Top 20 Lessons From WD: 2009

Tip on Writing for Money, Plus a Thanksgiving Prompt

Here’s the hot tip: No. 5 from the Top 20 Tips From WD in 2009 series: “I remind myself that my income is contingent on the pages I produce, and ifI don’t write pages I don’t get paid—and pretty soon in my mind I can seemyself living in an abandoned truck. When the only...

Stephen King on Creating Believable Bad Guys

They’re not hard to spot: One-dimensional. Predictable. Occasionally drawing up half-hearted ruses and doomsday scenarios, perhaps with a cigar and some maniacal laughter. Bad bad guys. So what’s a key to breaking out of the stale villain mold, no matter what you write? Stephen King offers his thoughts in today’s installment from the Top...

Mitch Albom: The Keys to a Memoir (Plus Prompt)

Whenever my nonfiction gets personal and I write a column or essay featuring myself as a character, I tend to really cut loose—and often end up with 3,000 words for a 750-word piece. I’m powerless: As soon as “I” comes into play, my internal journalist and editor takes a coffee break and returns, aghast,...

Burning Question: Pitch or Write On Spec? (Plus Prompt)

In the world of journalism and freelance nonfiction writing, there are those (everyone from Hunter S. Thompson to some of my colleagues and writer friends) who say to never, ever, not even if you were the last writer on Earth and the editor of The New York Times (having also survived the zombie apocalypse)...

What Every Blogger Should Know (Plus Prompt)

Blogging. Some professional writers loathe it, regarding it as a cheapening of their art. Others adore it, and do it for the sheer love of the instant form. Some accept it as a necessary evil in a platform development often key to securing a book deal. Others do it for the joy of broadcasting...

Tip and Prompt: How to Self-Publish the Right Way

After taking in forums and coliseums, oodles of trains and 13 different (incredible, highly sedative) servings of gelato in Italy, I’m back in Prompt action. A special thanks to Jessica for posting in the last week, and for all of your comments and stories. While on vacation, I found myself in a random discussion...

What to Remember at Every Writing Conference

Writing conferences: They make us feel good because we’re taking proactive, positive steps toward our writerly goals, rather than sitting in front of the TV with a laptop and The Simpsons. Thing is, once we get to the conference, we’re constantly analyzing: Do we stack up to this writer or that budding poet? Do...

Marketing Vs. Story: Which is King? (Plus, Craft the Ultimate Cliche)

Marketing, marketing, marketing. You hear it from writing books. You hear it from us. You hear it from conferences, published writers at readings and even unpublished writers hanging out on street corners. Sure, it’s important—if not crucial at times—but what should really take precedence when it gets down to the marrow of things? It’s...

Top 20 Lessons from WD: On Rejection

Hi writers, Thanks to everyone who stopped by Monday to read or chat with bestseller Dianna Love. And, of course, I’d also like to extend a Promptly Thank You to Dianna for sharing her prompts and insights. As promised, we’ll be giving away copies of Dianna’s Break Into Fiction to two random commenters. Jacqui...

Top 20 Lessons From WD Mag in 2009: Steve Berry

Hey writers, Wasted and lost writing time: We all worry (if not obsess) over it. As it turns out, we’re not alone. It’s time for the next installment in our Top 20 Lessons From WD Magazine in 2009 series. No. 19: Heed the Voice“I didn’t write my first word until I was 35 years...

The Top 20 Lessons From WD Mag in 2009: No. 20

Hey writers, The 90th anniversary issue of WD is fast approaching (it’s our January 2010 installment, which ships to subscribers Nov. 24 and hits newsstands Dec. 15), and Editor Jessica Strawser and I are rapidly working to get everything out on time. Which means another year of magazines is about to start. Being the...