Brian Klems

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When Characters Become People

As a former motion picture executive and current instructor of fiction writing, I’ve heard too often the incorrect definition of a sympathetic character. It is not necessarily someone we like. It is not necessarily someone we admire as a doer of good deeds. We follow characters with interest and compassion when we have a...

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How to Shut Up Your Inner Editor

It can strike while you’re working on any piece, anytime, anywhere. You're writing along like butter, and suddenly a stomach-wrenching jolt slams you up against a concrete wall. That thunderous voice in your head rebukes: "THAT'S THE WORST, MOST HORRIBLE, STUPID PHRASE SINCE . . . ." And you’re paralyzed.

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The 3 Basic Building Blocks of Writing a Memoir

Some people know exactly what they want to write about when they start their memoir. Others come to the computer expecting to purge their life onto the virtual page. If that’s you, take it from me, it won’t work—at least not for a book project. By focusing on the three foundational legs of memoir...

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How to Write About Family in a Memoir

To write honestly and compassionately about members of your family, you must first reflect on your purpose, your approach, the details of your story and the potential reactions your family members might have. Here's how to do that.

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How to Write A Plausible Character – 3 Key Tips

There are many elements writers need to pay close attention to when creating a fictional world. There’s setting, plot, pacing, voice, imagery and so on. Everything is important, everything counts. That said, one of my favorite places to focus my writing attention is on my characters. How do your create a good character? Well,...

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50 Articles on Writing to Help You in 2015

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 50 best articles that can help you reach your writing goals. My goal is to help you move your writing career...

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How to Write Novels About Faraway Lands

In explaining why he wrote his novels, the great writer Joseph Conrad once told his readers that it was so they could “glimpse the truth for which you have forgotten to ask.” These words no doubt resonate with many writers, but especially with those of us who choose faraway places and times for our...

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Writing Dystopian Fiction: 7 Tips

As the middleclass lives out the tale spun by Stephen King’s Thinner, we might find ourselves picking up a dystopian novel to relive our despondent youths. In other words, if you feel angry about the current political milieu, then you just might be a dystopian author.