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Author Archives: Guest Column

How to Harness Creativity to Empower Your Writing

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Learn how to tap into raw emotions and real experiences to bring strength and creativity to everything you write. Read more

The Key Differences Between Middle Grade vs Young Adult

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Miss your mark with your target audience and you won’t be graduating to the pros. Here’s how to ace the key differences between MG and YA. Read more

Online Exclusive: The Facts of Fiction

In “The Facts of Fiction” compilation article in the September 2014 Writer’s Digest, physician, novelist and award-winning short story writer Jacob M. Appel schools writers on getting their facts straight when writing fictional doctors and patients. Here, in this special online exclusive sidebar we didn’t have space to print, he shares a quick cheat sheet to hospital wings and wards. Read more

How to Sell Your Picture Book

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Break into this competitive and growing market with the help of writing tips and inside observations from a leading literary agent. Read more

Advice for Writers: 3 Keys to Connecting With Young Readers Online

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Here are three guiding stars to navigate the ever-changing Web. Read more

4 Things You Should Know About Writing a Cozy Mystery Novel

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BY ZAC BISSONNETTE Tales spun with lots of suspense—but no sex or violence—are finding a wide audience of armchair detectives. If you’re considering venturing into cozy-mystery writing, here are four things you should know Read more

7 Steps to Creating a Flexible Outline for Any Story

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Mention the word outline in a room full of writers, and you’re sure to ignite a firestorm of passionate debate. Writers either love outlines, or they hate them. We either find them liberating, or we can’t stand how confining they are. Let’s take a look at how to get the most out of the outlining process, beginning with the shaping of your premise and working all the way through to a complete list of scenes. Read more

What Writers Need to Know about the E-book Market

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When it comes to a changing marketplace, knowledge is power. Here’s a look at how digital books are changing publishing as we know it—and what that means for you, your writing career, and the future of your work. Read more

The Secret To Writing Stronger Feature Articles

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BY SCOTT ATKINSON Find the narrative tension hidden in your story, and you can turn a run-of-the-mill assignment into the kind of feature piece that leaves editors—and readers—clamoring for more. Here’s how to do it. Read more

The Keys to Good Science Fiction & Fantasy Storytelling

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Writing strong exposition in speculative fiction (or SF, the umbrella term for fantastical fiction genres such as science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and horror) is a balancing act. It’s like watering a plant. Too little water and it dries up and dies; too much water and it rots and drowns. Here’s how to get it just right. Read more

9 Ways to Crack Into Major Markets With Personal Essays

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Follow these 9 simple steps for writing what you already know, and you could get your big break—and a paycheck to match—faster than you might think. Read more

How to Be a Writer Literary Agents Want

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All agents, admittedly or not, have a wish list—markers that help us determine which writers are primed for our representation. With hundreds of projects flooding our inboxes daily, writers who follow these simple guidelines can catch the eye of an agent and rise like a lotus blossom out of the slush pile. Here’s how to do it. Read more

The 12 Steps of Queryers Anonymous

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BY AYA DE LEON Querying have you down? Know that you’re not alone. Follow these steps to help you get through the emotionally exciting (yet tough) process of querying agents. Read more

5 Tips for Hitting Bestsellers Lists

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BY GRETCHEN CRARY As a book publicist, one of the very first questions I’m usually asked is, “Can you help make my book into a bestseller?” While there is no tried and true way, what I can tell you about are some of the secret tips that the big publishers use to give their books the best chance to hit those sought after lists. Read more

Should You Write for Yourself or for the Reader?

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BY KIP LANGELLO Here’s why you should be crafting your book with one specific reader in mind—and that reader isn’t who you think it is. Read more

Funny You Should Ask – Agents, Rough Drafts and More

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Agent Barbara Poelle tackles reader questions giving thoughtful (and funny) answers. Read more

The 5 Essential Story Ingredients

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Forget three-act structures, formulas for plot, and even beginnings, middles and ends. Write better stories by propelling your protagonist through a transformation your readers will never forget. Read more

Is It My Writing or Is It My Editor?

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BY JIM DEMPSEY An explanation of the corrections an editor can make to a manuscript, and how editors and authors can work together to make a great novel even better. Read more

3 Writing Tips from Brat-Pack Star-Turned-Writer Andrew McCarthy

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BY KERRIE FLANAGAN The former Brat-Pack actor and director followed his passion into a new career: award-winning travel writer. Here, he shares his best tips. Read more

How to Write a Mashup Novel

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BY PAUL CICCHINI Mashups seem to be one of the hip, ‘in vogue’ things these days, although in actuality the idea is not new at all. For the uninitiated, a ‘mashup’ novel is … Read more

Do You Have What Publishers Really Want?

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BY NINA AMIR If you are a writer who dreams of landing a traditional publishing deal, you might have a nagging question in your mind. It’s probably phrased something like, “Is my book idea what a publisher wants?” In fact, a better question to ask yourself is, “Do I have what publishers really want?” What publishers seek in an aspiring author doesn’t only involve your book idea or even your writing. These are a big part of what they consider in their decision making process, but they are not the only things. Read more

8 Strategies to Build Your Freelance Writing Career

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BY ROGER MORRIS Use these 8 strategies to turn occasional assignments into steady paychecks. Read more

9 Steps to an Effective Virtual Book Tour

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BY DANA SITAR You can easily waste a lot of effort producing guest posts for little gain if you don’t have a solid plan. Follow these steps to ensure you get the most out of every guest post appearance. Read more

Copywriting: A Crash Course for Writers Looking to Break In

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BY ATHENA SCHULTZ The market for freelance copywriting is bigger than ever—and so is the potential to break in. Put your writing skills to work on the side, and you might just hit the jackpot. Read more

The Pros and Cons of Writing a Novel in Present Tense

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BY DAVID JAUSS The best writers almost always seem to know, either consciously or intuitively, when to use present tense. Many of us, however, do not. Present tense has become something of a fad, and we often use it even when past tense would serve the story better. Whatever the causes for the prevalence of the present tense in today’s fiction, it is important that we understand its advantages and disadvantages so we can better decide when to employ it. Read more

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