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paula munier, beginnings, how to write beginnings

Strong Beginnings: A Trick to Editing Your Novel

The best beginnings possess a magical quality that grabs readers from the first word and never lets them go. But beginnings aren’t just the door into a fiction world. They are the gateway to the realm of publishing—one that could shut as quickly as it opens. Nail a beginning and you can potentially land...

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Friday Reads: Chart Your Course with Author in Progress

Let me set the scene: You’re sitting at home, perhaps in your office or at your kitchen table, maybe sipping some coffee or tea. You’d like to start writing your novel … but instead you’re staring at the cursor on your laptop screen as it blinks back at you. You’re suddenly possessed of a singular, creeping dread:...

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Why EVERY Writer Is a “Writer for Hire”

I’m in the midst of potty-training my toddler, so when I awoke this morning, in the dark dawn before my alarm, to the sound of her screaming “POO!”—well, needless to say I jumped out of bed a smidge faster than I usually do. “POO!” she screeched as my fingers scrambled across the nightstand for...

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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 1 shine. When...

What You Can Do Now to Master the Business of Writing

Even without knowing you (yes, you! hello there), I can say that we put together the “Master the Business of Writing” package for the February 2016 Writer’s Digest with you in mind. Because whether you’re an aspiring author, a midlist novelist or a freelancer looking for bigger paychecks, this issue will meet you where...

Fire Up Your Writing Brain

How to Brainstorm: Give Your Brain Free Rein

It’s a new year, and the perfect time to recommit yourself to your writing life. Whether you’re still working on your same project, or just opening a fresh notebook or Word document to start a new one, it can be intimidating when you hit a mental block. And that means it’s always a good...

When It Comes to Your Writing, It’s NEVER Too Late!

Let’s get one thing out of the way: The idea of feeling like it might be “too late” to do something doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with age. I remember vividly the first time I was overcome with the unsettling sensation that certain ships had sailed. I was a new college graduate folding...

Reading, Workshops, and Thinking: An Author’s Tale

The following is a guest post from one of WD’s bloggers from our NaNoWriMo project, EJ Runyon. In this post, EJ talks about the important steps that need to be taken between first draft and revision, and the difficulty of working with a piece or a story that you can become too close to. Sometimes...

A Better Approach to “Write Every Day”

Happy New Year! Happy … and yet. Everywhere you look, it’s all about pushing ourselves, isn’t it? First came November’s NaNoWriMo, with all the tips for writing more, more, more, writing faster, faster, faster. Then came the holidays, with 12 days left to shop/plan/wrap/bake/revise that manuscript from last month, 11, 10, 9 … And...

How to Develop a Writing Plan

Sometimes, as a writer, it’s difficult to think about large, overarching goals when you’re working on a project or planning to start on something new. Thinking, “I’m going to write a novel and have it completed by XX date,” is ambitious. And maybe it’s too much of a reach. Instead, develop a plan. Write...

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...

Starting NaNoWriMo: Finding the Motivation to Write

For some writers, the most difficult thing about writing is just getting started. For myself, I can’t think of anything more intimidating than a blank word document. I spend so much time trying to construct the perfect sentence that it no longer feels like writing. I analyze every word choice. That’s unhealthy. Many of our...

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The 7 Tools of Dialogue

My neighbor John loves to work on his hot rod. He’s an automotive whiz and tells me he can hear when something is not quite right with the engine. He doesn’t hesitate to pop the hood, grab his bag of tools and start to tinker. He’ll keep at it until the engine sounds just...

The Setback: How to Successfully Start Writing Again

If you’re anything like me, part of your New Year’s Resolution (that’s still a thing, right?) was to write more. It might’ve been to hit a certain word or page count in a day, write for a certain time length, develop a number of ideas in a day, etc. Whatever it was, you told...

Fruitless First Draft Struggles

The following is a guest blog post by the winner of the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, Dan J. Fiore. Dan shares his thoughts on the first draft writing process, common first draft problems and why your story should always take precedent over these problems. *   *   *   *  ...

How Long Should Your Story’s Opening Be?

Many writers often wonder how long or short their story’s opening should be. Read this excerpt from Hooked by Les Edgarton and find out what is the proper length for a story opening. The primary requirement of an opening is that the first line plunges the reader into the story instantly. A slow, leisurely...

writing for kids | story beginnings

12 Clichés To Avoid When Beginning Your Story

Read today’s tip from Mary Kole’s new book, Writing Irresistible Kidlit. In this excerpt, she shares some examples of common story beginnings that kidlit writers make. Here are some of the most common openings I see, as they’re almost always a rejection: Waking Up: Avoid the first moments of the day, especially if your...

Write Fiction that Grabs Readers from Page One

In your novel, the inciting incident is the first sign of trouble for your protagonist: it’s the catalyst, the chemical reaction, that sets the plot into motion. But the inciting incident isn’t only important for your main character. Understanding how to harness it is also crucial to hooking your reader from the very first...

review a manuscript | writing a novel

Writing a Novel: The Four Elements Of a Solid Story Concept

Do you want to write a novel? In addition to creating a solid plot, you are also going to need a strong concept for your novel. Wondering how to conceptualize your story? Todd A. Stone, author of the Novelist’s Boot Camp, shares essential elements for developing a story’s concept. Developing A Story’s Concept One...

how to write fiction | hooked on fiction writing

5 Wrong Ways to Start A Story

Your story’s opener is your one opportunity to capture an editor’s or agent’s attention. Learn how to avoid the critical mistakes (such as providing too much backstory) that lead to rejection and write a great beginning for your story. Today’s tip of the day, taken from Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers At Page...