February 2014 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting March 13th
- Creative Writing 101
- Query Letter in 14 Days
- Essentials of Science Fiction & Fantasy
- The Art of Storytelling 102
- Essentials of Mystery Writing
- Grammar & Mechanics
- Advanced Poetry
Workshops Starting March 20th
- Creative Writing 101
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Author Archives: Guest Column
No matter how you want to publish, and whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you should produce a business plan for each and every book you write and publish—before writing a word of your manuscript. Let me offer you eight good reasons why I believe this is an important practice if you want to achieve success as an author. Read more
Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t go overboard with negative personality traits. Read more
Television writer Chad Gervich breaks down the most common complaints made by scriptwriters about Hollywood agents. Read more
So how does one approach the monster once you’ve decided to write a memoir? Following are some lessons memoirist Nancy Spiller learned from writing her own. Read more
If you dare to write about less-than-charming characters, you don’t need to always redeem them with an ending in which they see the error of their ways, mend their faults and allow their flinty hearts to be transformed into a choir loft of goodness. You see, Hollywood movies have greatly influenced audience expectations to such a degree that bad people are expected to become good, endings are expected to be tidy and hopeful, and outcomes are expected to be laced with sunshine. Fiction can, and should, mimic life, with all its messes and discomfort and disquiet. Fiction should also prove just how complicated and troubled many people are. Read more
Take this quiz to determine if your beloved is joyful or jealous of your way with words. Read more
There are some crucial differences between the professional ones and the ones who want to be professional. These are the five that I’ve noticed during my career. Read more
One writer says to survive as a writer you need to allow yourself to accept these 13 things. Read more
If you’re reading this, you’re probably asking yourself “how do I published my children’s book idea?” Well, I have good news for you. It’s simple! Just follow these 28 steps, and your book will soon be available to customers all over the world! Read more
It’s not just an amazing success story, it’s a new precedent for authors everywhere: Thanks to Hugh Howey, you don’t have to choose between the allure of self-publishing and your dreams of big book deals. You can have both. Read more
Stumped by submission guidelines calling for “high-concept” romance, suspense, young adult or other popular fiction? These 7 qualifiers will help you gauge how (and where) your work fits in. Read more
Writers’ colonies are little-known treasures: they exist all over the United States and abroad, but many writers have never heard of them. Here are six ways to find (and apply for) these hidden gems. Read more
If you think low-res writing programs are second-rate, think again. Here’s why they might just be the best way to become a better writer. Read more
As a writer, are you going to write fiction or nonfiction?. The latter spans a wide range of subjects. This category is made up of literary works that can retell events that … Read more
Writing a dynamite first line that captivates readers and encourages them to read on is difficult. Here are several different approaches to writing a killer opening line (and examples from classic novels to accompany each). Read more
Use a demand letter to save the day when you’re long overdue on being paid. Read more
Getting assignments right the first time is key to a successful freelance career. Here are 10 ways to satisfy editors from the start. Read more
Set aside 30 minutes, choose one of the following exercises and, as Tim Gunn from “Project Runway” would say, “Make it work!” Read more
The most important thing that you as a biographer can do is to write from the heart. You can take a number of approaches to writing from the heart. For example … Read more
Find pitch-perfect hooks for articles on virtually any topic by targeting anniversaries. Read more
Here are the keys to writing and pitching a novel that crosses genres. Read more
Powerfully portrayed settings seem to have a life of their own, but how is that effect achieved? Make your setting a character is a common piece of advice given to fiction writers, yet beyond invoking all five senses when describing the scenery, there’s not a lot of info out there about exactly how to do it. Here are 5 keys to doing it. Read more
There’s a new genre targeting readers who are outgrowing YA—but is it here to stay? Here’s what you should know about the New Adult trend.
In his article “The Science of Character Change” in the January 2014 Writer’s Digest, award-winning novelist David Corbett discusses the importance of crafting a character’s decisive moments of insight, culminating in a “change-or-die moment” that alters your hero’s course and propels readers through the heart of your novel. In this online exclusive companion sidebar, he offers up a checklist to help you put his technique to work in your own writing. Read more
A few weeks ago, I had never heard of National Novel Writing Month, although I’ve been somewhat lazily writing a book for a year in my free time (Lesson 1: don’t wait for free time). Then one day when I was busily browsing posts on Facebook, I got a notification; someone had shared a link on my timeline. How lovely! I clicked and saw a poster image of my local library’s NaNoWriMo events for the month. I had no idea what this meant, but was honored that my husband’s aunt had thought of me when she saw this; I know because that was her comment (Lesson 2 learned: once you tell people that you’re writing a book, they’ll hold you to it, for better or for worse.). Read more