craft/technique

Write a Standout Chapter 1

We all know the importance of starting our stories strong: Without a beginning that draws the readers in (whether those readers are agents, editors or bookstore browsers), they may never make it to the middle. Enter the July/August 2016 Writer’s Digest: An entire issue devoted to helping you make your Chapter...

5 Things The Path 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,...

June 25-26: WD’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Online Conference

Don’t miss your chance to attend WD’s one-of-a-kind Science Fiction & Fantasy Online Writing Conference! On June 25 and 26, Writer’s Digest University will provide expert insights from SEVEN award-winning and best-selling authors on the finer points of how to write within the science fiction and fantasy genres. Spend the weekend learning...

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,...

How to Create a Successful Protagonist

This guest post is by Joseph Bates, whose new book Writing Your Novel From Start to Finish: A Guidebook for the Journey provides the instruction, inspiration, and guidance you need to complete your novel. Bates is the author of Tomorrowland: Stories (Curbside Splendor 2013), and his short fiction has appeared in...

4 Things Wayward Pines 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,...

3 Things Bloodline 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,...

6 Tips for Successful Comedy Writing

This guest post is by Mark Shatz, author of Comedy Writing Secrets 3rd Edition: The Best-Selling Guide to Writing Funny and Getting Paid for It. Mark A. Shatz is the author of KISSing Golf: The Keep It Simple (Stupid) Instructional Method, a humorous instructional book for beginning golfers. He is also...

4 Things House of Cards 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,...

Are You Making These Setting Mistakes?

The following is a guest post by Writer’s Digest author Mary Buckham, author of A Writer’s Guide to Active Setting: How to Enhance Your Fiction with More Descriptive, Dynamic Settings. She is also the author of the USA Today bestselling Invisible Recruits series, which has been touted for its unique voice,...

How to Use Surprise to Build Suspense

This guest post is from Jane K. Cleland, author of Mastering Suspense, Structure, & Plot: How to Writing Gripping Stories That Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats, the award-winning Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series, and four nonfiction books. Cleland chairs the Black Orchid Novella Award, one of the Wolfe Pack’s...

4 Things True Detective (Season 1) 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,...

Why Your Story is Getting Rejected: Language

As a former reader for a literary journal, I first learned to watch for language. I looked for creative, rhythmic prose that engaged the senses and provided a clear voice. But it took time to recognize and appreciate these qualities, and even longer to apply them in my own work. Now,...

Writing for Kids and Teens

The Best Tips on Writing for Kids and Teens

  What are the most common problems in picture book submissions? What are the most important differences between middle-grade and young adult stories? What makes for standout writing for young readers? Top literary agents who represent writing for kids and teens delve deeply into their best craft tips and industry insights to answer all...

Better Call Saul

5 Things Better Call Saul 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. They’ll also tell you to study fellow authors who write in your genre. And that’s solid advice. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing...

Comedy Writing Secrets: Triple the Funny

This guest post is by Mark Shatz, author of Comedy Writing Secrets 3rd Edition: The Best-Selling Guide to Writing Funny and Getting Paid for It. Mark A. Shatz is the author of KISSing Golf: The Keep It Simple (Stupid) Instructional Method, a humorous instructional book for beginning golfers. He is also...

Write Like Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is an absolute classic, particularly around this time of year. And even if you don’t want to write exactly like Dickens, there’s something—a technique, an idea, a theme, etc.—that every writer can pull from Dickens’ writing. The following is an excerpt from William Cane’s Fiction Writing...

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,...

The Five Cardinal Sins of Description

This guest post is by Joseph Bates, whose new book Writing Your Novel From Start to Finish: A Guidebook for the Journey provides the instruction, inspiration, and guidance you need to complete your novel. Bates is the author of Tomorrowland: Stories (Curbside Splendor 2013), and his short fiction has appeared in...

Relief for Your Revision Struggles

The September 2015 Writer’s Digest, The Smart Writer’s Guide to Revision, is new on newsstands, and I’ve gotten so many nice notes about my Editor’s Letter that I thought I’d share it here—both as a preview for our latest issue and as a way to commiserate, connect and relate with fellow...

Focus on the Writing Life: Feeding Your Creativity

Every writer goes through a creative dry spell. And sometimes that point of struggle can leave an author straining her brain for the right idea, plot line, or word. Everyone will give you differing advice on how to handle Writer’s Block, or to enhance your creativity, but few will tell you to take...

Tips for Writing and Selling Short Stories

“We are generally taught to build our stories with more words,” “100 Word Story” co-founder Grant Faulkner points out in the May/June 2015 Writer’s Digest article on writing flash, the shortest of short fiction. And he’s right. When studying the fiction writer’s craft, so much emphasis is on developing characters with...

What We Can Learn From Multi-Genre Authors

One of my favorite parts of my job as editor of Writer’s Digest is overseeing our WD Interview cover stories in every issue—deciding who to feature, making sure we’re hosting a conversation that covers ground our readers won’t find elsewhere, and quite often even conducting the interviews and crafting the profiles myself....

Are You a Born Storyteller?

I had a dear friend who had a gift for telling stories about her day. She’d launch into one, and suddenly everyone around her would hush up and lean in, knowing that whatever followed would be pure entertainment. A story of encountering a deer on the highway would involve interludes from...