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Author Archives: Brian A. Klems

Winner of the 13th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition

Here is the winning story of WD’s 13th Annual Short Short Story Competition: Excavation, by Marie Bacigalupo of New York. Read more

You’re Only Crazy if You Say You’re Not

One morning you awake to find yourself in a straight jacket, being taken off to an asylum. How do you prove your sanity? What do the guards and psychiatrists say you did? Read more

10 Questions with Humor Writer Dan Zevin, Author of Dan Gets a Minivan

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As part of my 10 Questions Series, humorist Dan Zevin took a minute to talk with me and answer 10 fascinating questions about humor writing—covering the writing process, finding an agent, important advice for aspiring humor writers and more—that anyone who has ever considered writing humor should check out. Read more

The Hidden Room

While preparing your garden at the beginning of spring, you find the blueprints for your house buried in the earth. When you pull it out and examine it, you find that there is a room in the blueprint that doesn’t exist in your house. Both disturbed and intrigued, you set off to find the missing room. Write what happens next. Read more

Memoir vs. Autobiography

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What’s the difference between autobiography vs. memoir? Here’s the answer. Read more

RIP Andrew J. Offutt

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Andrew J. Offutt’s family. Offutt, who once served as a consultant to the WD Criticism Services, reportedly died on April 30. You can read Offutt’s full obit here. Read more

Inside the Old Box

You are at the neighborhood garage sale, looking for nothing in particular. Something inside an old, wooden box catches your eye. The old woman who is running the sale comes over to say something about the object. What is it? What did she say and why? Read more

The Man in the Park

You get back to your studio to develop pictures from the hour you just spent in the park. All of the pictures turn out well, except for a select few. In six photographs, there is a man in the frame. Something seems slightly off, and rather strange about each picture. Who is he and what is weird about the photographs? Read more

LAST DAY TO ENTER: WD’s 21st Annual Self-Published Book Awards

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Whether you’re a professional writer, a part-time freelancer or a self-starting student, here’s your chance to enter the premier self-published competition exclusively for self-published books. Writer’s Digest hosts the 21st annual self-published competition — the Annual Self-Published Book Awards. This self-published competition spotlights today’s self-published works and honors self-published authors. Read more

9 Questions with Thriller Writer Doug Richardson (Die Hard 2, Blood Money)

Doug Richardson may be best known for his scriptwriting and producing chops on Die Hard 2, Bad Boys and Hostage, but he’s a successful thriller writer as well. His new novel, Blood … Read more

Stormwriting: What It Is and Why You Should Try It

Now you’re to the point where you’re ready to start crafting your book. You’ve done a bit of brainstorming, and perhaps you’ve done some writing. But there’s something about brainstorming that’s only … Read more

Free Book: Tyrus Book Giveaway

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Our good friend Ben LeRoy, publisher of Tyrus books, is offering a free e-book copy of the second novel in the Moe Prager series, Redemption Street. Find out how you can get your free copy here. Read more

The Mysterious Men

On your way into work this morning, you look at the car on your left. Inside are two men dressed in dark suits, wearing sunglasses. They simultaneously look at you and meet your gaze. The one in the passenger seat rolls down his window and says something. Write what he says, and what happens next. Read more

Have You Written Something Great? It’s Time For Some Recognition

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When your writing wins an award, it gives it more credibility. It’s a badge that says to others, “My writing is good and I have proof.” One competition worth checking out is the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. This one, whose early-bird deadline is fast approaching on May 1, is special for a few reasons … Read more

Only on Sundays

Finish these sentences: “Ever day of the week I _________, but Sundays are different. On Sundays, I ¬¬________.” Read more

The Winners of the Self-Pub Competition

Grand Prize Looking Up: A Memoir of Sisters, Survivors and Skokie By Linda Pressman ($15). CreateSpace. Email: lookingupamemoir@hotmail.com. Web: barmitzvahzilla.blogspot.com.   Children’s Picture Books First Place: Wisdom the Midway Albatross By Darcy … Read more

The Missing Shoe

Walking home, you find a shoe on the side of the road. What kind of shoe is it? Who is its owner? What happened? Why is the shoe there? Where is the other shoe now? You can use all of these questions or just one to explore what happened. Read more

7 Creative Writing Prompts To Spark Your Writing

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Man I hate writer’s block. We all get stuck in a writing rut from time to time. Sometimes it gets so bad for me that I can’t even come up with a clever status update for Facebook—for Facebook! If my creative muscle is having difficulty piecing together a one-sentence quip, how in the world can I flex it long enough to turn out a short story or a novel or even a new blog post? The remedy I’ve found that works best for me is trying a writing prompt … and here are 7 worth trying. Read more

Winners of our April Fool’s “Write Your Best Fake Headline” Contest

First off, thanks to everyone who participated in our April’s Fools “Write Your Best Fake Headline” contest. (If you missed it, you can get the details here.) Second I had a blast reading through all entries. For a moment I was really excited, as I read one entry that said “Brian is Super Awesome!” and I thought, that’s pretty cool of someone to send! Then I realized that I was the one who sent it when testing the system. (Oops!) Anyway, without further ado, the winner is .. Read more

The 411 on Contest Guidelines and Formatting for Writers

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When submitting a story via email for a contest, how should it be formatted? Here’s the inside scoop on what rules to follow. Read more

Dear Writers: What Have Been Your Career-Changing Moves?

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Want to be featured in an upcoming issue of Writer’s Digest? Here’s your chance. We’re busy putting together an issue about how to “Take Control of Your Career,” and we want to hear from you about how you’ve successfully done just that. So The Q for you is … Read more

If Art Could Talk

After a long night out, you return to your house to find that every picture and painting in your house can speak to you. What do the characters in the artwork and photographs say? Write a conversation between you and one of them, or a conversation between two of them. Read more

Editors’ Newest Concern: Penmanship

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Recently at the Writing 3.0 Conference, a panel of editors surprised attendees when they said that while plot and character development are important, the key to getting their attention—and a book contract—is excellent penmanship. “Perfect handwriting is what sets the best writers apart from the rookies,” says popular novel editor … Read more

Camping Trip Gone Wrong

You and your three closest friends decide to go camping. You arrive and set up camp nearly three miles away from where you left your car. Late that evening, as you sit around the campfire roasting marshmallows, one of your friends reveals a deep dark secret that turns what was to be a fun weekend into one of the scariest weekends of your life. Read more

How to Develop Any Idea Into a Great Story

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Even stories that start with brilliant strokes of inspiration too often fizzle out before we reach The End. Use this four-step method to develop your best ideas to their fullest. Read more

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