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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.

RIP Andrew J. Offutt

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Andrew J. Offutt’s family. Offutt, who once served as a consultant to the WD Criticism Services, reportedly died on April 30. You can read Offutt’s full obit here. Read more

How to Create Tension Through Misdirection


A car engine breaks the stillness of the night … the smell of seaweed intrudes on an afternoon chess game … an unopened letter slips behind couch cushions. These are what we might call “plot-hypers,” in that they add elements of uncertainty and tension. Here’s how to add them to your story. Read more

Representing Minorities in Your Writing


Here’s how a Jewish writer was able to gain some perspective and successfully write from the viewpoint of a different minority. Read more

LAST DAY TO ENTER: WD’s 21st Annual Self-Published Book Awards


Whether you’re a professional writer, a part-time freelancer or a self-starting student, here’s your chance to enter the premier self-published competition exclusively for self-published books. Writer’s Digest hosts the 21st annual self-published competition — the Annual Self-Published Book Awards. This self-published competition spotlights today’s self-published works and honors self-published authors. Read more

9 Questions with Thriller Writer Doug Richardson (Die Hard 2, Blood Money)

Doug Richardson may be best known for his scriptwriting and producing chops on Die Hard 2, Bad Boys and Hostage, but he’s a successful thriller writer as well. His new novel, Blood … Read more

The 4 Best Strategies for Savvy Self-Publishers


If you’re excited by the prospect of achieving success on your own, but intimidated by the ever-changing options available, take heart. Here’s how the savviest writers approach the self-publishing process—and where to go for the help you’ll need along the way. Read more

Stormwriting: What It Is and Why You Should Try It

Now you’re to the point where you’re ready to start crafting your book. You’ve done a bit of brainstorming, and perhaps you’ve done some writing. But there’s something about brainstorming that’s only … Read more

Free Book: Tyrus Book Giveaway


Our good friend Ben LeRoy, publisher of Tyrus books, is offering a free e-book copy of the second novel in the Moe Prager series, Redemption Street. Find out how you can get your free copy here. Read more

Have You Written Something Great? It’s Time For Some Recognition


When your writing wins an award, it gives it more credibility. It’s a badge that says to others, “My writing is good and I have proof.” One competition worth checking out is the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. This one, whose early-bird deadline is fast approaching on May 1, is special for a few reasons … Read more

5 Ways to Deal with Word Repetition


Word repetition can really weigh down your writing and slow down readers. Try out these five simple ways to tackle word repetition and improve your writing skills. Read more

7 Creative Writing Prompts To Spark Your Writing


Man I hate writer’s block. We all get stuck in a writing rut from time to time. Sometimes it gets so bad for me that I can’t even come up with a clever status update for Facebook—for Facebook! If my creative muscle is having difficulty piecing together a one-sentence quip, how in the world can I flex it long enough to turn out a short story or a novel or even a new blog post? The remedy I’ve found that works best for me is trying a writing prompt … and here are 7 worth trying. Read more

Winners of our April Fool’s “Write Your Best Fake Headline” Contest

First off, thanks to everyone who participated in our April’s Fools “Write Your Best Fake Headline” contest. (If you missed it, you can get the details here.) Second I had a blast reading through all entries. For a moment I was really excited, as I read one entry that said “Brian is Super Awesome!” and I thought, that’s pretty cool of someone to send! Then I realized that I was the one who sent it when testing the system. (Oops!) Anyway, without further ado, the winner is .. Read more

The 411 on Contest Guidelines and Formatting for Writers


When submitting a story via email for a contest, how should it be formatted? Here’s the inside scoop on what rules to follow. Read more

Dear Writers: What Have Been Your Career-Changing Moves?

The Q

Want to be featured in an upcoming issue of Writer’s Digest? Here’s your chance. We’re busy putting together an issue about how to “Take Control of Your Career,” and we want to hear from you about how you’ve successfully done just that. So The Q for you is … Read more

Answers to 14 Questions You’re Too Afraid to Ask Literary Agents


Do agencies really read every query letter? Do agents ever go through the slush pile? Get answers to what you’ve always wanted to know but have been afraid to ask, thanks to this leading literary agent who is willing to give it to you straight. Read more

Editors’ Newest Concern: Penmanship


Recently at the Writing 3.0 Conference, a panel of editors surprised attendees when they said that while plot and character development are important, the key to getting their attention—and a book contract—is excellent penmanship. “Perfect handwriting is what sets the best writers apart from the rookies,” says popular novel editor … Read more

How to Develop Any Idea Into a Great Story


Even stories that start with brilliant strokes of inspiration too often fizzle out before we reach The End. Use this four-step method to develop your best ideas to their fullest. Read more

How to Organize Time for a Dramatic Story

Every story, like every sequence of memorable events in life, has its own chronology; that is, significant happenings with a beginning, middle, and end. As we have said, they may not however be told in that order, which only makes matters more interesting. Embedded in the task of designing a plot sequence is the fundamental question—how will I handle time? Cinema has considerable temporal elasticity. The time element of a story can be greatly manipulated within the film’s actual duration. So where to begin? Read more

BOOT CAMP THIS WEEKEND: Using Story Structure to Create a Better Book


If you’ve never tried a writing boot camp, you’re missing out: three days of instruction, deadlines and discipline all wrapped into one weekend that will force you to forward your writing career. And the best part? You can do it in your underwear. Here’s how. Read more

4 Ways to Motivate Characters and Plot


Some of your characters will change during the course of your story—let’s call them changers. Others—stayers—will not change significantly in personality or outlook, but their motivations may nonetheless change as the story progresses from situation to situation. Both changers and stayers can have progressive motivations. Confused? Don’t be; it’s simpler than it may seem. Characters come in four basic types: Read more

The Get Published Premium Collection for $79


Getting published isn’t easy—it’s hard. The key is to put your energy in the right places in order to give yourself the best shot at landing a book deal. But where to begin? Let us help. Read more

The Two Pillars of Novel Structure


Even good stories can crumble if they don’t have a strong framework. Use this time-tested structure to transport your readers from exhilarating start to satisfying finish. Read more

The 7 Deadly Sins of Self-Editing


Avoid these tempting traps, and save yourself from the kind of painful revision that can lead your manuscript to eternal damnation. Read more

Turn One Agent’s No into Another Agent’s Yes


As much as you’d probably like to burn your rejection letters or mold them into little voodoo dolls of the editors who sent them, don’t. There’s a lot to be learned from the responses (yes, even those that arrive with nothing more than a standard checkbox of reasons the piece wasn’t accepted). Read more

Why You Should Write About What You Don’t Know


It’s easy to write about what you know, but writing about things you don’t know much about is way more challenging. It’s also more exciting. Here’s why. Read more

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