Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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October 19

Give me your Harriet Vanes!

I've been re-reading my dogeared Dorothy L Sayers books, specifically the ones featuring Harriet Vane. And I want more like that. [more inside]
posted by altolinguistic at 1:40 AM - 19 answers

October 18

Is there a term for unsophisticated verbs in writing?

I'm trying to figure out how to explain why the usage of particular verbs is weak. [more inside]
posted by annabellee at 12:24 PM - 19 answers

October 17

Writing classes, groups, and workshops in LA -- where to find them?

What are the best places in LA for a writer to hone their craft? I'm a new writer and would like to learn more about how to do it. Details inside. [more inside]
posted by miltthetank at 4:40 PM - 4 answers

October 15

More sets like {ice, water, steam}?

Depending on its state, H2O can be called ice, water, or steam. Are there any other substances that have two or more native English words for different states of matter? (Three seems like too much to ask -- water is the only substance I can think of that even occurs in three states in everyday life.)
posted by aws17576 at 8:51 AM - 32 answers

October 14

Looking for a reading for a scattering of ashes at sea

I'm looking for a short essay or non-rhymey poem that talks about loss and renewal for an ash scattering in the ocean. [more inside]
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:33 PM - 5 answers

3rd planet from the sun + person doing thing

What are other phrases like "globe-trotter", "world explorer", "earth shaker", or "terraformer?" I need 10 more and I'm stumped! The linguistic recipe is 1 noun synonymous with Earth + 1 noun that is a person doing a thing... [more inside]
posted by this-apoptosis at 6:02 PM - 29 answers

October 12

You son of a… male fish?

Are there any languages in which you insult the male relatives of your interlocutor? NSFW language below (obviously). [more inside]
posted by hopeful beast at 7:57 PM - 15 answers

October 11

The alchemy of siblings singing together

Help me source a half-remembered quotation about siblings singing. [more inside]
posted by gauche at 10:31 AM - 12 answers

Detective fiction -- what next for me?

I need a new series to read, but don't know where to turn. I've only read a few, and like Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder and John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee best. [more inside]
posted by noelpratt2nd at 8:22 AM - 23 answers

October 10

Help me understand the psychology of abuse survivors

I'm writing a sci-fi/fantasy novel in which one of the characters has survived a childhood of systematic sexual abuse. I'd like to understand the psychological effects of abuse, particularly sexual abuse, on survivors, and different ways in which people react to and overcome that history. (Or fail to overcome it, as the case may be.) [more inside]
posted by crookedgrin at 8:47 PM - 11 answers

Quotes about science, innovation, enlightenment and progress

Like it says on the tin Mefi, I'm looking for quotes on the contribution of science and innovation to social enlightenment and progress. Bonus points if the quote comes from a European woman but any source welcome.
posted by roolya_boolya at 12:31 AM - 1 answers

October 6

Les sagas familiales

What are your favorite French-language family saga novels or novels that recount the story of a life? [more inside]
posted by andrewesque at 12:26 PM - 7 answers

October 5

How to overcome writer's despair?

How do I overcome the negativity that prevents me from completing partially-finished writing projects? [more inside]
posted by windykites at 1:05 PM - 15 answers

Help identify this Spanish-language short story

Ages ago in my high school Spanish class we read a short story about a ghost. The basic plot summary was that a man dies and wakes up as a ghost; nobody else can see or hear him. At the end of the story he realizes that every person enters their own plane of existence upon death and stay there forever. He's disgusted at the thought of his wife passing through a miasma of ghosts, millions of whom are probably spying on her. [more inside]
posted by lilac girl at 8:47 AM - 2 answers

October 4

Witty Book Signing Note

We wrote a book! We did it! I just realized we're going to some sort of book signing event to meet local booksellers soon, and there will be promo copies of the books for the booksellers. What clever and useful thing should I say, beyond just writing my name? [more inside]
posted by aniola at 12:10 PM - 8 answers

October 2

Retaining multiple languages?

How do you work on maintaining all your lesser used languages? [more inside]
posted by chrono_rabbit at 2:30 PM - 6 answers

What are good short stories to read aloud to 3rd graders?

What short stories would 3rd graders enjoy? I'm reading stories aloud to 3rd graders for 15 minutes once a week, and I need some good suggestions. For me, the stories that I remember from grade school where always the twists: The Monkey's Paw, The Necklace, etc. What great short stories do you remember from childhood? Or what great short stories have you read to 8- and 9-year-olds?
posted by mrgrimm at 11:53 AM - 13 answers

September 29

'You're good, but not good enough.' Writing rejection/career advice?

I feel like that is the recurring message lately. How can I improve as much as humanely possible? And how do I cultivate a career in journalism at this late stage? [more inside]
posted by Willow251 at 2:56 PM - 7 answers

trying to recall a poem

I'm trying to recall a.. (semi-romantic?) poem that described an imaginary hour/time in which weird/absurd stuff happens. [more inside]
posted by aielen at 2:54 AM - 11 answers

September 28

What should I say instead of "fudge" around my kid?

Hi. I swear a lot. It's fun. I've been swearing since I was a little kid on the bus who dropped f-bombs (like this previous ask). I have a kid now and realize I need to curb that, but most of the obvious substitutions are really corny and cheesy. Help me out! [more inside]
posted by kendrak at 9:21 AM - 62 answers

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