Author Archives: Brian A. Klems

Playing With Fire

You come across a pack of matches that sets off a series of uncanny events. Start your story with “My mother always told me not to play with fire.” End it with “And that’s how I ended up in the middle of nowhere—naked.” Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

wd-Brian-web-19.jpg

The Q: What’s the Most Over-Rated Book?

We've all read a book that our friends have ranted and raved about, finished the final sentence of the final page and thought, "That was lame. My friends should get their heads checked." Every time I tell folks that I didn't like The Great Gatsby, they look at me like I just called them...

Ask the Pro: Editorial Manager Deborah Werksman

Editorial Manager Deborah Werksman is seeking romance novels, series and trilogies in the paranormal, time travel, romantic suspense, historical, contemporary and erotic genres for Sourcebooks Casablanca. She is also interested in innovative women’s fiction, as well as international and historical fiction. For submission guidelines, visit ...

wd-Brian-web-19.jpg

Should You Post Your Novel Online for Free?

Q: Is it a good idea to serialize an unpublished novel in a weekly blog? I have a completed sci-fi novel and was thinking about releasing it online, but I wasn’t sure if I should do this. Would it be good publicity for my novel, or would it make it harder to get my...

wd-Brian-web-19.jpg

The Q: What Are the Benefits of Being a Writer?

I recently posed this question on Twitter because I was having a kind of "Oh man, why did I choose to be a writer" kind of day. (Of course, every writer knows we don't "choose" to be writers. We are born that way, for better or worse.) So I wanted to see what the...

How to Keep Some Privacy When Using Social Media

In an age when both working and aspiring writers are expected to be “out there” more than ever before, privacy has become a luxury unaffordable to those of us not named Stephen King or Dan Brown. Sure, writers have always had to be visible at book signings and the like, but your role at...

10 Ways Writers Lose Blog Traffic and Alienate Readers

As a food and travel writer, I rely on my blog as my lifeline. It helps me connect with my readers and is a wonderful platform to make my voice heard. But it didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of work to learn how to keep my online presence interesting, fresh and inviting....

Your Keynote Speech

You received a call from your alma mater and they want you to be the keynote speaker at graduation. Write a speech that inspires the future generation to work toward their dreams.

wd-Brian-web-19.jpg

It’s #StoryFriday Time on Twitter (Join in!)

It’s #storyfriday time on Twitter! Here’s how it works: We write the first line, then someone adds a line & so on. Starts @9:30 EST. Use #storyfriday hashtag. For more details on how #storyfriday works, click here. To join in, click here. Today’s prompt: START: “When Jeff and I bought this house we didn’t...

wd-Brian-web-19.jpg

Are You Writing a Book With a Hook or a Gimmick?

I was reading a piece on the Guide to Literary Agent's blog today that made me panic. It talked about how books that sell have hooks and books that don't have gimmicks, and helps you figure out in which camp your work falls (that's the correct way to use "in which," right?). What freaked...

Sorry I Had to Rig Your GPS, But This Is Urgent

You had planned to attend a friend’s birthday party and plugged her address into your GPS system, but the system guided you to somewhere else. Oddly enough, there was a man waiting for you at this mysterious place. “Sorry I had to rig your GPS, but this is urgent,” said the person. Post your...

wd-Brian-web-19.jpg

Free Money for Writers (Seriously)

Make good use of your time this weekend (and I don't just mean sunburning poolside). Check out ways you can get grants to cover your writing expenses (which can include research trips, child care, writing retreat travel expenses, website development and more). You have to put in a little work, but the payoff...

Where to Find Writing Grants

Start your search small and local by investigating grant opportunities in your own town, region and state. Peruse the websites of your town’s art council and your state’s arts commission. To help guide your efforts, visit the website of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (nasaa-arts.org), which provides links to arts agencies in...

wd-Brian-web-19.jpg

Winners of Free WD Subscription: 7-Figure Book Deal Edition

Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's Q: What Would You Buy With a 7-Figure Book Deal? Some great responses—some sensible, some awesomely ridiculous. One thing seems to be clear: Most would quit their day jobs to focus on writing. Here are the winners of a free 1-year subscription to Writer's Digest.

Free Money for Writers

Grants, fellowships and residencies offer both support and opportunity—and all they ask in return is that you follow your writing dreams. Here’s what you need to know about some of the best opportunities you could be missing.

wd-Brian-web-19.jpg

It’s #StoryFriday Time on Twitter (Join in!)

It’s #storyfriday time on Twitter! Here’s how it works: We write the first line, then someone adds a line & so on. Starts @9:30 EST. Use #storyfriday hashtag. For more details on how #storyfriday works, click here. To join in, click here. Today’s prompt: START: “How does a cricket get into a trashcan on...

wd-Brian-web-19.jpg

The 5 Essential Story Ingredients & More

You wouldn't expect a taco salad to taste good without all the proper ingredients, would you? The same can be said about a story. Without the right blend of plot, characters, emotional drive and more, your story will fall flatter than a popped birthday balloon (which, according to my eldest daughter, is one of...

Why “Start Your Novel Is With Action” is Bad Advice

The cliché "start your novel with action" has a flaw—and it's a major one: What good is the action if it isn't grounded in context that’s important to the story or draws you to the main character? It's much, much better to start your story with tension, like a character conflict or a character...

Talking Dog

Your kids have spent years asking you to get them a dog. You finally break down and get one, only to discover that this dog talks—but only to you. More interestingly, the dog loves to gossip about your kids and their lives. Write a scene where ...