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Questions & Quandaries Blog
Online editor Brian A. Klems has been writing for Writer’s Digest since 2003. He covers the most pressing grammatical, ethical, business and writing-related questions—and often does it with a bit of humor.
Q: I’ve written a novel and am now working on the technical aspects. What’s the proper way to number pages of a prologue? If the prologue is five pages long, would that … Read more
With all the WGA strike-related activity, one thing this writing blog hasn’t devoted much time to is actual writing. But this is, of course, a Writers Digest blog, and if there’s one … Read more
Q: Once an agent wants to take me on as a client and sends me a contract, do I need to have the contract looked at by a contract lawyer before I … Read more
Q. When I’m submitting a manuscript to a publisher, should I paper clip or staple the pages? Are the rules the same when submitting to a contest?—D. Fuson A. In general, publishers … Read more
Hey Everyone, The good folks at Novel Journey were nice enough to interview me and share it with their readers. If you get a chance, stop on by:http://www.noveljourney.blogspot.com Brian
Q: When is the best time to query agents? I’ve heard different things, like winter is bad, summer is slow, but it’s OK in the spring. Is this true?—Kristen HoweA: Spring, summer, … Read more
Q. How long is the typical short story supposed to be? How about novellas and novels? Are there guidelines with regard to word count for a first-time novelist? —Molly Heyl A. There … Read more
Q: I live in a small town where there are no agents. Do I have to have an agent in my town or can I get an agent from another town or … Read more
Q: I get confused when trying to decide when to use the pronouns “I” and “me.” Sometimes it’s obvious, but other times I just can’t decide. What’s the rule?—Anonymous A: Pronouns can … Read more
Q: What steps can writers take to ensure timely payment? —Anonymous A: This kind of thing happens all the time: writer does job, submits invoice, waits for check, check never shows up, … Read more
Q: I know that grammatically we shouldn’t use contractions at all unless it’s‑in speech, but I see that many nonfiction bestselling authors use them. What are the current guidelines for their use?—Henry … Read more
Q: Is it proper to send out the same article to multiple publishers at the same time? What happens if several magazines accept the article?—Casey Magan A: Hmm, did you send this … Read more
Q: I read Writer’s Digest and keep tabs when they run market listings and I also own a copy of Writer’s Market, but sometimes I go to the publisher’s or agency’s website … Read more
Q: What’s the most efficient way to track magazine queries? I’ve been doing it by date on a single sheet of paper, but that seems haphazard. —Ellen Ryan A: There isn’t a … Read more
Q: I love sports and have always enjoyed reading my local paper’s sports page. Now that I’m focusing on my writing career, I’d like to join the ranks of those who cover … Read more
Q: I have the first five chapters of a novel written, and I think they’re reasonably good. It would be nice, however, to know if I even have a chance at getting … Read more
Q: I am writing a memoir and need to know if I can use real names in the book. I am going to write about some terrible experiences and some don’t show … Read more
Q: Is there a way to verify the legitimacy of Internet-based sites that offer writing classes? How can I check on their standing in the business community?—Cynthia Cheng A: Ah, the Internet—where … Read more
Q: In a work of fiction, what restrictions exist on using the names of professional sports teams, TV networks or real people (e.g., the Los Angeles Dodgers, FOX Network or Rupert Murdoch)?—Jeff … Read more
Q: I’ve finished my book, landed a contract and have a publication date. Should I hire a public relations specialist to spread the word? –Ozzie G. A: While most of us don’t … Read more
Q: What is the correct way to write the following sentence: “Mark was one of the most generous persons I’ve ever met,” or “Mark was one of the most generous people I’ve … Read more
Q: Every time I start to write a query letter, I seem to write an entire synopsis of a work. How do I know where to stop? — Adora Mitchell BaylesA: This … Read more
Q: I would like to know what an author is to do if a publisher were to offer up a contract to him or her when there is no agent involved?— C. … Read more
Q: So, BK, what about starting a sentence with “but”? Is there a rule for that? Because I do it all the time. But I really don’t want to, if it’s against … Read more
I’ve been planning to start writing a novel that is burning inside me but my day job gets in the way—and it’s not because of time. I get paid to write; I’m … Read more