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Author Archives: Brian A. Klems

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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Why We’re Thankful to Be Writers

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Around Thanksgiving I’m always reminded of how thankful I am for my wife, my kids, my family and my friends. One thing that I often overlook is how thankful I am that I am a writer. It’s a challenging profession, one that causes a lot of rejection, heartbreak and unintentionally condescending looks from others (“So you’re a writer? That’s nice, but what’s your real job?”). But the payoff is this: Read more

Neighbor Steals Your Christmas Decorations

Your neighbor started hanging her Christmas decorations. You smile, wave and say, “Looks good,” as you pull into your garage. Suddenly, you take pause and notice that her decorations look very familiar and, are in fact, yours. To confirm you dash to the basement and see that all of you Christmas decorations are missing. You decide to steal back your good in the middle of the night but it doesn’t go as planned. Write this scene. Read more

Take the 2nd Annual Writer’s Digest Author Survey and Enter to Win a Free Kindle Fire!

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We want to let you know about the new Writer’s Digest survey and encourage you to participate. Whether you’re an aspiring author, or one who’s already been published, the information you can provide is of great importance to the publishing industry, enabling you to tell publishers, editors, agents, and self-publishing service providers what really matters, why you write, and what you want. Read more below or just click here to participate. Read more

Thanksgiving Intervention

You’ve been invited to attend a Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house, but when you walk in you notice there’s no turkey and, instead, a giant “Intervention” sign hanging across the mantle. Your friend, who is surrounded by many of your other friends and family, sits you down and explains that you have a problem: you spend too much time writing! Write this scene and how you handle it. Read more

The Living Doll

While shopping downtown one day, you find an antiques store that has a rare, old doll. You buy it for your daughter. A few days later she tells you her new toy can talk. You don’t believe her, until one afternoon you find yourself alone in the house, and it starts talking to you. Write this scene. Read more

Your New Home

Your spouse wants to move out of your new apartment, saying that there is a large space you both can move into. When you go to visit the new digs, you find it’s an abandoned warehouse at an old train yard. Clearly you can’t live there. Only your spouse just spent your life savings to buy it. What do you say? Read more

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