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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.

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

Essential Advice for Beginning Writers: An Interview with Kerri Majors


Kerri Majors is the editor and founder of YARN, the Young Adult Review Network, an online literary journal of YA short stories, essays, and poetry. As if this role doesn’t keep her … Read more

The 5 Biggest Fiction Writing Mistakes (& How to Fix Them)


Start your revision by addressing these, and you’ll immediately change your story for the better. Read more

Writer’s Digest West Pre-Conference Tip: Making Up Monikers Matters


Over the next few weeks many of the presenters of the upcoming Writer’s Digest West Conference (Sept. 27-29 in L.A.) will be dishing out pre-conference writing and publishing tips. Here’s our first installment thanks to Eva Shaw who will be teaching the workshop “Write Your Novel in 20 Minutes.” Read more

Don’t Split Infinitives – Fact or Myth?


Grammarians will often tell you not to split infinitives, but you see writers do it all the time. Is it against the grammar rules or are the grammar teachers off base? Here’s the answer. Read more

How to Think and Write like Nabokov


Learning how Russian novelist Nabokov thought might improve the way you write. Practice thinking in images to uncover the hidden details in your story. Read more

7 Reasons You Should Consider Publishing Personal Stories


Personal writing might sometimes feel too private to publish—but documenting your low points can rocket your byline to the top. Read more

Can You Copyright an Idea?


Learn the copyright rules you need to know to protect your idea from copyright infringement. Read more

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