Editors Blog

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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Tackling Tough Topics in YA

When I started working on my young adult novel My Life After Now, which is about a teenage girl who learns she is HIV-positive, the only thing I was thinking about was telling a good story. Okay, I knew I specifically wanted to tackle the subject of HIV/AIDS because not only has teen literature largely...

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5 Networking Tips for Writers

1. Don’t go to Networking Events. Any time I attended a networking event – you know, pay $15 and get one crappy drink – I never made a useful connection. And that’s probably because these events were open to anyone. The lack of focus meant I probably wasn’t going to meet anyone who needed...

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How to Write a Page Turner: 5 Steps For Writers

1. Create a question in the reader’s mind right at the beginning. This might seem like a cheap trick, but even a literary writer like Marquez uses it at the beginning of a novel: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his...

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How to Give People Nightmares: 6 Tips For Young Adult Horror

1. Stay scared. If you want to really scare people with your writing, you need to keep your fear close. You need to experience that fear. Often. Memory is a poor substitute for the real thing—that cold sweat heart-thumping spine-shaking hair-raising feeling of total, mind-numbing terror. That abandoned house you walk by on the...

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5 Reasons Novelists Should Write & Publish Short Stories

1. Because it’s fun. If you don’t enjoy writing short stories, then never mind: you probably shouldn’t be doing it. But if you’re avoiding writing them because you believe that you have to write a novel in order to have a career as a writer, I beg you to reconsider. GIVEAWAY: Suzanne is excited to...

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Should You Simply “Write What You Know”?

I am now going to give you the super-secret key to being a good writer. You will probably read it and say, “Phoo, Chapman, I’ve known that for years.” That may be, but if you are honest with yourself, you struggle with it, as I do, every time you sit down to write. Good...

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6 Reasons Why You Need To Have More “Babies”

Not human babies, silly. More “word babies” -- a.k.a. books. I cannot believe how many people write only one book and lay all their hopes and dreams on it. I never went that far, but I was guilty of putting my one book on through the submission process and endlessly obsessing over it for...

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6 Simple Keys To Revising Your Fiction

1. Once you have finished a good first draft don’t look at it for a while. Go back to it after having some space and you will see it afresh. This is even more important for novels. When you have spent such a long time on a piece of prose you really need to...

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How to Plan a Great Book Reading: 5 Tips

1. Be professional. I’ve gone to readings where the writer is late. I’ve gone to readings where the writer insults the audience’s intelligence. I’ve gone to readings where the writer pulls papers out of his jacket, smoothes them on the stand, and then starts reading aloud with his head down for thirty five minutes...

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7 Ways a Writing Career is Like a Theme Park

1. You will spend most of your time in line. Go to any amusement park across this great nation. You will see loads of people willingly lined up in very long queues to board rides which only last around five minutes. Writing is kind of like that. The period leading up to my debut’s...

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The Elements of a Successful Book Trailer

Before I decided to purse a career in writing, most of my ideas of the profession came from television and movies. Once I’d penned my masterpiece, I expected entire PR departments at big publishing houses to handle all facets of advertising. In my world, the writer wrote, then awkwardly cute girls in glasses took...

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How to Deal With Writing Rejections

The rejection that writers must face during the submission process to agents is brutal. Even though you know it will happen to you – as it does to all writers – it feels personal and daunting. It’s hard not to take it to heart when 20 or 30 literary agents say “no,” - with...

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5 Keys on Writing a Great Thriller

2. Suspects are the main characters. Not everyone will agree with this idea, but for me it’s quite important. Usually crime novels have a hero-- a main character in charge of the investigation (like a policeman, a journalist, a lawyer or an anonymous person interested in solving the mystery). That hero will probably have...

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What Selling Lemonade Can Teach Us About Writing

My friend’s example spurred me to reconsider my responses when fellow writers asked for my critiques. Recently reading a colleague’s memoir, at the opening pages I reacted like Jon initially—instant dismay. How could my friend write this crap? Then I recalled Jon’s next response: he recognized his daughter’s honest desire and took it seriously. With...

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Stories From an Agency Intern: Michael Mohr Explains

When literary agent Elizabeth Kracht (Kimberley Cameron & Associates) asked me to be her assistant, I jumped at the opportunity. Since then, I have been exclusively perusing E’s slush pile; helping with client manuscripts; aiding with editorial pitch letters; and answering a general melee of unique and sometimes challenging questions. Learning about The Industry from...

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Revise Like You Mean It

There is a fairly common misconception about what >b>revision means. That is, if you are a talented writer, you will write an inspired first draft, which you can perfect by making sentences better, fleshing out characters, checking facts, catching continuity problems, and the like. But real revision – in fiction at least – is...

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Author Interview: Steve Duno, Author of LAST DOG ON THE HILL

This dog author interview is with veteran pet behaviorist and author Steve Duno, who has to date authored 19 books and scores of magazine and web articles. He has covered a wide variety of subject matter on both dogs and cats, including basic training, aggression, environmental enrichment, behavior modification, breed profiling, trick training,...