Writing Genres

Why I Published 4 Novels in 6 Months

Hi, WD community! Today we’re sharing a guest post from J.E. Fishman, a former editor and literary agent turned author. He has penned Dynamite: A Concise History of the NYPD Bomb Squad and the novels Primacy, Cadaver Blues, and The Dark Pool. His Bomb Squad NYC series of police thrillers launches this month with A Danger to Himself and Others, Death March, and The Long Black...

Writing a Screenplay: Using Structure to Develop Your Ideas

The following is a guest blog post by Fred Perry. Fred won first place in the screenplay category in the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. He has also received script requests, optioned three features, and won eight screenplay competitions. Today, he’ll tell you how to start a screenplay and share his story of...

The Horror Genre: On Writing Horror and Avoiding Clichés

“The three types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights...

On Writing Romance

Writing Gender-Specific Dialogue

Writing dialogue to suit the gender of your characters is important in any genre, but it becomes even more essential in romance writing. In a romance novel, characters of opposite sexes are often paired up or pitted against each other in relationships with varying degrees of complication. Achieving differentiation in the tones and spoken...

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

A new year, a new writerly you. New Year’s Day is a time for reflecting on the past year while thinking about the goals, wishes, and hopes for the new year ahead. What does this mean for your writing goals? Maybe 2013 is the year you finish your novel. Maybe it’s the year you...

How to Write a Reader-Friendly Essay

Powerful, surprising, and fascinating personal essays are also “reader-friendly essays” that keep the reader squarely in focus. So how do you go about writing one? In this excerpt from Crafting the Personal Essay, author Dinty W. Moore shares a variety of methods for crafting an essay that keeps the reader’s desires and preferences in...

Reject a Hit: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Let’s step once again into the role of the unconvinced, perhaps even curmudgeonly or fool-hearted editor: What harsh rejection letters might the authors of some of our favorite hit books have had to endure? This contribution comes from Chris Gay of Manchester, Conn., who found Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol to be as...

Writing for the Young Adult Audience

There’s no question about it: The young adult (YA) audience is a hot market, one that is steadily growing in popularity and garnering attention from young readers as well as literary critics. This means that this market is healthier than ever–and so is the competition for getting published. So what are the keys to...

4 Ways to Revise as You Write

Writers differ in their opinions of the revision process. Some balk at it–they see it as the “no fun” part of writing, and much prefer drafting and creation to fixing and rethinking. Other writers embrace the process and consider it an act of strengthening, polishing, and ultimately making their novel the best it can...

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...

careers for english majors | freelance writing skills

The 3 Skills Every Successful Freelance Writer Must Have

Today’s writing tip discusses freelancing for a living. If you are thinking about becoming a freelance writer and wondering what skills you need to survive within the freelancing world, today’s writing tip from I’m an English Major–Now What? can help. Whether you are writing, editing, or both, being a freelancer is a challenging enterprise....

Writing 21st Century Fiction: A Sneak Peek

Donald Maass, bestselling author of Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction, now takes an in-depth, comprehensive look at the craft and method of writing 21st century fiction. You might be asking, “What exactly is 21st century fiction?” Read this exclusive sneak peek from Writing 21st Century Fiction to find out: Change...

Questions to Ask (& Strengthen) Your Minor Characters

If your supporting characters aren’t working toward an understanding of the main character or situation in some way, you might ask yourself what they’re really doing there, hogging time and space in your book. Here are questions to ask about your minor characters to make sure they have a purpose.

fiction writing | getting published

The 21 Key Traits of Best-Selling Fiction

Do you wonder want readers want? In today’s writing tip, you’ll discover the 21 key traits of best-selling fiction excerpted from The Writer’s Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr. The 21 Key Traits of Best-Selling Fiction Utility (writing about things that people will use in their lives) Information (facts people must have to...

Meet the Real Andre Dubus III

He did not set out to follow in his famous father’s footsteps, nor is he as dark and brooding as his own House of Sand and Fog. And those are just the first of many things that will surprise you about the bestseller.

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...