Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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February 21

A bit of Oooo, Matron? Bedroom gymnastics? Rumpy van Humpy?

Without being crude, or too physically descriptive, what are good metaphors or entendres or figures of speech for an act of intimacy between two (or more) people? The context is for use within a speech to be given at a wedding reception that can be a little risque, but shouldn't be tiresomely crude - the audience may include families, people of a devout religious persuasion, and the people being referred to who, although open-minded, won't want blunt references. Thank you.
posted by Wordshore at 7:53 AM - 53 answers

February 18

Not Little Fuzzy, or is it?

I am vaguely remembering a paperback that was pretty worn already in the late seventies when I got my hands on it. It was about a friendly little hairy alien, like cousin It, but I dont think it was Little Fuzzy. Or was it? More vague details inside. [more inside]
posted by Iteki at 6:58 AM - 8 answers

February 17

Cover Letter Paragraph Critique

Hi friends, I'm on the hunt for helpful critique of a section of my cover letter, which I've revisited several times. (I WILL get it right!). [more inside]
posted by shelle at 10:45 AM - 12 answers

Gorky Park the novel: what do Russians think of it?

Nearly 40 years after seeing the reviews and thinking I'd read it some day, I've finally finished Gorky Park. I have some questions, the chief among them being, if you're Russian and lived through the time period in question, does it still seem to be a fantastic novel or is it full of jarring implausibilities? More questions below the fold and spoilers of course. [more inside]
posted by glasseyes at 4:18 AM - 6 answers

February 16

The Prydain Chronicles with a female lead

Where's that epic multi-book coming of age story for 8-9 year old girls? [more inside]
posted by Winnie the Proust at 12:24 PM - 27 answers

February 15

Use of italics.

I have a basic understanding of when to use italics and quotation marks. But I haven't found anything that says if they need to be used beyond the first reference. It seems they would wear a reader out if they're used continuously for repeating proper nouns that have already employed them once. Are they used at each instance or only at the first and are unnecessary for subsequent ones?
posted by CollectiveMind at 4:25 PM - 11 answers

February 13

Books about Engineering

I'm looking for recommendations on nonfiction books about engineering; specifically, a group of people coming together to build something that has never been built before. Or multiple groups of people in competition to do so. [more inside]
posted by condour75 at 7:38 PM - 36 answers

Help me identify a word pronounced differently in Scottish English

I'm trying to identify a specific, commonly used word that's pronounced in a different way in Scottish English. Does anyone have any ideas what this word might be? It's on the tip of my tongue but I can't think of it... More details inside. [more inside]
posted by iamsuper at 12:04 AM - 20 answers

February 12

Can you recommend decent, cheap editing help?

Someone has come to me for editing help, and I want to steer her to someone else. Suggestions? [more inside]
posted by swheatie at 6:33 PM - 6 answers

A book about --

The author is a woman who had a blog where she recorded every detail of her daily life. [more inside]
posted by Cwell at 1:09 PM - 1 answers

February 11

Nonfiction book ideas for 5 year old?

I'd like to get some nonfiction kids books for my five year old. We have a few from the library -- one about space, in particular, was a hit -- but most all seem a bit wordy and often too complicated for her age range. Any suggestions of others, on any topic? I mean, is there like a "Bearenstain Bears" of nonfiction? :)
posted by heavenknows at 6:11 AM - 27 answers

February 9

Looking for a poem about interdependence

I’m trying to find a poem that I originally saw on either Facebook or Instagram. It began with something like this (in meaning/sentiment but not in exact words) Your determination to rely only on yourself/ Is something that we can no longer afford. The poem goes on to address the reader, arguing that strong communities are built through relationships of interdependence in which people choose to rely on each other. Rather than simply encouraging the reader to reach out for help, it frames their/our stubborn insistence on pure self-reliance as a selfish act that weakens community by denying others the opportunity connect with us and each other through mutual aid. It may have come out of disability activism or possibly permaculture circles. Not necessarily a published poem from a book - possibly just a screenshot of a Tumblr post. Does this ring a bell for anyone?
posted by embrangled at 5:37 PM - 1 answers

The name of a novel in which a woman treats her lover badly

Another name-that-book-title question. The twist is that usually people want to know the name of a book that they loved; I want to know the name of this particular book because I disliked it so very much. [more inside]
posted by chromium at 12:01 PM - 8 answers

February 7

Huzzah! I'm a published writer! Now what?

I've been writing short stories and flash fiction on a blog for three years now. I've been published in several literary magazines. One of them even nominated me for the Pushcart Prize! What are my prospects from here? [more inside]
posted by Senza Volto at 10:39 PM - 9 answers

Is it wrong to use the phrase "up to" and then not just state the max?

So there is a commercial airing that says people who take the pill can lose "up to an average of 12 pounds." I also hear possible savings described as "up to 5-10 percent" quite often. If I said "up to" I would only state the maximum possible and not a range or an average. Are these just sloppy sentences or is there something I am missing?
posted by soelo at 12:58 PM - 19 answers

sympathy cards that don't suck

I'm looking to create sympathy cards with very little text on them. Think the type of card you would stick with a bouquet to gift someone grieving. All the cards i find online are terrible looking, with even worse text on them. What would you suggest/would have liked to receive yourself, beyond the common "with deepest sympathy" or "words are never enough" ? [more inside]
posted by PardonMyFrench at 12:04 PM - 12 answers

Is this comma really necessary?

I am working on a text for school, and one of my professors is adamant that I should use a comma between what she calls a "parenthetical gerund phrase" (or something) and the verb. I hate this comma with a passion because it looks horrible and feels wrong. However I am not a native English speaker so I am not super confident about this. Is this comma really a thing? (Examples, after, clicking). [more inside]
posted by Tarumba at 10:51 AM - 45 answers

Academic articles on Woolf's A Room of One's Own, Shakespeare's Sister?

I am trying to find academic articles on highlighting why Woolf's A Room of One's Own, Chapter 3, Shakespeare's Sister, is important for creative female writers, literary scholars, and/or literary communities in general. [more inside]
posted by RearWindow at 9:43 AM - 4 answers

Can you recommend books in the vein of Sexual Politics by Kate Millett?

Books that examine authors through a critical feminist lens, either in favor of or against their work?
posted by Phyltre at 6:08 AM - 2 answers

February 6

Help me remember a book

My library doesn't keep records of what I've checked out (good), but when I try to remember a book I read to see if the author has anything else, I'm out of luck. More of the book I'm trying to remember inside [more inside]
posted by k5.user at 7:06 PM - 2 answers

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