Author Archives: Brian A. Klems

Love Letter From the Future?

You are 15 years old and, while still living with your parents, you discover a secret room in your house. It is filled with all sorts of strange things, but one thing in particular catches your eye: It's a love letter to your mom from someone who isn't your dad. What's more peculiar is...

They Took Everything—Except One Odd Thing

There's been a break-in at your house. The robbers took everything—your couch, your clothes, your toilet paper—except for one odd item that they left right in the middle of your living room. This item, though meaningless to the police, is a clue that you recognize and will lead you to the culprits.

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Announcing the July Winner of our Write It Your Way Competition

A big congrats to Rebecca Czarnecki of Denver, Colo., whose short story "Between Shores" won our July Write It Your Way competition. (The theme for the July competition was "Summer.") Her story ranked No. 1 out of nearly 350 entries. Enjoy Rebecca's story below and don't miss your chance to enter the upcoming Writer's...

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5 Ways Writers Can Get the Most Out of Goodreads

If you're like me, you have a Goodreads account and occasionally use it to update your list of books that you've read—but haven't used it for much else. Goodreads Community Manager offered up this guest post to me on how authors can use Goodreads to their benefit. I found the information very useful and...

She’s Not Dead

Your high school math teacher disappeared when you were sixteen years old, but now you have reason to believe she’s not dead. A week ago before your high school reunion, you received a mysterious letter that appears to be in code—much like the puzzles she once gave her students. Now, at the reunion, you...

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Winners of the Writer’s Digest Cliches Contest

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Cliches Contest and contributed their cliche examples. We had a record number of comments on this blog (WOW!). The overwhelming support on Twitter really left me humbled that so many of you enjoyed the post. As a special thanks, instead of giving away just one copy of...

Undercover at Bingo

You’re on a top-secret spy mission—for your grandmother. She can’t make it to her Monday Night Bingo (you tell us why), but she’s certain that one of the regulars is cheating, and she sends you to check it out. Conduct a covert operation to catch this cheater in the act.

Career Day

You’ve agreed to give a talk at your child’s school for Career Day. Not only do you hate public speaking, you found out yesterday that you’ve been fired from your job—and you haven’t told your kid yet. Write what happens when you go to the school to present.

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12 Cliches All Writers Should Avoid

Cliches drive me bonkers, especially when it comes to writing. They are boring and abused and about as fun to read as the instruction manual of a Dustbuster. Writing is supposed to be a creative process, and there's nothing creative in rehashing some trite phrase that is so old it was probably used by...

Questions to Ask (& Strengthen) Your Minor Characters

If your supporting characters aren’t working toward an understanding of the main character or situation in some way, you might ask yourself what they’re really doing there, hogging time and space in your book. Here are questions to ask about your minor characters to make sure they have a purpose.

A Mysterious Request

You receive a letter at your workplace from a high school classmate, who is now in prison. “I know I’ve caused you a lot of grief,” the letter says, “but there’s something I need that only you can get for me. Don’t tell anyone about this.”

One More Round

As an online companion to our article in the October 2012 issue, read more tales about writerly drinking legends Oscar Wilde, Dylan Thomas, Edgar Allan Poe, and Dorothy Parker.

Fanning Out

Delve deeper into the expansive universe of fan fiction with our bonus list of more popular websites you can visit to read—and post—fan work.

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Which vs. That

The battle over whether to use which or that is one many people struggle to get right. It's a popular grammar question and most folks want a quick rule of thumb so they can get it right. Here it is.

Terrible Concert

You’ve just been to the worst rock concert of your life. You’re at a bar with friends, drowning your disgust, when the lead singer of the band shows up and offers to buy you a drink. You agree to under one condition—and that deal leads to one memorable night.