Author Archives: Brian A. Klems

From Worst Day to Best Day

You are having the worst day of your life when someone calls and changes it for the better. Who calls, what's it about and what series of events follow that call to help brighten your day?

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Pseudonym Winner!

Thanks to so many people for sharing their clever and fun (and often funny) pseudonyms with me. As promised, I randomly selected a commenter to receive a 1-year free subscription to Writer's Digest magazine. And the winner is ...

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In Your Words: Remembering 9/11

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the tragic attack on the World Trade Center Towers. Like most people, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing that day. I was just three weeks into my first post-college job as an associate editor for Plumbing & Mechanical magazine, whose office sat a...

3 Tips for Consistent Tone

If you find yourself having a difficult time sustaining one tone over a long work, try these three tricks. Find a paragraph that sounds exactly the way you want to sound for this work, and tape it to your computer so that it’s always in front of you. Each time you’re about to return...

Anonymous Love

You've been playing Scrabble with an anonymous person online. After some Internet chatting, you realize that the two of you live in the same town and decide to meet at a local pub. What you didn't expect was to fall in love.

Reject a Hit: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Let's step once again into the role of the unconvinced, perhaps even curmudgeonly or fool-hearted editor: What harsh rejection letters might the authors of some of our favorite hit books have had to endure? This issue's contribution comes from Kerreanna DiMauro of Waltham, Mass., who had WD editors in stitches over her fictional editor's...

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Should You Quit Your Day Job to Write?

I often get asked from readers if it's feasible for them to quit their day jobs and make writing their full-time career. The answer, of course, is: I have no clue! The reason I don't know is because everyone's situation, desires and goals are different. Some folks have a mindset for writing 70 hours...

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Replace Book Titles With Bacon

A close friend (and poet) named JanuaryFairy dropped me a note on Twitter this morning: "Come on, @BrianKlems .. this is right up your alley! Trending topic: #replacebooktitleswithbacon." And she's right! I love books. I love bacon. This is totally up my alley. So I jumped in a came up with a few.

Is it E-mail or Email?

Everywhere I turn I see "email" (or is it "e-mail"?) punctuated differently. Can you tell me which is correct? —Kate T. WD online guru Brian A. Klems says that punctuating "e-mail" with or without a hyphen is ...

Treasure Awaits

You receive a letter in the mail from an out-of-town relative asking you to drop everything and meet him in Boston ASAP. He doesn't say why, but signs off on the letter (just above his name) with the phrase: "Treasure awaits."

Literary Journal Submissions 101

To submit your latest short story, essay or poem, you’ll need a cover letter—which is much different from a query. Use these tips from inside a creative writing program to help your letter make the grade.

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.

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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...