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Author Archives: Brian A. Klems

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

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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. Read more

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

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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 benefits were for being a writer to give me the pick-me-up I needed—and to stop me from accidentally stabbing myself with paperclips. I even started it off with this tweet … Read more

60 Rejection Letters Didn’t Stop Kathryn Stockett and Her Bestseller “The Help”

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Talk about an inspirational story: Kathryn Stockett, author of the bestselling book (and now highly successful movie) The Help, received 60 rejection letters over 3 and a half years—and still didn’t give up. Good thing she didn’t. You have to read this great article by Stockett about her determination. Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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. Read more

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

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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 … Read more

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

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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 me out is this: What if my writing projects don’t have hooks and, instead, have gimmicks? Yikes! Read more

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 … Read more

Try These Writing Prompts – Trust Me, It’ll Be Fun

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Some mornings I’m about as creative as a thumbtack. I roll out of bed at the same time, eat the same Raisin Bran for breakfast and drive the same route to work. Then I stare blankly at the computer screen for 45 minutes before deciding to sneak down and see if there are any free cookies in the mailroom. To get the burst of creativity to break me out of my funk, I often turn to writing prompts. To help you get started today, I wanted to offer several of our recent writing prompts: Read more

Free Money for Writers (Seriously)

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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 can be huge and can allow you time to focus less on bills and more on writing. Check out these two great articles on grant writing. Read more

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 … Read more

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

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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. Read more

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. Read more

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

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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 … Read more

The Q: What Would You Buy With a 7-Figure Book Deal? (Plus, Win a WD Subscription)

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When I see books like Harry Potter fly off the bookshelves, I can’t help but think, What if that were me? What if my hard work paid off and I landed a seven-figure book deal? Aside from passing out (multiple times) from excitement and throwing up (multiple times) out of nervousness, I’d want to do something special with my first purchase from that check. Post your thoughts on what you would buy in the comments section for a chance to win a free 1-year subscription to WD. Read more

The 5 Essential Story Ingredients & More

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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 the top 5 worst things that can happen—just after “running out of donuts,” but just before “having to take a nap”). Here are The 5 Essential Story Ingredients according to author Steven James. Read more

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 who’s not getting what he wants. This gives the reader a reason to feel connected. Read more

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 … Read more

How to Take Your Short Stories to the Next Level

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Are you writing a short story? The first short story I ever wrote was in the 6th grade. It was about a fictitious solar system of salad toppings. No joke. I remember pacing around the house, dictating ideas, plot and dialogue into my mom’s hand-held tape recorder and, eventually, piecing it all together into a short story that earned me an A. Looking back, it was one of my proudest moments as a young student—and as a young writer. With that memory poking at my brain today, I decided to round up several excellent articles on writing short stories. Read more

How to Broaden Your Short Story’s Scope

Most short stories illumine a single dark corner, narrowly circumscribed. They follow the time-revered rule: Limit your short story to a specific time, place, event, interaction or character’s evolution. But the short … Read more

Flat Fees vs. Hourly Rates

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My daughters like to play bookstore at our house. They hide behind one of our beds, pull up a giant pile of books and ask me to buy them—and I’m happy to oblige because 1) I love books and 2) it costs me pretend money. And I’m willing to buy nearly anything with pretend money. When you’re discussing rates for freelance projects, it can often feel like pretend money. Read more

How to Land Writing Gigs When Meeting Editors

Last fall, author and journalist John Moir redeemed part of his grand prize from WD’s 78th Annual Writing Competition when he traveled to New York City, where his escort from the WD … Read more

It’s Time for #StoryFriday

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Two years ago on a hot Friday morning I was feeling burnout and was desperately looking for a fun boost. Scrabble just wasn’t going to cut it, I was tired of losing The New Yorker Caption contest, and HR apparently frowns upon booze in the office (I know, I know, silly office rules). I glanced at the rest of the WD staff and they seemed to be in a funk too. Or they turned into zombies. Either way, I figured it was bad. So I suggested a story-building exercise we could all participate in. Read more

Picture Book Craft Intensive w/ Critique Today @1 EDT

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If you’re writing a picture book (or have ever considered it) you’ll want to check out today’s webinar from super agent Mary Kole. My daughters love pictures, so even I’m planning to listen in on this one—Mary Kole is one of the best instructors. All registrants who sign up get a critique of your full picture-book manuscript. Get more details and a few free articles on picture-book writing on this blog today. Read more

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