online editor blog

5-Minute Memoir: Writing From the Mat

5-Minute Memoir is exactly what it sounds like—a personal essay on some facet of the writing life, be it a narrative or a reflection, pensive, touching or hilarious. Enjoy this installment from N.M. Kleby.

Benefits of Writing a Fast First Draft

One of the greatest predictors of successfully pre-plotting and writing a novel or memoir in a month is the ability to write in the zone. When you’re in the flow of your writing, words and ideas come to you effortlessly. You don’t second-guess yourself. You’re not timid and paranoid about your...

Do You Believe This?

Television can give us great breaks from the work of writing, even if we feel slightly guilty for watching. But we can temper our guilt by inviting our Inner Editor to sit beside us and show us what to avoid in our writing.

Cut Your Story Down to Size

Is your manuscript too long? Many of the queries I receive begin, “In my 200,000-word novel….” I stop right there. As I tell all of my clients, I can’t sell anything over 120,000 words by a first-time writer. “Help me cut it,” they say, knowing that I spent some 15 years...

Author Tim Powers Says “Trust the Cats”

Whenever there’s a loud noise outside my little back-room office, the cats all instantly look at me. (Somehow there are always at least two or three cats napping on my desk or on nearby bookshelves.) If I react to the noise — if I leap up in alarm, spilling my coffee...

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...

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...

Tapping Your Inner Villain

BY ELIZABETH SIMS 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.

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.