Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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July 19

Advice and insights from notable nonfiction editors?

I recently read an interview with Jill Lepore in which she described how her editor at the New Yorker, Henry Finder, had helped her tremendously with an essay. I'd like to learn more about how editors like Finder think about editing-- how they approach line edits, structural edits, how they work, what they advise. Looking for articles, interviews, or other resources in which editors like Finder share their insights about editing. [more inside]
posted by Mystical Listicle at 11:08 AM - 4 answers

Help me find that will help me learn how to write book reviews

I have started writing book reviews on a freelance basis for literary journals and would love recommendations for books that deal with how to write a decent review. A collection of book reviews would be great too. PS: I enjoy reading reviews on the NYT and New Yorker.
posted by dostoevskygirl at 9:01 AM - 4 answers

What do mis-gendered nouns sound like?

For people who are fluently bilingual in both American English and a language with gendered nouns (specifically interested in French, but others please chip in): What's the closest English equivalent (if one exists) to what it it feels like when someone misgenders a noun? [more inside]
posted by true at 7:52 AM - 14 answers

July 17

Copyeditors: Is this correct?

Example is: "a very well rounded student." [more inside]
posted by noelpratt2nd at 10:26 AM - 14 answers

July 16

No Podcasts, No Artist's Way

This post on the Blue reminded me that I am looking for a program similar to Tim Clare's Couch to 80k Bootcamp, but it can't be in podcast format. Can you help me find a similar source of writing prompts or a similar program? [more inside]
posted by corey flood at 6:05 PM - 2 answers

July 14

How do we know what those words mean? (About translation and interpretat

I find myself thinking today about the process of learning foreign languages, particularly early on, when there isn't any sort of infrastructure to fall back on. How do we do it? How did we do it in the distant past? [more inside]
posted by Alensin at 7:38 PM - 6 answers

July 13

Good books on Scottish-English conflict and the post-Roman era in the UK

What it says on the tin. I just returned from my Hadrian's Wall trek and am now very interested to read about the Border Reivers, the Roman withdrawal. Basically anything covering the period from Hadrian's Wall to the Jacobite uprising. I lean more towards popular history than academic history.
posted by frumiousb at 1:27 AM - 7 answers

July 9

Question 1 (Question - example - another example, kind of)

Where/when/why did the practise of summarising the events that happen in a chapter and putting it before the chapter itself come about? Examples inside. [more inside]
posted by womb of things to be and tomb of things that were at 5:14 AM - 9 answers

July 7

Illustrations and Examples of Gricean Pragmatic Principles in Action

I'm looking for humorous, interesting examples from television, film etc. of Grice's maxims and sub-maxims being violated, or flouted to generate a conversational implicatures. Does anyone know of any good examples? [more inside]
posted by ashaw at 3:02 AM - 9 answers

July 6

Perfect crime short story book

Many years ago I read a paperback that was a series of short stories, each attempting to portray a perfect murder. After each one, there was a critique (if memory serves, by a real policeman) evaluating how perfect the murder actually was. I seem to recall one of the stories was death by frozen mutton (a la Roald Dahl's "Lamb to the Slaughter") and another had something to do with turning around a plate that had blood samples on it or something. Anyone have any idea what this could be? Google has been unhelpful...
posted by LingeringMoon at 3:14 PM - 2 answers

July 5

Where does the "they said" format come from?

I've seen this around a lot lately. Just now, a news story about $1200 bunk bed pods was commented on thusly on Twitter: Under Socialism no one will own anything, they said. Under Socialism you’ll live in grim identical barracks, they said. [more inside]
posted by zadcat at 8:02 PM - 9 answers

French single word for “Friday’s Child”?

I remember seeing and writing down somewhere a word in French that means “Friday’s child” (born on Friday, derived from the popular nursery rhyme). It wasn’t “l'enfant du vendredi“, it was just one word I believe. Anyone?
posted by jitterbug perfume at 12:26 PM - 6 answers

July 2

Another Scrivener question

How does one organize duplicate data under different thematics in Scrivener? For example, John Doe taught the first American History course at Smith College. I want 1 file for John Doe as a character, 1 file for American History, and 1 file for Smith College because in the final text, parts of these 3 topics will intersect in different combinations, not in a linear way. What tool in Scrivener should I be using? My book is non-fiction and uses a massive (and unorganized) oral history doc as its backbone.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 8:32 PM - 3 answers

June 30

Recommend me some grimdark fiction!

I'm really enjoying a particular kind of grimdark fiction recently: settings of profound and insurmountable systemic terribleness where individual morality is sort of irrelevant because individuals are perversely incentivised or have no good options or can't even imagine an alternative. Examples and counter-examples inside. What else should I read? [more inside]
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 9:17 AM - 27 answers

June 29

How to create endnotes that use text references instead of numbers?

I am working on a nonfiction book with a small publisher. I want to have endnotes, but not ones with numbers in the text, but instead ones that reference to a small snippet of text and then the note. Kind of like this? I am using a complex workaround involving bookmarks and cross references in Word, but wondering if there's an easier way. Thanks!
posted by heavenknows at 12:07 PM - 4 answers

Help me write a less-masculine gay male character without cliches.

I’m working on a story with a cis gay male main character, but I’m having trouble choosing the right words to describe him. [more inside]
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:13 AM - 13 answers

June 28

Did I dream this short story? (CW: abuse)

I dreamed I was reading a short story, and I'm not sure if it actually exists. Content warning: abuse. [more inside]
posted by Nyrha at 8:28 AM - 2 answers

June 26

Mary Oliver: favorite poem that is NOT "Wild Geese"

What is your favorite Mary Oliver poem that is not "Wild Geese"? [more inside]
posted by Orlop at 8:41 AM - 26 answers

June 24

Copyeditors: Is this correct?

It's a me or myself usage question. [more inside]
posted by noelpratt2nd at 4:02 PM - 7 answers

Help me find this book quote

I’m looking for a book quote about thinking that moving can change a person or fix their problems. Character A was moving (across the country?), and character B was saying that character A was young enough to think that moving could change a person or fix their problems, or something along those lines. [more inside]
posted by ataxia at 11:37 AM - 5 answers

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