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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.

    I Just Keep It Simple: Tell the Damn Story (RIP Tom Clancy)


    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

    Do You Believe This?


    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

    #BannedBooksWeek: Why Banning Books is Wrong (& Better Solutions)


    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

    Cut Your Story Down to Size


    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

    Don’t Be Afraid of Indie Publishing


    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

    Join our Banned Books Week Discussion Today at 4 p.m. Eastern


    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

    Author Tim Powers Says “Trust the Cats”


    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

    Fact-based Fiction


    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

    How to Turn Traumatic Experiences Into Fuel For Your Writing


    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

    4 Reasons You Need a Business Plan for Your Book


    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

    6 Ways to Write Better Bad Guys


    With the following tips in mind, reread your manuscript with an eye toward making your antagonist as compelling as your protagonist. Read more

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    5 Tips from Ann Crispin, Co-Founder of Writer Beware


    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

    Tapping Your Inner Villain


    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

    5 Things Novelists Can Learn From Screenwriters


    Life of Pi Academy Award nominee David Magee shares his insights and tips. Read more

    5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Writing About Food


    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

    Confessions of a Story Coach


    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

    How to Edit and Polish Your Writing


    Most manuscripts start out a little messy. Try these thoughtful approaches to polishing your prose. Read more

    4 Tips on the Publishing Experience


    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

    Literally vs. Figuratively


    Get an easy-to-understand breakdown of the difference between literally and figuratively, and why their definitions may be evolving. Read more

    How to Write a Novel Readers Won’t Put Down


    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

    The Best Part About Being a Writer Is …


    How would you finish this sentence? Read more

    5 Quotes on Writing from Elmore Leonard


    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

    How to Give Your Character an Authentic Dialect


    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

    Can You Really Become a Writer?


    Do interesting characters run through your thoughts that you want to know better? Are there places in your head you would like to explore? Have events happened in your life that you … Read more

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