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Brian Klems’ The Writer’s Dig

Brian A. Klems is a published author and the online editor of WritersDigest.com. His blog, which covers everything writing—from grammar rules to publishing—is one of the most popular in the writing community. Follow him on Twitter @BrianKlems.

The 5 Essential Story Ingredients

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Forget three-act structures, formulas for plot, and even beginnings, middles and ends. Write better stories by propelling your protagonist through a transformation your readers will never forget. Read more

The 5 C’s of Writing a Great Thriller Novel

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BY JAMES SCOTT BELL Boost your story’s immunity to reader scrutiny with these fortifying nutrients.
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WD Editors Are Writers Too: Meet Adrienne Crezo, Managing Editor of Writer’s Digest

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All the editors on Writer’s Digest staff aren’t just 9-5 editors, we are also writers and storytellers—which is why we are so passionate about writing and publishing. “WD Editors Are Writers Too” is a column on this blog to give you a sneak peek at the folks who lead the WD community—including their quirks, what inspires them and what they are writing outside of the Writer’s Digest world. Today’s pick is Writer’s Digest Managing Editor Adrienne Crezo, who is the newest member of the WD team. (Hopefully she knows that the newest member sponsors Donut Fridays.) Read more

Is It My Writing or Is It My Editor?

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BY JIM DEMPSEY An explanation of the corrections an editor can make to a manuscript, and how editors and authors can work together to make a great novel even better. Read more

3 Writing Tips from Brat-Pack Star-Turned-Writer Andrew McCarthy

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BY KERRIE FLANAGAN The former Brat-Pack actor and director followed his passion into a new career: award-winning travel writer. Here, he shares his best tips. Read more

Are Subjects Joined by “And” Singular or Plural? – Grammar Rules

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If you’re uncertain whether subjects joined by and should be singular or plural, you’ve come to the right place. The simple answer is here. Read more

The Pros and Cons of Publishing With a Small Publisher

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BY ROBERT LEE BREWER So what are the pros and cons of publishing with a small press, and what should you expect if you decide to give it a go? Read more

What Magazine Editors Want (& Don’t Want)

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What are editors’ pet peeves? What can you do to get more and more assignments tossed your way by editors? Do editors expect you to know SEO? (Do you know what SEO means?) I was honored to be interviewed by Laura Pepper Wu, editor of The Write Life magazine, where we discussed many important topics that relate to freelance writers. It’s a lot of great info packed into a relatively short conversation, so it’s worth checking out (not to mention I look incredibly dashing in my bright blue headphones). Here’s the clip. Read more

How to Write a Mashup Novel

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BY PAUL CICCHINI Mashups seem to be one of the hip, ‘in vogue’ things these days, although in actuality the idea is not new at all. For the uninitiated, a ‘mashup’ novel is … Read more

5 Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

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BY VICTORIA PATTERSON The Peerless Four, based on the historical precedent of the first women allowed to compete in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics in track and field on a trial basis, was a departure from my previous story collection and novel, Drift and This Vacant Paradise, both set at the end of the 20th century in my fictionalized home-turf of Newport Beach, California. This is what I learned about writing historical fiction. Read more

Winners of our 2014 #AprilFools4Writers Contest

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Thanks to everyone who participated in our #AprilFools4Writers content. If you missed it, here are the details. There were tons of hilarious and clever entries this year and I enjoyed reading through all of them. More than 400 people participated, which is amazing! Anyway, without further ado here are the winners (chosen at random, as promised). Read more

Do You Have What Publishers Really Want?

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BY NINA AMIR If you are a writer who dreams of landing a traditional publishing deal, you might have a nagging question in your mind. It’s probably phrased something like, “Is my book idea what a publisher wants?” In fact, a better question to ask yourself is, “Do I have what publishers really want?” What publishers seek in an aspiring author doesn’t only involve your book idea or even your writing. These are a big part of what they consider in their decision making process, but they are not the only things. Read more

8 Strategies to Build Your Freelance Writing Career

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BY ROGER MORRIS Use these 8 strategies to turn occasional assignments into steady paychecks. Read more

It’s Our 4th Annual “April Fools’ Headlines for Writers” Contest – Join in & Win Prizes!

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Are you ready to have a little fun? It’s April Fools Day, which means it’s time for my annual #AprilFools4Writers contest! Here’s how it works: Create entertaining, clever and witty headlines that would appear in an Onion-style newspaper for writers about anything writing related (grammar, authors, books, etc.) and post it in any of the ways mentioned below. That’s it! That’s all you have to do. To make it extra special, I’ll up the ante: I’m giving away two prizes, The Build an Author Platform Premium Collection and a copy of the 2014 Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition. Here’s how to win one of them. Read more

9 Steps to an Effective Virtual Book Tour

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BY DANA SITAR You can easily waste a lot of effort producing guest posts for little gain if you don’t have a solid plan. Follow these steps to ensure you get the most out of every guest post appearance. Read more

Copywriting: A Crash Course for Writers Looking to Break In

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BY ATHENA SCHULTZ The market for freelance copywriting is bigger than ever—and so is the potential to break in. Put your writing skills to work on the side, and you might just hit the jackpot. Read more

The Pros and Cons of Writing a Novel in Present Tense

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BY DAVID JAUSS The best writers almost always seem to know, either consciously or intuitively, when to use present tense. Many of us, however, do not. Present tense has become something of a fad, and we often use it even when past tense would serve the story better. Whatever the causes for the prevalence of the present tense in today’s fiction, it is important that we understand its advantages and disadvantages so we can better decide when to employ it. Read more

6 Tips for Writing About Music

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You know more about music than any of your friends and can hold your own with all of these so-called critics. But where to begin? How do you break through to the printed page and music blogosphere? Here’s how. Read more

25 Tips To Make You a Better Nonfiction Writer

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Try these 25 tips out for size and your nonfiction writing will improve almost immediately. Read more

5 Writing Lessons Inspired by Famous Writers

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Visits to literary landmarks reveal powerful lessons every writer can carry home. Read more

Tales From the Writing Life: Fear and Loathing and Fitzgerald (5-Minute Memoir)

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5-Minute Memoir is exactly what it sounds like—a personal essay on some facet of the writing life, be it a narrative or a reflection, pensive, touching or hilarious. Enjoy this installment from Steven Rowland. Read more

Getting the Details Right in Your Novel: Psychologist vs. Psychiatrist

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Although both professions study and treat people with psychological and behavioral issues, there are big distinctions between psychologists and psychiatrists. Fortunately, you don’t need to feign emotional trauma and lie on a couch for hours to get it right in your work. Here’s a breakdown. Read more

How Book Advances Work – A Simple Explanation for Writers

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Here’s the breakdown on what you need to know when signing a book contract that includes an advance, including what it means and how it works. Read more

Interesting New Tool for Self-Published Authors

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I came across this new resource for writers from a company called Vook. It looks like a fascinating tool for self-published authors, allowing authors to track book sales that are reported through most of the major players in the ebook and POD business–Amazon, Amazon KDP, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life, CreateSpace, Smashwords, Google, and Samsung. Here’s more info. Read more

8 Reasons Every Book Needs a Business Plan to Achieve Success

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No matter how you want to publish, and whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you should produce a business plan for each and every book you write and publish—before writing a word of your manuscript. Let me offer you eight good reasons why I believe this is an important practice if you want to achieve success as an author. Read more

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