short stories

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

How to Broaden Your Short Story’s Scope

Most short stories illumine a single dark corner, narrowly circumscribed. They follow the time-revered rule: Limit your short story to a specific time, place, event, interaction or character’s evolution. But the short story can be a more versatile genre than your high school English teacher sermonized. If we stick to too...

Selling Short Story Short: An Interview with ZZ Packer

ZZ Packer is the author of the short-story collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, a PEN/Faulkner finalist that was selected for the “Today” show book club by John Updike. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Story, Ploughshares, Zoetrope: All-Story and The Best American Short Stories, and have been read on...

Writer’s Digest Annual Competition

For 80 years, the Annual Writer’s Digest Competition has rewarded writers just like you for their finest work. We continue the tradition by giving away more than $30,000 in cash and prizes! Win a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City !

From Idea to Page in 4 Simple Steps

Nothing is more exciting than the promise of a story in your head, but in order to get it on the page you need to figure out exactly what you need to do to make it work. Here are 4 steps to help you build the framework of your story.

Bulllies, Bastards & Bitches

With Jessica Page Morrell's Bullies, Bastards & Bitches, you'll be able to tap into your story’s dark side by creating realistic and memorable anti-heroes, villains, antagonists, and difficult protagonists.

The Procedure

Robert Brandt’s riveting story of an E.R. resident trying to save the life of a teenager took this year’s grand prize.

The Four Commandments of Writing Good Sentences

If you want to write a good sentence, don’t pay any attention to your grammar. I don’t mean “a sentence this like OK is.” I mean don’t automatically think you’ve written a good sentence just because it’s grammatically correct. Lots of bad sentences...