Author Archives: Cris Freese

Eric Scott Fischl

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Eric Scott Fischl

“7 Things I’ve Learned So Far” (this installment written by Eric Scott Fischl, author of Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show) is a recurring column where writers at any stage of their career can talk about writing advice and instruction as well as how they possibly got their literary agent—by sharing seven things they’ve learned...

You're Welcome Universe, Whitney Gardner

Successful Query: Whitney Gardner & You’re Welcome, Universe

This post is part of a series called Successful Queries. It features actual query letter examples to literary agents that were successful for authors. In addition to the query letter, you’ll also see the thoughts from the writer’s literary agent as to why the letter worked. Today’s features debut novelist Whitney...

New Literary Agent Alert: Quressa Robinson of D4EO Literary

Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Quressa Robinson of D4EO Literary) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list. About Quressa: Quressa Robinson joined the D4EO Literary Agency in 2016 and is actively building her client list. Quressa was...

Extended Q&A with WD’s Self-Published Book Awards Winner

Horizon, by Tabitha Lord, is the grand-prize winning book in the 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. It bested more than 2,300 entries from 55 countries across nine categories to take home a prize package that includes $8,000 and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference in New York...

Josh Barkan

Breaking In: Josh Barkan

Josh Barkan is the author of Mexico (January 24, 2017; Hogarth/Crown Books), a collection of short stories that capture the beauty, strangeness, and brutality of life in modern Mexico. He’s also published two other books: a novel, Blind Speed, and a collection of stories, Before Hiroshima. His writing has appeared in...

Paul Lucas, agent

Meet the Agent: Paul Lucas, Janklow & Nesbit Associates

Paul Lucas came to Janklow & Nesbit in 2007 not as an agent, but as a paralegal who’d been working in the corporate division of a large law firm. A longtime book lover, he soon gave up legal texts for queried manuscripts, officially donning the agent hat at Janklow in 2011....

Literary Scouts: How to Get Your Book Directly to a Publisher

Note: The following is a guest post from Stephanie Stokes Oliver, an author, editor, and scout for Simon & Schuster’s Atria Books. For more information on Stephanie’s scouting guidelines, see below. You can find her online at stephaniestokesoliver.com. Cheers! You’ve finished your manuscript, and are preparing to begin your search for...

Helen Adams, Zimmermann, Agent, Literary Agency

Meet the Agent: Helen Adams, Zimmermann Literary

Helen Adams (formerly Zimmermann) got her start in publishing more than 20 years ago: first at Random House—where she became Director of Advertising and Promotion—then as Author Events Director for an independent bookseller, where aspiring writers would often ask her how to get published. “I would always say, ‘You need to...

paula munier, beginnings, how to write beginnings

Brainstorming for Story Ideas

The best beginnings are based on strong story ideas that immediately set the book apart from all others of its ilk. If you have a bad feeling that your story idea is not compelling or unique enough to hook agents or editors, much less readers, then this post is just for...

Write Short Fiction

The Strategic Use of Short Fiction

The new world of self-publishing options calls to mind the golden age of the pulp magazines. During that era, roughly 1920–1950, writers could earn decent money pounding out stories and novellas for a penny a word. Later, the 1950s boom in mass-market paperbacks provided another source of lettuce for the enterprising...

85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition Winners

Writer’s Digest would like to congratulate the 101 winners of the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition! For full coverage of the awards, please check out the November/December 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest. Grand Prize Sabrina Hicks, “Blink” (Children’s/Young Adult Fiction). Read Hicks’ winning entry here. An extended Q&A with our...

Using Internal Dialogue to Achieve Multiple Effects

Internal dialogue is the inner voice of character. Which is, frankly, a very metaphysical subject. In most modern cultures—and, consequently, most modern literature—there’s a dichotomy within the self: there’s an I and a Me. I like my eyebrows. I have to be strict with myself when it comes to pecan pie....

emotion, fiction, stakes

How to Create Moral Stakes in Your Fiction

We experience life as feelings. Yet, so much fiction is written to minimize feelings or leave them out altogether. It’s as if emotions are not a fit subject or writing about them is too simplistic. Even fiction that celebrates feelings, romance for instance, can sometimes work with only a limited and...

5 Things Breaking Bad Can Teach Us About Writing

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other week,...

How to Review Your Plot: Using Your Notes and Outline at Revision

You’re nearing the finish line and feel like you need a final push forward to reach completion. You’ve slogged your way through the long, seemingly interminable middle, and your energy has flagged. Writers often experience self-doubt in this stage (worrying that it won’t come together well), and some have issues with...

Fiction Writing

How to Write Suspense Like Stephen King

Aside from the fact that no less an authority than William Faulkner recommends reading widely in different styles and genres, there’s still another compelling reason why you might want to study Stephen King’s novels no matter what kind of writing you do. King is the number one horror writer in America,...

television, writing

6 Things American Horror Story Can Teach Us About Writing

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other week,...

paula munier, beginnings, how to write beginnings

Strong Beginnings: A Trick to Editing Your Novel

The best beginnings possess a magical quality that grabs readers from the first word and never lets them go. But beginnings aren’t just the door into a fiction world. They are the gateway to the realm of publishing—one that could shut as quickly as it opens. Nail a beginning and you...

television, writing

6 Things Friends Can Teach Us About Writing (Part 2)

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other week,...

How to Use Objects to Strengthen Your Characters

One of the most common techniques fiction writers fail to implement is the use of objects. Chances are, your character isn’t just standing there, spouting off dialogue. The character is doing something with his hands. She’s exchanging a business card. He’s fiddling with a pencil. Objects provide concreteness to scenes and...

Online Exclusive: Q&A with Sabrina Hicks

“Blink,” by Sabrina Hicks, is the Grand Prize winning story for the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, besting over 6,000 entries across 10 categories. For complete coverage of the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, please check out the November/December 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest. You can read “Blink” here....

Online Exclusive: Sabrina Hicks’ “Blink”

“Blink,” a young adult/children’s short story by Sabrina Hicks, is the Grand Prize winner of the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. You can read an extended interview with Sabrina here. For complete coverage of the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, please check out the November/December 2016 issue of Writer’s...

Understanding character development using the tv show Friends.

6 Things Friends Can Teach Us About Writing (Part 1)

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other week,...