Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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April 24

Easy-to-use hyperlinks in printed media?
I'm involved in writing a book that will published in both electronic and print versions. The book will be semi-academic, and will provide many (hyper)links to electronic sources. While this is easy to do in the electronic version, what is an easy way for the reader to retrieve a link to something in the hard copy? Possible solutions would be to print QR codes in the print version for every link, using Layar, or simply list a short number/code which would then correspond to the link when looked up on a separate website. Do you have any other suggestions? Again, the goal is to make it as easy as possible for the reader of a print copy to dig deeper into the other sources. I'm just looking for ideas now, assume that there is no limitation on cost or manpower. Thanks in advance!
posted by JiffyQ at 6:26 AM - 3 answers

April 23

What is currently the best vehicle for self-published short fiction?
Self-published authors of MeFi: What's the best way to self-publish these days? Is it still Amazon via CreateSpace, or has something better emerged? More details inside. [more inside]
posted by jbickers at 1:17 PM - 6 answers

I have an encyclopedia, not a story: what to do?
Authors Of AskMe, has this happened to you? During my self-imposed creative hiatus over the last year or so I conducted a lot of research into what would be my dream project. A project I could be passionate about, the kind of book I'd really want to exist. So I made a list of every thing, character, concept, idea, sudden kind of twist I'd like. I have three notebooks of this stuff. I cross-indexed it and included all my references. I have an astounding about of detail on what I want to put in and touch on but no actual story. I keep staring at it, like it's a list of SCP entries, and I can't think of a damn thing for anyone to do with these collected items, places, motifs, themes, and people. It's frustrating cause I can come up with quick pulp narratives on the fly for stuff I'm not working as hard on but every attempt to break and outline a rising action for these people results in rapid breathing and complete brain fume-lock. I keep asking "What does the main character want?" and coming up with nothing. Is this common? Is there a resource for this? Can I pay someone to go through these ideas and find something that other people might want to read? [more inside]
posted by The Whelk at 11:05 AM - 34 answers

April 22

Author Self-Referencing in Fiction?
Can you think of examples of a work of fiction directly referencing its author's prior but unrelated work of fiction, when these works do not take place in the same fictional universe or contain any characters in common? [more inside]
posted by sallybrown at 9:13 PM - 40 answers

Dogs of the Dome
I'm listening to Stephen King's Under the Dome on audiobook. I'm on disc 5 of about 30, and enjoying it so far. However, I'm worried about the canine residents of Chester's Mill. [more inside]
posted by Elly Vortex at 10:28 AM - 9 answers

April 21

Fantasy Childhood Book Oswald the Sea Monster, Basilisks, Mandrakes...
A favorite childhood book was titled something like "A Mysterious Parcel." It was a translation from another (unknown) language into my own Eastern European language, so the original title might have been quite different. [more inside]
posted by Atrahasis at 7:36 PM - 2 answers

Today's science-fiction story: P. Anderson's classic "A Plate of Beans."
In Poul Anderson’s “The Last of the Deliverers,” (spoilers ahead) he describes a future America in which, for all practical purposes, cheap solar energy and a culture of decreased desires for material advancement (people are essentially satisfied with a comfortable, but low, standard of living) have led to a kind of utopia. The plot of the story is, more or less, that two representatives of remnants from an older culture – a small-government type in the Barry Goldwater mold as well as a member of the American Communist Party – meet in a village and argue about the virtues of their respective ideologies, but cannot appreciate that social evolution and the lack of scarcity produced by it has made their political differences (and their politics) largely pointless and obsolete. So how am I to understand the last half-paragraph of the story, which seems to undercut the entire story in a most paradoxical way: [more inside]
posted by Mr. Justice at 1:16 PM - 4 answers

Folks = parents?
Where you live, or where you grew up, do people commonly refer to their parents as "my folks"? Would that phrasing sound odd to you, or stand out in any way, if, say, a coworker used it? [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie at 9:19 AM - 89 answers

April 18

Looking for a children's picture book
Had a memory just now of a small book I had as a child. I have a vague recollection of it being square and hardback, possibly with a green cover, but the most prominent memory is of a page describing the "wild worms of the Pampas" with a picture of fanged worms in tall grass. [more inside]
posted by j.edwards at 1:12 PM - 7 answers

April 17

English to Latin translation
What is "The storm cannot be stopped; but it can be survived" in Latin?
posted by cake vandal at 4:14 PM - 6 answers

April 16

Blog-Magazines For Cool Colorful Punk Babes
Lately I've been really into the blog Ribbon Around A Bomb, who writes about female-fronted 70s post-punk, Twin Peaks, feminist art, and leather jackets. I also love The Pulp Zine, which is full of teen dreams and high school small town angst, an obsession with Burger Records, 90s nostalgia, black lipstick and pink hair. I'm looking for more blogs that cover punk, garage rock, femme fun, DIY, weirdo fashion, nostalgia, queerness, creativity, feminism, art, and worship of countercultural idols. Basically, I'm a fully-grown scummy punk boyfemme who wants the experience of flipping through a teen magazine tailored to my interests. What other sites would I love? [more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:17 AM - 1 answers

Need some Japanese reading practice.
I want to receive one article, preferably about current events, written in Japanese, on my Kindle, every day. How can I arrange this? [more inside]
posted by Vorteks at 8:56 AM - 7 answers

April 15

Please rescue my thieves
I’ve gone and written myself into a corner in a story I’m writing. I need to figure out how two thieves can escape from the grounds of a castle. [more inside]
posted by talitha_kumi at 3:38 PM - 45 answers

Ideas for short anecdotes
Lately I've been looking into pursuing my love for comics by writing one-page stories. Catch is, I'm experimenting with layering the stories and de-linearizing them, but I need simple story ideas for the most basic layer of the piece. My best bet would be working with something similar to a parable or anecdote which I can later complicate, but where can I find helpful ideas / inspiration? [more inside]
posted by omar.a at 1:06 PM - 7 answers

April 13

It was an alien the whole time!
A short story with a surprise ending where the protagonist is an alien, and the spacecraft that crashed in the woods contains a human. This has been done before, right? [more inside]
posted by ronofthedead at 3:50 PM - 13 answers

April 12

Translation Filter: German and Czech Food Allergy List
We are travelling to Germany and the Czech Republic later this month. My mom has a set of severe food allergies, and would like to print some translated cards for restaurant staff just to be on the safe side. I'd like to translate this list into both German and Czech please. I'm happy to translate using a dictionary, but I feel that native speakers will have a better handle on subtle details, such as corn and its derivatives (for example, corn flour is not big in Canada, but corn starch and corn meal are in everything). Many thanks Metafilter! [more inside]
posted by jjonajason at 11:03 AM - 9 answers

April 11

What is this Adrienne Rich poem about?
Adrienne Rich's poem OCTOBRISH from fox is one that I am fascinated by. But what is it about? [more inside]
posted by morganannie at 7:32 AM - 8 answers

Help me pick out a typewriter for an aspiring novelist
Mrs. Thistledown has been working on a novel, but getting motivation to write has been difficult since she spends most of her workday staring at a computer screen. Coming home to stare at another one to write is hard for her. A typewriter on the other hand... [more inside]
posted by Thistledown at 7:09 AM - 12 answers

April 10

Spanish Horror/ Science Fiction Novels or Short Stories
I'm looking for some psychological horror, science fiction, or just plain interesting stories written in Spanish. I really enjoy Stephen King, and Junji Ito as horror writers go, and I love harder science fiction rather than softer. Philip K. Dick is one of my favorites as well. [more inside]
posted by Gargantuantoe at 11:02 PM - 10 answers

Children's book featuring the Brontes?
In the 1980s I read a children's chapter book that featured the Bronte sisters as children. I think it was part of some kind of fantasy time travel - the real main character from a more modern setting somehow travelled back to Haworth parsonage and interacted with them - but I'm not sure of that. Possibly she found a diary or other notebook of theirs? I remember their time being presented as dark, and mysterious, with a sinister male figure, probably their father but maybe Branwell? What was this? Thanks!
posted by sumiami at 10:50 PM - 5 answers

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