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Author Archives: Brian A. Klems

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)

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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

62 of the Top Writing Articles from 2013 (That Can Help You in 2014)

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Over the past year I posted articles on this blog that covered everything—from grammar to writing better characters to getting published and more. Here’s a cheat sheet linking to what I consider the 62 best articles that can help you reach your writing goals. Read more

Your 2014 Writing Resolutions

What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2014? Post them here and then at the end of the year, I’ll feature this in the newsletter and ask you to check in to see which ones you’ve accomplished and reflect on your writing year. Read more

Into vs. In To

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Using “into” and “in to” interchangeably is a very common grammar faux pas—heck, my sister commits this grandiose error in e-mails at least twice a day and, despite my attempts to sick the grammar police on her, she continues to write recklessly. But if you understand their individual definitions, it’s easy to pick the right word to convey your true meaning and avoid the grammar police altogether. Read more

Christmas Poem Parody

Write a Christmas poem parody of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, only write it about an unexpected guest who isn’t Santa. Read more

QUICK TIP: Save Your Story From Coming to a Bad End

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Too many stories end badly. And yet they somehow get published and even succeed to some degree. That’s because the rest of the story—the structure of it and the compelling essence of the character—triumphs to an extent that the ending doesn’t make or break the story at all. It just is. Your goal is … Read more

An Interview with Charles Finch, Author of the Charles Lenox Mysteries

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I recently had the opportunity to talk to popular mystery author Charles Finch, author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, during my Writer’s Digest Presents: An Author Hangout series. He was a wonderful guest, answering questions about the writing process, the keys to writing a series, what writers looking to get published need to focus on and more. Read more

12 Days of Christmas Gone Wrong

An anonymous friend has been leaving you gifts at work to celebrate each of the 12 days of Christmas. All was fine and good for the first 11 gifts, which were thoughtful. But the 12th gift isn’t actually a gift at all—it’s a photograph of someone you love doing something they shouldn’t be doing and an extortion note demanding $10,000 in cash or that photo goes live on the Internet. What do you do? Write this scene. Read more

A Non-Human Point of View

Write an end-of-days story from a non-human point of view (animal, tree, insect, cloud, etc.) Read more

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