Author Archives: Jane Friedman

Reader Identification: Believable & Not Perfect

Today’s guest post is by Jim Adam. It is part of a series on storytelling and The Strengths of the Potter Series. Check out Jim’s book, Motherless. The Potter series does an excellent job of getting readers to identify with Harry and the other key characters in the story. Consider the...

Readability: Get Out of the Way

Today’s guest post is by Jim Adam. It is part of a series on storytelling and The Strengths of the Potter Series. Check out Jim’s book, Motherless. At the level of the sentence and paragraph, the Potter series is eminently readable. It resides in a happy middle ground between florid prose...

Best Tweets: No Bananas Today

Best Tweets for Writers rests this week due to technical difficulties (no kidding), but will return next Sunday. In the meantime, you can check out this curated Twitter list: Best Tweets for Writers You might also like:No Related Posts

Premise Vs. Story: One Big Mistake Writers Make

Today’s guest post is by Jim Adam. It is part of a series on storytelling and The Strengths of the Potter Series. Check out Jim’s book, Motherless. In some cases, novels don’t tell a story, but merely work through a premise. This is an easy mistake to make, especially when the...

Happy 90th to Writer's Digest (Comes With Facelift)

Today, Writer’s Digest & Writer’s Market celebrate 90 years of serving writers with a gathering in our hometown of Cincinnati. We’ve been fortunate to have news outlets in town cover the festivities and acknowledge the specialness of a print publication surviving as long as Writer’s Digest magazine (and Writer’s Market) have....

Form the Perfect Critique Group

My colleague, Kelly Nickell, is the mastermind behind the titles we publish at Writer’s Digest Books (with the exception of the annual market listing guides—more on that here). On a regular basis, she writes a column explaining why we decided to publish a certain book, or what makes it extraordinary or...

Story Structure: Beginnings, Middles, and Ends

Today’s guest post is by Jim Adam. It is part of a series on storytelling and The Strengths of the Potter Series. Check out Jim’s book, Motherless. Structure is the way scenes are organized so as to provide a clear beginning, middle, and end to a story. For the Potter series,...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 1/15/10)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the Comments. Always welcome your suggestions on improving this weekly feature. Best of Best Is your novel way too long? One question that will help you...

Originality: Making Your Work Seem Fresh & New

Today’s guest post is by Jim Adam. It is part of a series on storytelling and The Strengths of the Potter Series. Check out Jim’s book, Motherless. The author of Ecclesiastes had it right: there is nothing new under the sun. For most artists, true originality is unobtainable and a waste...

Telling a Story: One-Sentence Stress Test

Today’s guest post is by Jim Adam. It is part of a series on storytelling and The Strengths of the Potter Series. Check out Jim’s book, Motherless. — In a work of commercial fiction, the one inescapable positive trait is story. This may sound so obvious as to be condescending, and...

The Strengths of the Harry Potter Series

This post introduces a 13-part series on the craft & technique of Harry Potter by the insightful Jim Adam. This series includes: Telling a Story: The One-Sentence Stress Test Originality: Making Your Work Seem Fresh & New Story Structure: Beginnings, Middles, and Ends Premise vs. Story: One Big Mistake Writers Make...

Wanting Is Fundamental to Fiction

As always, the Glimmer Train bulletin has wonderful gems for fiction writers. Here’s one of my favorites from Cary Holladay: Sometimes I start my fiction workshop by asking students to introduce themselves by telling something they’ve never told anybody else. “It doesn’t have to be a big secret. Just a little...

What Does Future Hold for Writers? Predictions for 2010-2020

Predictions are common as a new year begins–especially a new decade. And the publishing industry invites more speculation than ever, given the tremendous transformation underway. Below are the most compelling predictions I found (that I agree with). At the end of this post, you’ll find links to all major publishing prediction...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 1/8/10)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the Comments. Always welcome your suggestions on improving this weekly feature. Best of Best Why the editor doesn’t love your book@LianaBrooks I just posted So You...

Pugilistic Passion for the Artist and the Athlete

Today’s guest post is by storyteller extraordinaire Darrelyn Saloom. Follow her on Twitter, or read more of her guest posts for this blog. The photo above shows boxer Deirdre Gogarty bloodying the face of Stacey Prestage in 1993. Women are not allowed to box is a declaration Deirdre Gogarty heard often...

This Is Never Going to Work

Today (catching up on reading), I read the New York Times story of how Reader’s Digest is trying to re-invent itself—or stay alive. A few highlights from the article: Posters in the corridors of this mostly empty building trumpet something called the FACE plan, an acronym for fast, accountable, candid and...

5 Things That Make Me Stop Reading Websites & Blogs

Just in case you missed it, my first contribution to Writer Unboxed went live last week: 5 Things That Make Me Stop Reading Websites & Blogs It’s generated a lot of excellent discussion (45 comments!), where I’ve contributed some additional tips and answered questions. I think the discussion also made me...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 12/18/09)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the Comments. Always welcome your suggestions on improving this weekly feature. Best of Best 8 Ways of Seeing People that Can Sabotage Your Writing by @dahveed_miller@mystorywriter...

I'm Now a Regular Contributor to Writer Unboxed

I’m very proud to announce that, starting this week, I’ll be a regular contributor to Writer Unboxed. My first post, to appear this Friday, will discuss the 5 things that make me stop reading an online site or blog (based on my experience curating Best Tweets). —— Housekeeping note: I’m taking...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 12/11/09)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the Comments. Always welcome your suggestions on improving this weekly feature. Best of Best What a Bestselling Author Can Teach You About Hooking Your Readers@copyblogger Top...

Every Author Needs Professional Headshots

I don’t consider myself a formal person, and you can tell by the name of this blog—There Are No Rules—that I’m hesitant to put an absolute on anything. That said, I’ve been in the publishing business long enough to know and understand how important a professional photo can be (just like...

A Big Mistake to Avoid in Story Openings

I’ve read countless manuscripts that begin by describing a character writhing in pain. Mental pain, physical pain, emotional pain, you name it. For instance: John clenched his throat and tried to stop the flow of blood, but he couldn’t. His skin became whiter and whiter, and he broke out into a...

When You Share, You Win

Below I’ve posted two letters from writers who attended our September event in New York. You can find information on all Writer’s Digest events here. The lesson I find in it? You never know what’s possible when you share something and give freely. Sometimes, you get a mention on Oprah. Sometimes...

How I Drive Writers to Drink (In a Good Way?)

This is a guest post from Kevin Derr, who shares his experience of a writing workshop I gave last weekend in Evansville, Ind. Find Kevin Derr on Facebook. Big thanks to the Evansville Public Library & the Midwest Writers Guild for their promotion of the event, to make it standing-room only!...