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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.

NaNoWriMo: 5 Writing Lessons That I Knew Before, But Know Much Better Now

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A few weeks ago, I had never heard of National Novel Writing Month, although I’ve been somewhat lazily writing a book for a year in my free time (Lesson 1: don’t wait for free time). Then one day when I was busily browsing posts on Facebook, I got a notification; someone had shared a link on my timeline. How lovely! I clicked and saw a poster image of my local library’s NaNoWriMo events for the month. I had no idea what this meant, but was honored that my husband’s aunt had thought of me when she saw this; I know because that was her comment (Lesson 2 learned: once you tell people that you’re writing a book, they’ll hold you to it, for better or for worse.). Read more

How to Become a Travel Writer

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Each person in the audience fights the bull along with the torero, not by following the flight of the cape, but by using another imaginary one that moves differently than the one … Read more

Write Like A House Cat

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In a way, most successful writers I know remind me of my house cat Charlotte, says author Peter Brown Hoffmeister. They might be balding or have an average coat of hair. They might not be incredibly good-looking, large or small. They certainly won’t exude sex appeal in a bikini, and they might even have a hidden abscess that gives off an unpleasant odor, but they get their work done. Read on as Peter explains. Read more

10 Things Your Freelance Editor Might Not Tell You—But Should

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Before you hire an editor, you need to know what kind of help you’re looking for. It’s important you know the following … Read more

Mystery Novel Writing: 5 FAQs on How to Do Excellent Research for Your Novel

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International bestselling novelist Peter James reveals his secret to killer crime fiction: joining hands with the long arm of the law. Read more

Fewer vs. Less

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What’s the difference between fewer and less? Here’s a simple explanation to help you use both correctly. Read more

What You Need to Know About Pitching Your Christian Writing

Christian markets offer big readerships and big opportunities—and the best part is, anyone can write for them. Here’s how to break in. Read more

5-Minute Memoir: Writing From the Mat

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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 N.M. Kleby. Read more

How to Write the Last 10% of Your Novel

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How can you tell when your novel is really finished? Learn the final-draft factors that most often make or break a novel. Read more

8 Ways Any Writer Can Get Started in the Craft of Playwriting

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Playwriting can be a terrific outlet for any writer’s talent—it not only serves as an excellent new venue for your work, but it can also sharpen your style and boost your overall writing ability in innumerable ways. Interested, but unsure of how, exactly, to get your feet wet? Here are eight things any writer can do to get a jump-start writing for the stage. Read more

Writing MEME of the Week – My Novel is Out There

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While we are a community of writers, it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of the finer points of funny and clever images shared throughout today’s social media world. I’ve decided share some of my favorites. This one comes from Mary Zisk. Hope you enjoy. Read more

6 Secrets of Writing a Novel Without an Outline

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If you’ve ever wanted to throw away your outline and uncover a story word by word, here’s how to get started. Read more

Benefits of Writing a Fast First Draft

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One of the greatest predictors of successfully pre-plotting and writing a novel or memoir in a month is the ability to write in the zone. When you’re in the flow of your … Read more

Why Writers Wallow in the Beginning and Resist Writing to the End

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Writing and plotting the beginning of a story are like meeting people for the first time. We wonder if the other people like us. We wonder if we like them. We show only so much of ourselves, as we determine how we feel about these other persons. We are in control––and being in control at the beginning sounds far superior to being out of control in the middle and the end, places where you must dig deeply into emotions … Read more

7 Reasons to Write an Entire 1st Draft before Going Back to the Beginning

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There are important benefits of writing a novel or memoir from beginning to end before going back and starting again. Here are seven of them that you should know. Read more

How to Build Subplots From Multiple Viewpoints

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Subplots and multiple points of view make novels longer and more work, but rewards for that effort are there for writer and reader alike—that is, if they are successful. Here’s how to pull it off. Read more

Writing MEME of the Week – Keep that TV Away From Me!

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Occasionally I will share funny graphics that I’ve found on the Web (or were created by members of the Writer’s Digest staff). Here’s a great one that I think many book lovers will enjoy. Read more

The Novelist’s Guide to Writing (Only) What you Know

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Transform personal experience into powerful fiction, and you’ll tell stories like no one else can. Read more

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

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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?

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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”

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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

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