November/December 2013 Issue
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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.
Transform personal experience into powerful fiction, and you’ll tell stories like no one else can. Read more
The writing world lost a legend with the passing of Tom Clancy. To honor the author of the Jack Ryan novels, we dove into our archives and found this wonderful Writer’s Digest Interview with Tom Clancy from 2001. Read on. Read more
Television can give us great breaks from the work of writing, even if we feel slightly guilty for watching. But we can temper our guilt by inviting our Inner Editor to sit beside us and show us what to avoid in our writing. Read more
This week I helped celebrate #BannedBooksWeek by moderating a Google On Air panel of popular authors discussing why banning books does a disservice to readers everywhere (You won’t believe the screengrab of my giant head that Google picked as the promo image. Anyway, the discussion led to some amazing points about the problems with banning books, other solutions to dealing with kids reading mature content and why parents should put less emphasis on getting books banned and more emphasis on reading with their kids. Watch and enjoy. Read more
Is your manuscript too long? Many of the queries I receive begin, “In my 200,000-word novel….” I stop right there. As I tell all of my clients, I can’t sell anything over 120,000 words by a first-time writer. “Help me cut it,” they say, knowing that I spent some 15 years as an editor before becoming an agent. Read more
Let me be clear—I don’t take sides. I appreciate the self-published author, the author published by a small press, and the New York-published author. Because you know what? No matter what publishing route any of us decide to take, we are all still authors. Read more
Today at 4 p.m. (Eastern) I’ll be moderating a free Google Hangout Event in honor of Banned Books Week, where we celebrate the freedom to read whatever we want! I’ll be joined by bestselling author Jaime Ford (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet), as well as authors Deb Caletti, Sean Beaudoin and Kathleen Alcalá. Should be a fun, lively discussion. (Though forgive my hoarse voice–I’ve been battling a nasty cold for days.) Find out how to join here. Read more
Whenever there’s a loud noise outside my little back-room office, the cats all instantly look at me. (Somehow there are always at least two or three cats napping on my desk or … Read more
Everyone loves to pick up an escapist novel and just drift away into a world of romance, intrigue, or mystery. This was especially true for me while working as a correspondent and anchor for CNN for more than two decades. I would always grab a paperback on my way through the airport. The more outrageously fictitious, the better. You see, I had quite a good dose of reality every day: bombings and school shootings, wars and financial ruin, natural disasters. I wanted fun and enjoyment in my reading. Here are a few rules I adhere to when I write my own romantic thrillers. Read more
Writing can be inspired by many things. But for this author, a sudden bout with anemia really put things into perspective and motivated her to write. Read more
No matter how you want to publish your book, a business plan helps you produce a marketable, which equates to a successful, book. Here’s what you need to consider. Read more
With the following tips in mind, reread your manuscript with an eye toward making your antagonist as compelling as your protagonist. Read more
It’s with a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of bestselling author Ann Crispin, co-founder of Writer Beware (you can read a short note about it here from Ann’s close friend and Writer Beware counterpart Victoria Strauss). Ann contributed to Writer’s Digest on several occasions and has long been an advocate of writers’ rights. To honor her, we’ve pulled 5 excellent tips from our archives that she shared with us over the years. Read more
I find that writers are usually nice people. Nice people have a hard time understanding nasty people, let alone liking them. Let alone loving them! You must overcome this. Here’s how. Read more
Life of Pi Academy Award nominee David Magee shares his insights and tips. Read more
Many writers consider dabbling in writing about food—I mean, we all like food, don’t we? Before diving in, it’s important to ask yourself these 5 questions to make sure you’re taking your role as food writer seriously. Read more
Larry Brooks is a story coach. And it isn’t always pretty. Which is a good thing, because the whole point, the reason this has value, is to learn from the mistakes of others. Here’s what you can learn from others. Read more
Most manuscripts start out a little messy. Try these thoughtful approaches to polishing your prose. Read more
When it came time to launch my own book, The Listeners, I had a pretty good working knowledge of what had to be done, certainly more so than most first-time authors. But just as being an editor has informed the publishing experience, so is the publishing experience informing my role as editor, and I wanted to take a little bit of time to share with you what I knew, what I’ve learned, and what I will continue to learn. Read more
Get an easy-to-understand breakdown of the difference between literally and figuratively, and why their definitions may be evolving. Read more
A friend alerted me to an interesting infographic posted on Goodreads. The subject: Why readers abandon a book they’ve started. Among the reasons … Read more
We’re saddened to hear about the passing of literary legend Elmore Leonard (I absolutely loved his book Get Shorty when I read it in high school). He was a great writer and will be remembered through his wonderful work for years and years to come. In honor of Leonard’s passing, we’ve pulled five memorable quotes on writing from our Writer’s Digest interviews archive, as we were fortunate to get to speak with him several times over the years. Here they are. Read more
Try all you want to make the words unrecognizable—misspell them, cut them in half, throw in a fistful of apostrophes, sound out every groan the character makes—but the truth is, they are still words you’re dealing with. Here’s how successfully write characters who have dialects. Read more