Author Archives: Rachel Scheller

160819-westworld-s1-blast-07-1280

What Is Your Character’s Cornerstone?

If you’re not watching the excellent HBO series Westworld, you should. Not only is the show a study in deft plotting and complex themes, but it’s a delicious, entertaining mystery that continues to surprise me week after week. (The season 1 finale is tonight at 9:00 EST, but it’s worth a binge-fest.) For the unitiated, here’s a...

shutterstock_258503816

Use Mind Mapping to Plan Your Next Writing Project

Seeking a creative boost for your next writing project? Try mind mapping, which harnesses the power of brainstorming and free association to develop an idea or concept. Whether you’re planning a novel, an article, an instructional course, a blog post, or a product or service related to your author brand, the time you spend...

christopherrice

4 Tips from the WD Novel Writing Conference: Day 3 (Plus a Giveaway!)

Attendees spent their final day at the inaugural Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference focusing on both the craft and business of novel writing. Topics ranged from writing an attention-grabbing query letter to revising a manuscript with targeted, proven techniques. The event ended with an inspiring closing keynote from New York Times bestselling writer Christopher Rice. Here are some highlights:...

janesmiley_creditderekshapton

4 Tips from the WD Novel Writing Conference: Day 2

Saturday’s sessions and networking events at the Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference proved helpful, inspiring, energizing and, in the case of the Halloween-themed cocktail party, downright spooky. Here are some of our favorite tips and highlights:  “Your POV determines how close or ‘intimate’ the reader is to your character.” —Jordan Rosenfeld     “The...

garth_stein_creditsusandoupe

5 Tips from the WD Novel Writing Conference: Day 1

The inaugural Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference, which kicked off today, is a chance for attendees to immerse themselves in the craft of novel writing: plot, characters, setting, point of view, and more. In sessions that ranged from hooking readers with a strong beginning to modulating your novel’s pace, today’s speakers shared a multitude of...

9781440346712_5inch_300dpi

Friday Reads: Chart Your Course with Author in Progress

Let me set the scene: You’re sitting at home, perhaps in your office or at your kitchen table, maybe sipping some coffee or tea. You’d like to start writing your novel … but instead you’re staring at the cursor on your laptop screen as it blinks back at you. You’re suddenly possessed of a singular, creeping dread:...

What’s Your Storytelling Superpower?

In our social media-driven world, personality quizzes abound … but have you ever wondered if taking one could reveal something useful about your writing? Enter the Storytelling Superpower quiz, a fun and surprisingly insightful analysis of your strongest writing qualities.       The quiz was developed by Gabriela Pereira, the founder of DIY MFA and...

9781599639079_300dpi

Land a Freelancing Gig with a Letter of Introduction

  “What’s one thing you wish you had included in your freelancing book but didn’t?” a student at The New School in New York City asked me not long ago. “Nothing,” I responded, naturally. “It’s all there.” But then I cut the sass and conceded: There was, in fact, one thing I left out...

9781599639239_5inch_300dpi

Creating a Lasting Writing Practice

Today’s guest post comes from Paula Munier, senior literary agent and content strategist at Talcott Notch Literary Services, and author of Plot Perfect and Writing with Quiet Hands. Today she shares her methods for developing a rewarding and fruitful writing practice.   The word practice gets a bad rep. It reminds us of all...

Free Sample Chapter of Writing New Adult Fiction!

To help spread the spirit of summer and our Friends and Family Sale, we want to offer you a free sample chapter from one of our books! Today’s sample chapter is from Writing New Adult Fiction by Deborah Halverson. Writing New Adult Fiction is a guidebook to writing 18- to 26-year-old characters. Halverson helps writers navigate how to write...

9781599639024_5inch_300dpi

4 Marks of Good Writing

How can you tell if a piece of writing is strong? Whether you’re editing for a publishing company, working as a freelancer, or self-editing, correctly assessing the quality of the work is imperative. In this excerpt from The Editor’s Companion, Steve Dunham discusses four marks of good writing and how you can recognize them in...

Word Painting Revised Edition

11 Secrets to Writing Effective Character Description

The following is an excerpt from Word Painting Revised Edition by Rebecca McClanahan, available now!   The characters in our stories, songs, poems, and essays embody our writing. They are our words made flesh. Sometimes they even speak for us, carrying much of the burden of plot, theme, mood, idea, and emotion. But they...

Your 2015 Blogging Roadmap

Thinking of starting a blog in 2015 to build your writer platform and gain a readership for your work? All the best journeys start with a bit of planning. Even if you’re not one for planning and would rather dive in right away, bear with me! In this exclusive excerpt from Blogging for Writers,...

AuthorPhoto_LizCrain

Wrestling Alligators: On Embracing Curiosity

BY LIZ CRAIN GIVEAWAY: Liz is excited to give away a free copy of the second edition of her just released book, Food Lover’s Guide to Portland, to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in the US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won...

3 Questions to Ask When Writing a Book Proposal

The nonfiction book proposal is a unique creature. It’s an essential package that you must create to attract the attention of publishers and “sell” them on your book, but most writers balk at the thought of spending weeks and even months developing and honing it. But what if you could accelerate the process of creating your nonfiction book...

9781599636511_5inch_300dpi

4 Ways to Write a Killer Plot Twist

When I started reading Gone Girl, I’ll admit I had high expectations. “It’s incredible,” one friend told me after recommending it and praising it profusely. “You just won’t even believe what happens …” She stopped short, looking guilty. “I can’t say any more,” she said, almost at a whisper. “I don’t want to give...

9781599631431_5inch_300dpi

10 Writing Techniques from Bram Stoker’s Dracula

October conjures up images of crackling fires, shivering leaves, the grinning teeth of a jack-o-lantern … and, if you’re a fan of classic horror, that iconic, fanged master of the night, Count Dracula. We feel there’s no better time than October—National Dracula Month—to share some writing tips and techniques that authors can learn from Dracula and apply to...

Writing New Adult Fiction Blog Tour

From Sylvia Day’s Bared to You to Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster, new adult fiction has arrived—and it’s hotter than ever. But there’s more to this category than its 18- to 26-year-old characters: The success of your story depends on authentically depicting the transition of your young protagonists from teenhood into adulthood. With Deborah Halverson’s...

Online Exclusive: Both Sides of the Coin with Bella Andre

Today, Bella Andre is arguably one of the hottest names in romance. The books in her celebrated Sullivans series, filled with emotional, sexy stories of the members of the Sullivan family and their respective love interests, have earned spots on The New York Times, USA Today and Amazon’s Top 100 bestseller lists. And since 2010, she has...

What Makes Writing Groups Work: Online Exclusive

Writing often is a solitary endeavor, one that easily can lead to loneliness. You can spend hours alone at your desk, staring at your computer screen or a blank page, without encountering another human being (and no, tweets and Facebook messages don’t count). While some writers thrive in solitude, others crave the interaction with...

Why I Published 4 Novels in 6 Months

Hi, WD community! Today we’re sharing a guest post from J.E. Fishman, a former editor and literary agent turned author. He has penned Dynamite: A Concise History of the NYPD Bomb Squad and the novels Primacy, Cadaver Blues, and The Dark Pool. His Bomb Squad NYC series of police thrillers launches this month with A Danger to Himself and Others, Death March, and The Long Black...

Tighten the Tension in Your Novel

“Your novel is lacking tension.” “I understand the reason for this scene, but my mind kept wandering while I was reading.” “This chapter is missing a hook … I’m just not interested.” You might have received this or similar feedback from your writing buddy, critique group, or even an agent or editor … but...