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.


Dealing with Late (or Missing) Payments

Q: If a writer has jumped through all the hoops (finished the assignment, submitted a proper invoice, etc.) and is not being paid, what steps should he take before resorting to having a lawyer write a letter or taking their case to small claims court, etc. —Anonymous A: Always contact the...

Get Ready for Staffing Season (with a great discount)

Hey, TV writers– With staffing season ramping up in a matter of weeks (upfronts have already been announced for May 12-15, which means staffing will begin immediately afterwards), now is the time to whip your TV spec into shape.  So I’m teaching another 10-week spec-writing workshop with mediabistro.com, beginning Wednesday, February...

READER QUESTION: Is "Boston Legal" Spec-able?

So… I got an interesting question yesterday in regards to my post about about this season’s spec-able shows.  Loyal reader Fig writes in: “Why is it that I’ve never heard of anyone writing a “Boston Legal” spec? (Or is it just me?)“ It’s funny, Fig–  when I read your question, my...

This Year's Spec-able TV Shows

Well, screenwriters– here we are… the final day of the WGA writers strike.  As I write this, writers in New York and L.A. are casting their votes to end the last three months’ work stoppage.  And the end of a work stoppage means only one thing… It’s time to get back...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: Brad Wollack, talk show writer/producer

Hey, screenwriters— One of the most controversial topics of the last few months has been the issue of writers writing for talk shows.  After all, it’s no newsflash that most of the big talk shows came back on the air last month… in the middle of the strike… without their writers....

Will Newspapers Review Self-Published Books?

Q: The book critic at my local newspaper mentioned in an article that she doesn’t review self-published books. Is this common procedure? Are there any major dailies that do?—Joyann Dwire A: Some newspapers won’t review self-published books simply because they’re concerned about legal issues. Self-published books aren’t subjected to the rigorous...

Jen Grisanti: Part II – A Follow-Up

Hey, guys– After Wednesday’s guest perspective from TV exec/producer Jen Grisanti, in which she talks about her new company, Jen Grisanti Consultancy, loyal reader Josh and a couple other people asked if she was a manager.  So I talked to Jen, and here’s what she had to say… JEN: “I am...

GUEST PERSPECTIVE: Jen Grisanti – TV Exec & Producer

Hey, screenwriters– I’m pleased to introduce a special guest today… TV executive and producer Jennifer Grisanti.  As a Current Exec at Spelling Television for over ten years, Jen has worked with some of the best writers, showrunners, producers and execs in Hollywood… people like Medium creator Glen Gordon Caron, NCIS producer...

BREAKING INTO PODIOBOOKS: Talking with Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff

Hey, screenwriters– I wanted to talk about something kind of unique today… something I just learned about (and am still learning about) myself: the world of online audio books– better known as podiobooks.  It’s very different than screenwriting, but as conventional media merges with the internet, podiobooks are shaping up to...

What is a Blog?

Q: While I’ve read several sites referred to as “blogs,” I’m not really sure what a blog is. What is a blog? —Christopher B. A: From writers at award-winning newspapers, to magazine editors to your neighbor’s teenage son, almost everyone seems to have a blog these days. But ask three people...

Writing the TV Spec Script (with a great discount!)

Hey, everyone– If you’re gearing up for the post-strike staffing season, I just wanted to let you know that I’m teaching a new TV spec-writing class at Mediabistro in Los Angeles, beginning next week.  And to make it even better, tell them you saw this blog, and they’ll give you a...

Landing Interviews Before Receiving an Assignment

Q: When I cold-call someone to interview them, I feel like a fraud because I think they must be wondering what my real reason for calling is. I have a suspicion this is clear in my voice. Basically, I just seize up and try to rush them off the phone, which...

Take Me To Your Pilot: 3 Rules For Writing a Successful TV Pilot

While the Writers Strike may have decimated this year’s pilot season, one thing it won’t decimate is TV’s continuing need for pilots.  Once the strike is over, networks and studios will be desperate for new shows and content.  And fortunately, the market for spec pilots (pilots written without being first pitched...

Why 2008 Is Like Billy Joel (Becaue You've Got To Begin Again)

Hey, everyone– Welcome to 2008!  Usually, around this time of year, you hear everyone saying things like, “Where did last year go?”  “What happened to 2007?”  “2007 just went so fast!” Well, I’m gonna be honest. 2007 did not go fast.  While there were lots of great things about 2007, it...

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone one had a happy and safe New Year’s Eve. Q&Q returns with a new post next Tuesday, so stay tuned. And thanks for making WD a part of your 2008 story. Brian A. Klems and the WD Staff You might also like:No Related Posts

Numbering Pages of a Prologue

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 make the first page of Chapter 1 Page 6? —Gretchen Courtright A: Most front-matter elements, such as a prologue...

Please Don't Bait the Schmucks

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 thing WD does well, it’s talk about writing.  And inspire writers.  And offer bits of writing info and advice. ...

Should I Get a Lawyer Before Signing with an Agent?

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 sign?—Allen Reiling A: Yes, it would probably be wise to have a lawyer who knows a thing or two...

Staples or Paper Clips?

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 want manuscripts paper-clipped, not stapled. It’s more difficult to read through 300 pages harnessed together by staples than it...

An Interview With Novel Journey

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 You might also like:No Related Posts