short stories

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New Literary Agent Alert: Michael Caligaris of Holloway Literary

Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Michael Caligaris of Holloway Literary) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list. About Michael: Michael Caligaris has been working in publishing since 2013. After earning an MFA in Creative Writing from St. Mary’s College, he co-founded...

Josh Barkan

Breaking In: Josh Barkan

Josh Barkan is the author of Mexico (January 24, 2017; Hogarth/Crown Books), a collection of short stories that capture the beauty, strangeness, and brutality of life in modern Mexico. He’s also published two other books: a novel, Blind Speed, and a collection of stories, Before Hiroshima. His writing has appeared in Esquire and as...

Write Short Fiction

The Strategic Use of Short Fiction

The new world of self-publishing options calls to mind the golden age of the pulp magazines. During that era, roughly 1920–1950, writers could earn decent money pounding out stories and novellas for a penny a word. Later, the 1950s boom in mass-market paperbacks provided another source of lettuce for the enterprising author. Production and...

Robert Crais

4 Free Extras From the New Writer’s Digest

Did you know every single issue of Writer’s Digest includes bonus online exclusives? And they’re not just for subscribers—they’re for everyone! We must have been feeling extra inspired when we put together the November/December 2016 Writer’s Digest, because we rounded up even more extras than usual. Learn what really drives Robert Crais to the...

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Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards: Behind the Scenes of a Writing Competition with Thriller Judge Jodie Renner

Today, as part of our Behind the Scenes of a Writing Competition series, Thriller judge Jodie Renner discusses how to avoid common mistakes and take your submission to the top. Meet the Judge: Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor and the award-winning author of three craft-of-writing guides in her series An Editor’s Guide...

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How to Submit to Literary Journals

You’ve revised your story more times than you can count and you’re ready for quick and easy publication. But what you may not realize is the submissions process should be taken as seriously as the story. Find Your Journals If you’re new to submissions, you may be unsure of where to find the journals. Try...

How a Fiction Anthology Is Made

I’m an avid reader of Writer Unboxed, which has been one of our 101 Best Websites for Writers for several years running now—and when I had the pleasure of moderating the WU panel at last year’s Writer’s Digest Conference, one of my personal highlights was the chance to chat at length afterward with regular...

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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, as an editor,...

Online Exclusive: Q&A with Lish Troha

“Parting Gift,” by Lish Troha, is the Grand Prize winning story for the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Fiction Competition. For complete coverage of this year’s awards, including an exclusive feature on Troha, check out the July/August 2015 issue of Writer’s Digest. In this bonus online exclusive, Troha talks about where she gets her ideas and inspiration...

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 more layers, plots...

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...

How to Become a Kick-Ass Writer

If you haven’t yet read, met, or followed the career of Chuck Wendig, you’re in for a treat. I’ve had the great pleasure of following Chuck’s blog at terribleminds.com for a couple of years now, and the writing advice he offers is some of the best—as well as some of the grittiest, most honest,...

82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition Winners

Writer’s Digest would like to congratulate the 101 winners of the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition! Grand Prize Dan J. Fiore Pittsburgh, PA Children’s/Young Adult Fiction 1st Julia Byers Troy, MI 2nd Andie Newton Richland, WA 3rd Laurie Alloway San Diego, CA 4th Jack Winn Green Bay, WI 5th Carolyn Slusser Rock Island,...

Online Exclusive: Dan J. Fiore’s “Masks”

“Masks,” a genre short story by Dan J. Fiore, is the Grand Prize winner of the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. MASKS Someone screams. Jay turns, following his wife’s eyes behind him to the front door across the diner. Three men in wet ski masks and camo hunting gear stand holding guns, their...

Online Exclusive: Q&A With Dan J. Fiore

Dan J. Fiore, the grand prize winner of WD’s 2013 Annual Competition, always felt unsure of his writing and his own skill. A natural born writer who decided the 8-to-5 office life wasn’t for him, Dan took a chance on becoming a freelancer, which he still does now. He also decided to enter our...

The Cocktail Genre: Writing With a Twist

Blending two differing genres into a new storytelling twist, or what I like to call a “cocktail genre,” has been a popular style for a while now. You have Max Brooks’ documentary/horror epic World War Z (as usual, the book is better than the film); multiple works by Seth Grahame-Smith such as Pride and...

Should I Self-Publish? – Part Two

In the previous post in this series, I discussed how we each have a great project buried in our computers, notebooks, or desk drawers that would make for a fun self-publishing project as opposed to a traditionally published book. Some things just weren’t meant for Random House. And while the small press world is...

Should I Self-Publish? – Part One

The big dream since childhood—shared by so many fellow writers of all ages—was to walk into a bookstore (perhaps a bookstore that I owned—bonus dream!) and find a novel with my name on the cover gracing a column of shelves with eager hands reaching upward to pluck a copy and buy it before racing...

2012 Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition Winners

Writer’s Digest would like to congratulate the 101 winners of the 81st Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition! Grand Prize Jacob Appel New York, NY Children’s/Young Adult Fiction 1st Brooke Hartman Chugiak, AK 2nd Heather Sappenfield Vail, CO 3rd Kim Tomsic Boulder, CO 4th Charity Tahmaseb Minnetonka, MN 5th Athena Franco Great Lakes, IL 6th...

Create Structure in Your Fiction Using Index Cards

I was reading through some of our older science fiction titles, and I came upon Worlds of Wonder by David Gerrold (published in 2001). As I was flipping through the book, I read an opening line that intrigued me: “All writing is list-making. Nothing more. The trick is knowing what to put next on...

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How to Take Your Short Stories to the Next Level

Are you writing a short story? The first short story I ever wrote was in the 6th grade. It was about a fictitious solar system of salad toppings. No joke. I remember pacing around the house, dictating ideas, plot and dialogue into my mom's hand-held tape recorder and, eventually, piecing it all together into...