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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The Art of Taking Critique

Technically, I’ve been criticized—I mean “critiqued”—my entire career. Whether it’s getting feedback from an audience at a play reading, notes from a book editor, or a room rewrite of a television script, my job is to translate opinions into positive changes for whatever project I’m working on. It’s a tricky business because our natural...

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6 Hard Truths Every Writer Should Accept

From a person who never dreamed of writing a book to published author, I’ve learned some things along the way. There are a few hard truths I feel every writer should accept. The sooner you accept them, the sooner you’ll stop obsessing about them and the sooner you can do the work to get...

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3 Things You Need to Know to Write Great Flash Fiction

Instant gratification reigns supreme in today’s fast-paced society. I could go into a spiel here about Twitter, DVR, multi-tasking, and Big Macs, but we all live it (and, in most cases, love it) every day. Writing is no different. E-readers are replacing traditional books (some e-books even use short video clips throughout the story),...

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Facing the Edits: 7 Steps to a Happy Revision

You’ve slaved over your manuscript. Your heart and soul and perhaps even a few tears are spilled on the pages (and if you’re a klutz like me, a bit of coffee is on there too). You are ready to send that manuscript out to be read by your trusted readers, whether that’s your writing...

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Writing Requires Perseverance

Beyond the obvious need for a writer to have talent and a fruitful imagination, he must also have perseverance to become a published author. Occasionally, a writer’s first novel is extraordinary, or he writes a masterful proposal, and his book lands on the fast-track to getting published. But most first attempts fail to find...

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6 Wrong Ways to Write About Horses

I saw a promo for the film, THE REVENANT, the other day and glimpsed a scene where a horse and rider sail off a cliff. Yeah, it looks cool, but like many other ways horses are depicted in movies and books, it doesn’t ring true.  (I’ve already seen many people comment negatively on this...

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Up Late With Sociopaths: Surviving Thriller Research

When I was a child, my mother worked as a librarian, and on some of those long summer days that contained neither school nor camp nor babysitters, she took me to work with her, where I was given the instruction to go forth and read. For many children, this would be punishment. For me,...

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How Long Does It Take To Write A Novel?

How long does it take to write a novel? That’s the question I asked myself when I started to outline my second novel, SLEEPING EMBERS OF AN ORDINARY MIND. I hear you say: Surely, you already knew! Column by Anne Charnock, author of novel, SLEEPING EMBERS OF AN ORDINARY MIND (Dec. 2015, 47North). Her...

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Stay True to Yourself and Your Project

This essay first appeared in the Publishing U series on The Booklist Reader. I worked in children’s publishing for a few years, so I had pretty realistic expectations when my agent, Brooks Sherman, and I went on submission with MORE HAPPY THAN NOT, my debut novel about a teenage boy who wants to undergo...

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Confessions of a Chronic Genre Shopper

**GIVEAWAY! Evangeline is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks** Debut author Evangeline Denmark, CURIO (Jan 2016, Blink), shares her forays into several genres before finally arriving at YA Steampunk Fantasy.

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10 Tips on Landing an Agent at a Writers’ Conference

When I was ready to seek representation, I chose not to approach agents in the usual way—by email query—even though most agents prefer that method. I wanted to get a face-to-face impression of my future agent’s personality and communication style, so I decided to attend writers’ conferences. Over six months, I pitched to nine...

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Draft Dodging-About That First Draft

Hemingway said it best: “The first draft of anything is shit.” As writers, we know first drafts are unfit for human consumption. But if we’re honest, that’s how we feel about other writers’ first drafts. We may have doubts about our first draft, but under the doubt is the conviction that our first draft is worth sharing, either because we’ve achieved what...

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3 Reasons Every Writer Should Go To a Writers Conference

Recently I’ve thought about New Year’s resolutions writers can implement to make 2016 their best writing year yet. One of those resolutions was to get connected, and one way to do that is by going to a writers conference.   Column by Tomi Adeyemi, a Los Angeles writer and blogger currently querying her debut...

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7 Tips for Writing About Other Cultures

I don’t make any claim to be an expert in diversity. I am a white American woman, and despite the fact that I’ve lived in Japan for the past six years, I’m still often blinded by my own privilege. But it doesn’t take an expert to notice that protagonists on the pale end of...

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Racing the Clock: The Pros and Cons of Deadlines

I’ve been a journalist for the past twenty-three years. For the first six of those years, I worked for two monthly magazines, where I had fourteen days to write one twelve-page report. Two whole weeks! I almost had more free time than work. Column by Nina George, bestselling author of THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP (June 2015,...

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Reimagining ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

There were many moments throughout the writing of my first novel, Ana of California, when I stared at a blank screen and said to myself, out loud, “Are you sure you want to do this?” I was typing in the shadow of a literary great, Lucy Maud Montgomery, whose Anne of Green Gables is one of the...

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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...