Author Archives: Brian A. Klems

The Discovery

When you return to school for a conference, you bump into one of your old professors, who is rambling on excitedly about a new discovery. He asks you to follow him to his office—he has something he wants to show you. What is the new discovery? Why is your professor so excited? Write this...

brian-klems-2013

What Magazine Editors Want (& Don’t Want)

What are editors' pet peeves? What can you do to get more and more assignments tossed your way by editors? Do editors expect you to know SEO? (Do you know what SEO means?) I was honored to be interviewed by Laura Pepper Wu, editor of The Write Life magazine, where we discussed many important...

A Mind of its Own

Your computer won’t shut down when you are getting ready to leave work at five. Instead, it is looping a message, and then attempts to tell you something. What is your computer doing? Write this scene.

brian-klems-2013

5 Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

BY VICTORIA PATTERSON The Peerless Four, based on the historical precedent of the first women allowed to compete in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics in track and field on a trial basis, was a departure from my previous story collection and novel, Drift and This Vacant Paradise, both set at the end of the 20th...

The Confrontation

Daydreaming on your way to work, you get into a car accident. Frustrated because you will be late for an important meeting, you curse and yell as you get out of the car. When you go to confront the other drive, you find out it is your boss. Write this scene.

brian-klems-2013

Winners of our 2014 #AprilFools4Writers Contest

Thanks to everyone who participated in our #AprilFools4Writers content. If you missed it, here are the details. There were tons of hilarious and clever entries this year and I enjoyed reading through all of them. More than 400 people participated, which is amazing! Anyway, without further ado here are the winners (chosen at random,...

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 thought you’d ever own.  Start your story with “I hate to bother you, but I have something important to ask.” And end...

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.

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,...

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...

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 idea who he is or what he’s doing there. Write this scene, as you try to sort out his (and your) confusion....

brian-klems-2013

Interesting New Tool for Self-Published Authors

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,...

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.

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...

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?

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)....

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...