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Tip of the Day, Creative Writing Tips

Our creative writing tips are short, helpful tidbits of information that you can apply to your writing right away. Use our Tip of the Day for easy-to-apply advice that you can use to improve your writing or help you get published.

What kinds of subject matter are most popular in novels for young readers?

from Beginning Writer’s Answer Book, edited by Jane Friedman The interest areas of young readers are limitless. They enjoy contemporary, fantasy, mystery, and historical novels and more—trends in subject matter for children’s … Read more

What is a story theme? Is it any different from a story problem?

from Beginning Writer’s Answer Book, edited by Jane Friedman Writers disagree on the exact definitions, but here’s one explanation: A theme is the message an author imparts to his readers through the … Read more

Is it crucial for scriptwriters to find an agent?

from Beginning Writer’s Answer Book, edited by Jane Friedman It is not crucial to obtain the services of an agent; you can always try sending query letters directly to producers and ask … Read more

I published my own nonfiction book, and now I’d like to query commercial publishers about a second edition, but how can I approach them about this idea?

from The Beginning Writer’s Answer Book, edited by Jane Friedman There are two ways you can approach this. One way is to submit a copy of your book to several publishers along … Read more

How will I know whether an agent is reputable? Is there a list I can obtain of recommended agents?

from The Beginning Writer’s Answer Book, edited by Jane Friedman In addition to checking agents out through AAR or the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org), look for Web sites where writers post information … Read more

Mistake 65: Not Staying Up-to-Date on the Business

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: Like any other business, publishing is fluid. Things change. I’ve seen authors … Read more

Mistake 61: Staying Home

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: Writers tend to be introverts. We like to sit by ourselves and … Read more

Mistake 59: Writing for the Market

Mistake 63: Not Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: People have a tendency to be afraid of losing out to others, … Read more

Mistake 62: Not Learning Patience

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: If you’re a type-A personality, publishing just might beat that out of … Read more

Mistake 64: Not Using Conferences Correctly

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: Too many writers view conferences simply as a place to sell their … Read more

Mistake 59: Writing for the Market

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: It’s already too late to write for today’s market. Book-length publishing is … Read more

Mistake 60: Taking Any Deal

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: This is such a hard and crazy business that writers tend to … Read more

Mistake 58: Buying in to the We-They Attitude

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: In any gathering of authors, sooner or later you pick up a … Read more

Mistake 56: Comparing Your Book to a Best-Selling Work

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: Some how-to-sell books and articles suggest that you compare your work to … Read more

Mistake 55: Not Using Rejction in a Positive Way

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: Nobody likes to be rejected. Rejection is not quite as bad as … Read more

Mistake 5: Paying an Agent to Read Your Work

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: There are numerous agents who charge reading fees to look at manuscripts … Read more

Mistake 57: Stalking

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: Who likes to be stalked? Agents and editors certainly don’t, and neither … Read more

Mistake 51: Writing a Bad Synopsis

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: A synopsis is a short summary of a novel, the key word … Read more

Mistake 53: Not Knowing the Magazine Market

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: When it comes to writing for magazines, one of the biggest mistakes … Read more

Mistake 52: Not Putting Together a Strong Nonfiction Proposal

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: Professionalism counts. While fiction writers usually have to have an entire manuscript … Read more

Mistake 50: Writing a Bad Query Letter

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: Query letters are sales tools. Plain and simple. To hook an agent … Read more

Mistake 49: Choosing Bad Titles

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer’s Digest Writing Kit Why this is a mistake: Novice writers often create titles that won’t make sense to anyone who … Read more

Hot Tip for Proposals #19

How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen When writing your outline, don’t write about the subject, write about the chapter. Write one line of outline for each page of manuscript … Read more

Hot Tip for Proposals #20

How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen At the beginning of your outline, use a quote, event, revelaton, anecdoe, statistic, idea, surprise, or joke to entice editors to read on.

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