5 Writing Perspectives to Be Thankful For

Every day at Writer’s Digest, I’m particularly thankful that I get to read about writing and edit some really skilled teachers and experts. The varied perspectives, voices and authorities on the craft keep me on my toes and enrich my experience as a writer and a reader. Today, I pulled five perspectives that I’m...

Using Internal Dialogue to Achieve Multiple Effects

Internal dialogue is the inner voice of character. Which is, frankly, a very metaphysical subject. In most modern cultures—and, consequently, most modern literature—there’s a dichotomy within the self: there’s an I and a Me. I like my eyebrows. I have to be strict with myself when it comes to pecan pie. Internal dialogue is...

5 Things Breaking Bad Can Teach Us About Writing

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other week, I’ll bring you...

Cause and Effect: Telling Your Story in the Right Order

A game of billiards begins with the cue ball striking the racked balls, which then scatter across the pool table. After that the players take turns trying to clear the table by pocketing another ball (either stripes or solids), all while keeping the cue ball out of the pockets. We all understand that the...

television, writing

6 Things American Horror Story Can Teach Us About Writing

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other week, I’ll bring you...

television, writing

6 Things Friends Can Teach Us About Writing (Part 2)

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other week, I’ll bring you...

5 Moral Dilemmas That Make Characters (& Stories) Better

Readers can’t resist turning pages when characters are facing tough choices. Use these 5 keys to weave moral dilemmas into your stories—and watch your fiction climb to new heights. This guest post is by Steven James. James is the award-winning, bestselling author of 12 novels. He enjoys dark roast coffee and teaching storytelling around...

How to write strong dialogue, from the TV series Fargo.

3 Things Fargo (Season 2) Can Teach Us About Writing

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other Monday, I’ll bring you...

Writing tips and writing techniques

4 Tips to Improve Your Writing Instantly

If the “Pro Tips & Techniques” theme of the September 2016 Writer’s Digest sounds a little vague, I’ll fess up: That’s by design. Our most reliable contributors have a way of occasionally pitching outstanding articles that just don’t happen to fit with any of our issue themes. And as I was reviewing a batch...

4 Things The Office Can Teach Us About Writing

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other Monday, I’ll bring you...

What’s On Your Reading List?

‘Tis the season! Whether you made a list for friends and relatives to shop from, or whether you’re picking off of your personal reading list, there’s probably a book or two out there that you just have to read while you have some time off in the coming weeks. The editors at Writer’s Digest...

In Novel Writing, Practice Makes Perfect

“Every time I start a book, I think, I have no idea how I did this the last time,” bestselling novelist Jojo Moyes told me in our interview for the January 2016 Writer’s Digest. “No idea.” At first, knowing that the struggle “happens to the best of us,” as they say, might seem discouraging—especially...

Writer’s Digest Article Index 2014

All feature articles and columns published in Writer’s Digest during 2014 are indexed by topic. Abbreviations for regular columns: Inkwell—IW; Meet the Agent—MTA; Breaking In—BI; Questions & Quandaries—QQ; Your Story—YS; Standout Markets—SM; Conference Scene—CS; Reject A Hit—RAH Writer’s Digest Article Index 2014 Conferences “Conference Scene (Create Something Magical Writers & Readers Conference; Mount Hermon...

When Your Novel Writing Clicks

Light-bulb moments. Aha moments. Flashes of recognition. Revelations. Call them whatever you like. I like to think of them as clicks. In the writing life, the best kind of click is that moment something makes you realize exactly what’s been missing from the not-quite-right scene you’ve been working on. Or the instant you put...

4 Ways to Write a Killer Plot Twist

When I started reading Gone Girl, I’ll admit I had high expectations. “It’s incredible,” one friend told me after recommending it and praising it profusely. “You just won’t even believe what happens …” She stopped short, looking guilty. “I can’t say any more,” she said, almost at a whisper. “I don’t want to give...

Writer’s Digest Article Index 2013

All feature articles and columns published in Writer’s Digest during 2014 are indexed by topic. Abbreviations for regular columns: Inkwell—IW; Meet the Agent—MTA; Breaking In—BI; Questions & Quandaries—QQ; Your Story—YS; Standout Markets—SM; Conference Scene—CS; Reject A Hit—RAH Writer’s Digest Article Index 2013   Business/Legal Matters “Querying vs. Pitching,” QQ, Brian A. Klems, Feb, p....

Symbolism and Literary Themes: Distracting or Necessary?

On Friday, a ThrillerFest panel moderated by WD contributing editor and author Steven James (Jevin Banks series) discussed whether or not literary themes and symbols interfere with a story. Here are the highlights from the panel, which included A.X. Ahmad (the Ranjit Singh trilogy), Linwood Barclay (A Tap on the Window), Carla Buckley (The...

Writer’s Digest Article Index 2012

All feature articles and columns published in Writer’s Digest during 2011 are indexed by topic. Abbreviations for regular columns: Inkwell—IW; Ask the Agent—ATA; Breaking In—BI; Questions & Quandaries—QQ; Your Story—YS; Conference Scene—CS; Writer’s Workbook—WW; Standout Markets—SM Writer’s Digest Article Index 2012   BUSINESS/LEGAL MATTERS “How Do First Rights Work?” QQ, Brian A. Klems, Jan,...

How to Get the Most Out of a Writing Conference

In only a few weeks, our staff will be venturing west for the Writer’s Digest Conference in Los Angeles, set for Oct. 19-21. On tap this year, writers can expect keynotes by Aimee Bender and Steven James, sessions taught by authors Elizabeth Sims, James Scott Bell, Rob Eagar, Nina Amir and many others, workshops...