Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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December 15

Recommend some recentish good reads?

I'm looking for well-written books with engrossing plots that are somewhere on the spectrum between garbage-mass-market-airport book and important-but-arduous literary book. They're for my mother, who really has no genre preference, just wants books that are entertaining but not Danielle Steel-level writing quality. I would like to avoid anything too grim this year. [more inside]
posted by Mavri at 12:13 PM - 21 answers

Help me locate this passage in an old etiquette book

In my teens, in a spirit of irony, I read a few older etiquette books. This story might or might not be from Emily Post, but it's from something of that era. [more inside]
posted by zadcat at 5:45 AM - 4 answers

December 12

how do I pitch?

Not a baseball question. A writer friend of mine is starting a storytelling series in our town and has requested that those of us who are interested in participating should email him pitches for a short, 6-10 story we'd want to tell on stage. [more inside]
posted by thereemix at 3:24 PM - 5 answers

How to take a PDF and format it into a novel?

Through my job, I've been engaged to take a PDF of raw text and turn out a novel manuscript. No copyediting or proofreading involved, just taking this 200+ pages of text and formatting it into a novel. I'm not even 100% sure what this entails except that it doesn't involve any graphic design. Does anybody have any advice about this? I've never done this before so I'm not sure how else to do it besides googling "Google Docs Novel Template." I'm obviously extremely clueless but any help/advice/material hints appreciated!
posted by anonymous at 12:16 AM - 12 answers

December 11

Looking for animal words

Can you think of words that essentially mean "like or of [type of animal], without containing the name of that animal itself? For example, "murine" for mouse-like. More examples below: [more inside]
posted by dadaclonefly at 2:56 PM - 15 answers

Blue collar proverbs?

I'm looking to expand my vernacular of appropriate rural American proverbs, like the things you'd hear at a crusty tavern in small town USA. Examples: No pockets on a casket. Same circus, different clowns. Don't let your tongue get your teeth knocked out.
posted by sewellcm at 11:26 AM - 98 answers

Know anything about South American tortoise myths?

We have a wonderful children's book by Gerald McDermott called "Jabutí the Tortoise: A Trickster Tale from the Amazon." I think the story would make a great play for a children's theater that I work with, but I cannot find the source, and Mr. McDermott is dead, so I cannot ask him. [more inside]
posted by starvingartist at 9:13 AM - 4 answers

Word count within sentences

I am doing some branded content work where for SEO reasons sentences need to be 20 words and under. I would like a website, app, etc where I can post my copy into a window or something, click a button, and it highlights either entire sentences that are too long, or highlights from the point they exceed the sentence word count.
posted by Mistress at 6:20 AM - 4 answers

What was the Italianish insult my grandma used to use?

When she got riled up, my grandma would call my pop something that sounded like - I think - "scusdamadh." Maybe that last consonant was a rolled r with a dropped vowel after it - it's hard to know. Gram and Pop were both the children of early 20th century immigrants from southern Italy so spoke a little bit of that older Italian. [more inside]
posted by entropone at 6:03 AM - 5 answers

December 10

Prepositions for advanced learners

Someone who speaks English almost fluently but as a second language has asked me for some resources to help her brush up on prepositions in formal and business writing as she is feeling rather rusty. I am looking for any recommendations, preferably online, and especially any used by ESL teachers, that I could direct her to.
posted by tavegyl at 2:17 AM - 2 answers

December 9

A writing program or app that won't delete ANYTHING

I heard about RoughDraft and knew I needed it. But it looks like 1. it's discontinued and 2. even so, it was for Mac or iPhone only. I need something like it; a bare-bones word processor that won't let you delete anything (doing strikethrough instead is fine) but will eventually let you export the document. [more inside]
posted by The otter lady at 8:11 PM - 12 answers

Help Mom find gripping Spanish language books to read

My mom is looking for Spanish language literature to help improve her fluency while also staying entertained. She's had trouble finding stuff she enjoys. Can you help? [more inside]
posted by phoenixy at 5:27 PM - 6 answers

December 7

the mess inside, sunny side

How do I develop a character I wrote for a story RPG when I won't actually be playing the RPG? Or in other words, how do you indulge in getting to know a character just for the sake of knowing them? [more inside]
posted by elephantsvanish at 7:58 PM - 4 answers

Can you tell me what it says on this Russian snuff box from 1820?

Can you tell me what it says on this Russian snuff box from 1820? [more inside]
posted by oneirodynia at 2:57 PM - 8 answers

What are some sounds that English speakers have difficulty perceiving?

What are some sounds in non-English languages that native English speakers have a hard time perceiving or producing? For instance, Japanese-speakers might not distinguish between the English "l" and "r" sounds. When English speakers try speaking other languages, what sounds do they have difficult with correctly hearing or speaking, because those sounds don't exist in English?
posted by Mystical Listicle at 2:21 PM - 45 answers

Word game with matched syllable responses

There was a link I think I saw on Metafilter a couple of years ago to a word game whose name I remember as something like "higity pigity." [more inside]
posted by layceepee at 6:09 AM - 5 answers

December 6

Help me adult like it's 1950?

Letter-writers of mefi: how do I write a good postcard for a five-year-old, especially if I don't know them all that well? [more inside]
posted by mosst at 7:08 PM - 19 answers

December 5

Fiction written as a monologue

I’m interested in finding examples of fiction written as a monologue addressed to the reader, so that the reader feels like another, unnamed character. [more inside]
posted by chappell, ambrose at 3:54 PM - 25 answers

I thought his name was Warren?

Does the phrase “Damn the man!” predate Empire Records? I feel like it has to, but I can’t find any information regarding the phrase’s origins. My Google-fu is not strong with this one.
posted by bluloo at 2:36 PM - 6 answers

December 3

Giftfilter: books about food

I'm looking for interesting and reasonably short books about food for a gift. This is for someone especially interested in wine, mushrooms, fermented foods and veganism. [more inside]
posted by carolr at 4:21 PM - 9 answers

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