Guest Columns

How to get published — read hundreds of helpful Writer’s Digest guest columns from published writers teaching the craft and business of writing.

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How and Why to Write Like a Pachyderm

To be a writer, we must have a thick skin, thick as a pachyderm, gray and wrinkly and drooping off of our limbs like armor. Unless you plan to be a secret writer who never tells a single soul about how you stay up late when everyone is asleep to scribble out metaphors before...

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6 Reasons Why Every Writer Should Enter Pitch Wars Next Year

I resisted online writing contests for years, opting instead for ones that were linked to conferences. Finally, after my second time as a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association Literary Contest, four years of querying four different books, a growing blog and magazine platform, but still no agent, I decided to enter author...

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I Didn’t Plan to Write a Book

I didn’t mean to write a book. It happened accidently. I am a visual artist who, as a regular part of my practice, creates sketchbooks. They are mad scrambles of images: drawings, paintings, photographs. Collages of my life interspersed with bits and pieces—menus, notes, subway tickets. Nothing is too small, too unimportant, too trivial....

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Sweet vs. Sexy: What You Need to Know About Writing Both

In the world of romance, “sweet” has a very specific connation. A “sweet romance” is one where the bedroom door remains firmly closed so that the reader cannot see inside. Readers who prefer characters who don’t have sex before marriage choose these books, but so do those who are fine with the sex so...

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5 Things I Learned on Deadline

My debut novel, ALIVE, recently hit shelves and I remember the pressure as my first deadline loomed. A couple years ago I was graduating law school, starting my first “big girl” job and taking work-for-hire gigs. A slew of rejections under my belt had made me slow to dedicate myself to new projects for...

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7 Things To Do After Finishing Your Book

Congratulations! You finished your first book. Work-wise, you’ve accomplished 10 percent. Now for the hard part: doing what’s required to get your book into a reader’s hands. Do you know that an unknown self-published or small-press author only sells an average of up to 250 books? Once your friends and family members have purchased...

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Blow-By-Blow: Writing Action and Fight Scenes

Conflict, as we all know, is the lifeblood of a story. And nothing quite epitomizes raw conflict like a thrilling fight scene. If you’re like me, you crave those climactic moments in prose or on the screen, when, the hero and villain finally find themselves facing each other, circling, ready to duke it out...

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4 Things to Avoid When Finishing Your Novel

**GIVEAWAY! Emily is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks.** Emily Adrian, author of 2015 debut novel LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED, shares 4 things to avoid at all costs so you can finally sit down and finish that novel.

Rachelle 2014

13 Things You May Not Know About Agents

You’ve read lots of articles about literary agents, but here are 13 things you might not have heard yet. 1. We really hate how often we have to say “no” to writers. It’s one of the most excruciating parts of our job! So don’t imagine us gleefully rubbing our hands together and cackling happily...