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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.

Write Better: The 7 Qualities of High-Concept Stories

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Stumped by submission guidelines calling for “high-concept” romance, suspense, young adult or other popular fiction? These 7 qualifiers will help you gauge how (and where) your work fits in. Read more

Tales From the Writing Life: You Can’t Go Home Again (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 Peter Jurich. Read more

6 Insider Tips for Finding and Applying to Writers’ Colonies

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Writers’ colonies are little-known treasures: they exist all over the United States and abroad, but many writers have never heard of them. Here are six ways to find (and apply for) these hidden gems. Read more

The Real Story Behind Low-Residency MFAs

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If you think low-res writing programs are second-rate, think again. Here’s why they might just be the best way to become a better writer. Read more

A 12-Day Plan of Simple Writing Exercises

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It’s the perfect time to restart your engine and get back into writing. Here, I offer up a 12-day plan of simple writing exercises to help you keep your creative juices flowing without eating up too much of your time. Follow this plan and in less than half a month, you’ll not only be impressed with what you’ve accomplished, but you may also have something worth publishing. Read more

Writing Fiction or Nonfiction: Make Your Choice

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As a writer, are you going to write fiction or nonfiction?. The latter spans a wide range of subjects. This category is made up of literary works that can retell events that … Read more

7 Ways to Create a Killer Opening Line For Your Novel

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Writing a dynamite first line that captivates readers and encourages them to read on is difficult. Here are several different approaches to writing a killer opening line (and examples from classic novels to accompany each). Read more

Important Writing Lessons From First-Time Novelists

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Writing and publishing your debut novel can take three months or 30 years. In this roundtable discussion, five very different breakout authors share what they’ve learned about how to position yourself for success. Read more

62 of the Top Writing Articles from 2013 (That Can Help You in 2014)

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Over the past year I posted articles on this blog that covered everything—from grammar to writing better characters to getting published and more. Here’s a cheat sheet linking to what I consider the 62 best articles that can help you reach your writing goals. Read more

Your Novel Blueprint

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Turn your dream novel into a reality by using this Story Plan Checklist. Read more

Freelance Writing: What to Do If You Haven’t Been Paid Yet

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Use a demand letter to save the day when you’re long overdue on being paid. Read more

How to Use Profanity And Other Raw Talk In Your Fiction

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BY ELIZABETH SIMS The expletive known in polite circles as “the f-word” was most famously used in a major novel, Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, published in 1948. Except it wasn’t. Let me explain. Read more

Freelance Writing: 10 Ways to Satisfy Editors & Land More Assignments

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Getting assignments right the first time is key to a successful freelance career. Here are 10 ways to satisfy editors from the start. Read more

Into vs. In To

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Using “into” and “in to” interchangeably is a very common grammar faux pas—heck, my sister commits this grandiose error in e-mails at least twice a day and, despite my attempts to sick the grammar police on her, she continues to write recklessly. But if you understand their individual definitions, it’s easy to pick the right word to convey your true meaning and avoid the grammar police altogether. Read more

QUICK TIP: Save Your Story From Coming to a Bad End

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Too many stories end badly. And yet they somehow get published and even succeed to some degree. That’s because the rest of the story—the structure of it and the compelling essence of the character—triumphs to an extent that the ending doesn’t make or break the story at all. It just is. Your goal is … Read more

An Interview with Charles Finch, Author of the Charles Lenox Mysteries

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I recently had the opportunity to talk to popular mystery author Charles Finch, author of the Charles Lenox mysteries, during my Writer’s Digest Presents: An Author Hangout series. He was a wonderful guest, answering questions about the writing process, the keys to writing a series, what writers looking to get published need to focus on and more. Read more

Try These 30-Minute Writing Challenges

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Set aside 30 minutes, choose one of the following exercises and, as Tim Gunn from “Project Runway” would say, “Make it work!” Read more

How to Write a Biography: Writing from the Heart

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The most important thing that you as a biographer can do is to write from the heart. You can take a number of approaches to writing from the heart. For example … Read more

Freelance Writing: 5 Tips for Pitching Anniversary-Themed Articles

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Find pitch-perfect hooks for articles on virtually any topic by targeting anniversaries. Read more

5 Tools for Building Conflict in Your Novel

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Just like anyone else who builds things from scratch, writers need tools. And the more you use them, the better you become at using them. The more tools you’re exposed to, the … Read more

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Why We’re Thankful to Be Writers

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Around Thanksgiving I’m always reminded of how thankful I am for my wife, my kids, my family and my friends. One thing that I often overlook is how thankful I am that I am a writer. It’s a challenging profession, one that causes a lot of rejection, heartbreak and unintentionally condescending looks from others (“So you’re a writer? That’s nice, but what’s your real job?”). But the payoff is this: Read more

How to Write & Sell a Cross-Genre Novel

Here are the keys to writing and pitching a novel that crosses genres. Read more

Take the 2nd Annual Writer’s Digest Author Survey and Enter to Win a Free Kindle Fire!

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We want to let you know about the new Writer’s Digest survey and encourage you to participate. Whether you’re an aspiring author, or one who’s already been published, the information you can provide is of great importance to the publishing industry, enabling you to tell publishers, editors, agents, and self-publishing service providers what really matters, why you write, and what you want. Read more below or just click here to participate. Read more

How To Make Your Setting a Character

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Powerfully portrayed settings seem to have a life of their own, but how is that effect achieved? Make your setting a character is a common piece of advice given to fiction writers, yet beyond invoking all five senses when describing the scenery, there’s not a lot of info out there about exactly how to do it. Here are 5 keys to doing it. Read more

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