March/April 2014 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting April 17th
- Query in 14 Days
- Fundamentals of Nonfiction
- Essentials of Travel Writing
- Build Your Novel Scene by Scene
- Essentials of Business Writing
- Outlining Your Novel
- Revision and Editing
- How to Blog a Book
Workshops Starting April 24th
- Query in 14 Days
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Author Archives: Brian A. Klems
5-Minute Memoir is exactly what it sounds like—a personal essay on some facet of the writing life, be it a narrative or a reflection, pensive, touching or hilarious. Enjoy this installment from Peter Jurich. Read more
You receive a mysterious email and the subject line reads “Everything you know is a lie.” You open the email and read further: “Act calm as to not alert anyone, but everyone around you is not who they say they are. You need to quietly get out of there and meet me at the spot where you had your first kiss. You know the place. My name is Mark.” Read more
It’s the perfect time to restart your engine and get back into writing. Here, I offer up a 12-day plan of simple writing exercises to help you keep your creative juices flowing without eating up too much of your time. Follow this plan and in less than half a month, you’ll not only be impressed with what you’ve accomplished, but you may also have something worth publishing. Read more
You’re a struggling musician who is playing small clubs on a summer tour across the country and who generally sleeps in your van. But one night, in a small town in (fill in the blank), a concertgoer offers to let you sleep on his/her couch. You take the offer, but by morning you regret it. Write a story that explains what happens. Read more
You had the best time at your New Year’s Eve party—such a good time, in fact, that you can hardly remember it thanks to a little too much vodka. While nursing a hangover, a friend calls and says, “I’m so pumped we’re doing this New Year’s resolution together. I know it’s unusual, but doing it together will make it easier. I’ll pick you up in an hour.” The problem: You have no idea what your friend is talking about. Write the scene starting with the car ride. Read more
Over the past year I posted articles on this blog that covered everything—from grammar to writing better characters to getting published and more. Here’s a cheat sheet linking to what I consider the 62 best articles that can help you reach your writing goals. Read more
What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2014? Post them here and then at the end of the year, I’ll feature this in the newsletter and ask you to check in to see which ones you’ve accomplished and reflect on your writing year. Read more
Using “into” and “in to” interchangeably is a very common grammar faux pas—heck, my sister commits this grandiose error in e-mails at least twice a day and, despite my attempts to sick the grammar police on her, she continues to write recklessly. But if you understand their individual definitions, it’s easy to pick the right word to convey your true meaning and avoid the grammar police altogether. Read more
Write a Christmas poem parody of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, only write it about an unexpected guest who isn’t Santa. Read more
Too many stories end badly. And yet they somehow get published and even succeed to some degree. That’s because the rest of the story—the structure of it and the compelling essence of the character—triumphs to an extent that the ending doesn’t make or break the story at all. It just is. Your goal is … Read more
An anonymous friend has been leaving you gifts at work to celebrate each of the 12 days of Christmas. All was fine and good for the first 11 gifts, which were thoughtful. But the 12th gift isn’t actually a gift at all—it’s a photograph of someone you love doing something they shouldn’t be doing and an extortion note demanding $10,000 in cash or that photo goes live on the Internet. What do you do? Write this scene. Read more
Write an end-of-days story from a non-human point of view (animal, tree, insect, cloud, etc.) Read more
Around Thanksgiving I’m always reminded of how thankful I am for my wife, my kids, my family and my friends. One thing that I often overlook is how thankful I am that I am a writer. It’s a challenging profession, one that causes a lot of rejection, heartbreak and unintentionally condescending looks from others (“So you’re a writer? That’s nice, but what’s your real job?”). But the payoff is this: Read more
Your neighbor started hanging her Christmas decorations. You smile, wave and say, “Looks good,” as you pull into your garage. Suddenly, you take pause and notice that her decorations look very familiar and, are in fact, yours. To confirm you dash to the basement and see that all of you Christmas decorations are missing. You decide to steal back your good in the middle of the night but it doesn’t go as planned. Write this scene. Read more
We want to let you know about the new Writer’s Digest survey and encourage you to participate. Whether you’re an aspiring author, or one who’s already been published, the information you can provide is of great importance to the publishing industry, enabling you to tell publishers, editors, agents, and self-publishing service providers what really matters, why you write, and what you want. Read more below or just click here to participate. Read more
You’ve been invited to attend a Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house, but when you walk in you notice there’s no turkey and, instead, a giant “Intervention” sign hanging across the mantle. Your friend, who is surrounded by many of your other friends and family, sits you down and explains that you have a problem: you spend too much time writing! Write this scene and how you handle it. Read more
While shopping downtown one day, you find an antiques store that has a rare, old doll. You buy it for your daughter. A few days later she tells you her new toy can talk. You don’t believe her, until one afternoon you find yourself alone in the house, and it starts talking to you. Write this scene. Read more
Your spouse wants to move out of your new apartment, saying that there is a large space you both can move into. When you go to visit the new digs, you find it’s an abandoned warehouse at an old train yard. Clearly you can’t live there. Only your spouse just spent your life savings to buy it. What do you say? Read more
This free sponsored webinar is brought to you by Speedy Publishing. Learn more about self-publishing and view the full recording below. When it comes to making more money most self-publishers have seen, … Read more
What’s the difference between fewer and less? Here’s a simple explanation to help you use both correctly. Read more
Flipping through your library books for research, you find one of the books you incorrectly checked out. It’s a handwritten journal authored by someone you know. Who wrote it and what does it say? Read more
You are trying to read the morning newspaper when your cat begins pawing at your leg. You brush it away, but it jumps on the table and begins meowing. Finally, the cat speaks. What does she say? Write this scene and what she is trying to tell you. Read more
While we are a community of writers, it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of the finer points of funny and clever images shared throughout today’s social media world. I’ve decided share some of my favorites. This one comes from Mary Zisk. Hope you enjoy. Read more