakodon is "rice topped with chicken and eggs" - or is that bit of text added by the translator for the benefit of foreign-language (English, in this case) readers? [more inside]
posted by unmake at 9:56 PM - 6 answers

Help me word a cheesy sounding "You've already WON this AMAZING PRIZE"

We're eloping! In addition to celebrating after the fact with friends and family during our Wedding Celebration Tour, we'd like to send out a card offering to let people sign up online for their FREE PRIZE, a postcard mailed to them from our overseas elopement destination. We'd like it to sound and look as cheesy and silly as possible. [more inside]
posted by arnicae at 10:23 AM - 5 answers

June 19

Need a Book Suggestion for HS Graduating Niece

My niece has just graduated from high school and is going to college in August. I would like to get her a meaningful book as a graduation present. Difficulty level: the kid might be gay but isn’t sure. [more inside]
posted by Short Attention Sp at 4:22 PM - 10 answers

YA fiction for tween girls, please

Please suggest good summer reading for tween girls (11/12) who also happen to be going through their parents' divorce. [more inside]
posted by yawper at 7:38 AM - 33 answers

June 17

In Austen's Mansfield Park, what is a transparency?

Fanny's room is described has having "three transparencies, made in a rage for transparencies, for the three lower panes of one window, where Tintern Abbey held its station between a cave in Italy, and a moonlight lake in Cumberland" I'm just curious, what are these? Would they have been purchased, say of the Turner painting, or made by the cousins? Where can I see transparencies from this period?
posted by bdc34 at 10:07 AM - 4 answers

June 16

Near Field Communication

Chinese instruction manual translation help needed. [more inside]
posted by zinon at 1:53 PM - 5 answers

June 15

Hindi translation mystery

I'm trying to figure out the proper Hindi translation for "courage, dear heart". Google Translate gives me a few options, depending on whether I capitalize, add commas, etc, etc, and I'm trying to figure out the difference between them so I can figure out which is correct. I'd really like to get it right! Translations below the break: [more inside]
posted by anoncanuck at 2:44 PM - 19 answers

first chapter books for 5 year old?

Could I have some chapter book recommendations for a inquisitive 5 year old who will be starting kindergarten this fall? Her interests range from magical horses to robots, but she is generally open to anything that isn't too scary. The BFG was well received, but The Wind in the Willows doesn't seem to hold her attention.
posted by steinwald at 6:05 AM - 37 answers

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