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Author Archives: Brian A. Klems

When a Stranger Taps You on the Shoulder

You’re leaving your favorite restaurant after eating breakfast when a stranger taps you on the shoulder. But this tap leads to a conversation—and adventure—that leaves you with one item that you never … Read more

It’s Our 4th Annual “April Fools’ Headlines for Writers” Contest – Join in & Win Prizes!

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Are you ready to have a little fun? It’s April Fools Day, which means it’s time for my annual #AprilFools4Writers contest! Here’s how it works: Create entertaining, clever and witty headlines that would appear in an Onion-style newspaper for writers about anything writing related (grammar, authors, books, etc.) and post it in any of the ways mentioned below. That’s it! That’s all you have to do. To make it extra special, I’ll up the ante: I’m giving away two prizes, The Build an Author Platform Premium Collection and a copy of the 2014 Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition. Here’s how to win one of them. Read more

Double Down on Dave Barry

Bestselling humor writer Dave Barry discusses more about writing, including what career path today’s aspiring humorists should take (if they want to find success) and how he handles writing about his family in our online-exclusive outtakes. Read more

Frozen Solid

The phone rings. It’s your mother and she’s upset. “What’s wrong?” you ask. “It’s your father. A spell has been cast upon him and he’s been frozen solid.” You pause, knowing two things that your mother doesn’t: 1) This is your fault and 2) you’re the only one who can fix it. “Don’t worry, Mom. I’ll take care of it.” Write this scene. Read more

You’re Not Really Human

It’s your 18th birthday and, upon it, you parents deliver some pretty shocking news: You’re not really human. They admit that they’ve been covering up the fact that you are actually a (fill in the blank). After hearing the news you still decide to go to school, but this school day is different than all your school days past, especially when it’s revealed to others what you truly are. Write this scene. Read more

Howdy, Partner

There’s a knock on your door. When you open it, you find a cowboy—complete with the hat, boots, spurs, six-shooter, the accent, everything—standing on your front step. He claims he has no … Read more

How Book Advances Work – A Simple Explanation for Writers

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Here’s the breakdown on what you need to know when signing a book contract that includes an advance, including what it means and how it works. Read more

Interesting New Tool for Self-Published Authors

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I came across this new resource for writers from a company called Vook. It looks like a fascinating tool for self-published authors, allowing authors to track book sales that are reported through most of the major players in the ebook and POD business–Amazon, Amazon KDP, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life, CreateSpace, Smashwords, Google, and Samsung. Here’s more info. Read more

Shut In

The department store elevator shuts down on the way to the fourth floor, with you and ten other people in it. You remain calm, but other people begin to panic. Write this scene and the dialogue between characters. Read more

Where Should You List Your Manuscript’s Word Count?

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There are a couple of places where your manuscript’s word count needs to appear. Here they are. Read more

Your Life: A Mystery Novel

You are a world-renowned mystery writer living a life of seclusion. A random email informs you of a great story, the next bestseller. Unfortunately, you find the details to be a little too close to home. Write a scene where you confront this mysterious informant, who seems to know a little too much about your personal life. Read more

Is a Freelancing Career in Writing Feasible?

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So you’re thinking about a freelance career in writing? Consider this information before diving in and becoming a freelance writer. Read more

Dear John Letter

You return home from work to find a Dear John letter on your kitchen table. Oddly enough, it’s from one of your favorite pieces of furniture. What does the letter say? Read more

CONFERENCE SPOTLIGHT: Mad Anthony Writers Conference, Hamilton Ohio, April 4-6

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Come join me this spring at a great writing event in Southwestern Ohio — The Mad Anthony Writers Conference, happening April 4-6, 2014. I will be a keynote speaker at the event and will be teaching several sessions too. The conference also features multi-genre workshops, pitch appointments, critiques, advice appointments and more. Read on for more details. Read more

A Sword Fight Without Swords

The year is 3014, and you are on an intergalactic out to protect your planet. During your final battle, you cross paths with the leader of the opposing forces. It ends with the two of you in a sword fight, only problem is instead of swords you are both using (fill in the blank). Write this scene. Read more

Alright vs. All Right

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Here’s the difference between alright and all right (hint: one of them technically isn’t a word). Here’s a simple explanation. Read more

Las Vegas Casino Night Gone Wrong

You’ve been playing cards with your friend at a Las Vegas casino for a couple of hours now and he’s up big. Suddenly, a pit boss grabs you and your friend and hauls you both off to a back room, where several rough-looking guys are waiting for you. “What’s going on?” you ask. “Your friend has been counting cards, and we don’t approve of that here.” Write this scene. Read more

Call for Submissions: What Makes Your Writing Group Work?

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Are you a member of a helpful and creative writing group? Do you meet with fellow writers to share your work, receive thoughtful feedback, get a boost of inspiration, and hang out with others who love the craft? We’d love to hear from you! Read more

I’m Supposed to Be Getting Married Today, But …

You call an old flame from high school whom you still have feelings for and ask to meet up. The flame says, “Sure, how about noon at the pub by your house.” While waiting at the pub, your flame walks in—wearing a wedding dress (or tuxedo). The flame looks at you and says, “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but …” What happens? Write this scene. Read more

Snow Day Surprise – Your Brother’s Top Secret Job

The snow is coming down and school has been canceled. Your brother, who has an important government job, has asked you to watch his kids during the day so he can go to work. While watching his kids, they reveal something top secret about your brother’s job—and it’s something, for the sake of your family, that you need to stop. Read more

Tales From the Writing Life: You Can’t Go Home Again (5-Minute Memoir)

5MinMemoir

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

Everything You Know is a Lie

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

A 12-Day Plan of Simple Writing Exercises

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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

I Regret Sleeping on That Couch

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

What In The World Did I Agree To?

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

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