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Humor & Comedy Writing

Writing funny is one of the hardest forms of the craft. You may have a great sense of humor, but capturing that in your writing takes skill and practice. Here you’ll learn techniques for doing just that – comedy writing.

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 tedious as a bowl of plum pudding. Read more

How to Resurrect a Stalled Manuscript

Is your manuscript stuck? Take a break from completing your fiction project and diagnose it. Here’s how to take your manuscript into its next phase: completion. Read more

Reject a Hit: Romeo & Juliet

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 hits have had to endure? For this special edition of Reject a Hit, WD readers took our online challenge to rebuff Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet—in just one line. Here are 10 of our favorite faux editorial snubs. Read more

10 Ways to Improve Your Writing While Thinking Like a Comedy Writer

Do you have the SWEATS: Serious Writer Experiencing Anxiety and Timidity Syndrome? If so, you don’t need medication to cope with your ailment—all you need is a shot of Comedy Writing 101. Here is a 10-part breakdown of how to write better and avoid the SWEATS. Read more

50 Simple Ways to Build Your Platform in 5 Minutes a Day

If you’re the kind of writer who prefers being read and selling your work as opposed to being an unknown starving writer (who doesn’t?), here are 50 quick, simple ways to launch your platform into action and climb your way to success. Read more

Reject A Hit: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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 issue’s contribution comes from Kristina Wojtaszek, who tackled Eric Carle’s children’s classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Read more

The Downside to DIY Publishing

For those of you curious about the world of do-it-yourself publishing, here are a few (humorous) questions you might want to ask yourself before you decide, as I did, to publish your own books. Read more

3 Tips for Consistent Tone

If you find yourself having a difficult time sustaining one tone over a long work, try these three tricks. Read more

How to Be an Online Critique Geek

Can a virtual critique group really be as good as meeting face to face? If you make the most of the format, it could be even better. Here’s how. Read more

Reject a Hit: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

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 issue’s contribution comes from Kerreanna DiMauro of Waltham, Mass., who had WD editors in stitches over her fictional editor’s delightful misread of the classic Frankenstein. Read more

A List of Funny Words to Help You Writing Funnier Stories

Some words just make us laugh, even though we might not consciously know why. Try using one of these time-tested terms when it fits. Read more

How to Write Better Using Humor

A man walks into a bookstore. “Where’s the self-help section?” he asks the clerk. She shrugs and replies, “If I tell you, won’t that defeat the purpose?” —Anonymous Humor is an integral … Read more

Humor Phenom Justin Halpern’s (Sh*t My Dad Says) Uncensored Insights Into Writing

In 2009, Justin Halpern created a Twitter account to archive his father’s expletive-ridden words of wisdom. Within a month, @shitmydadsays was an Internet sensation. Halpern’s first book, Sh*t My Dad Says, a … Read more

Reject a Hit: J.K. Rowling

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 time we take on J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame.
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Reject a Hit: Dr. Seuss

This issue’s contribution comes from Donna Cameron of Brier, Wash., who charmed WD editors with her imaginative rendering of a rejection to a man whose stories would become staples on every child’s bookshelf. Read more

Bob, The Column: On Conquering Criticism

Humor writer Bob Woodiwiss, author of The Serfitt & Cloye Gift Catalog: Just Enough of Too Much, takes a funny look criticism.
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How to “Up the Stakes” for Your Main Character

Don’t be afraid to make things hard on your characters. You should always come up with several different problems to choose from. Here are 3 ways to do that.

by Victoria Lynn Schmidt
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Quick Tip: How to Develop Your Characters

Here are 4 quick exercises to make sure your characters speak to readers (and agents).
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Motivate Your Characters Like a Pro

In his session “The Psychology of Character Motivation,” Edgar-nominated author D.P. Lyle, MD, shared this invaluable exercise for developing your characters’ motivations as your story unfolds.

by Jessica Strawser, reporting from ThrillerFest 2010 (New York City)
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Rescuing Your Story From Cliche

In this excerpt from 179 Ways to Save a Novel, author Peter Selgin discusses ways to defeat the writer’s sworn enemy: the cliche.  Read more

Audrey Niffenegger Explains How To Create a Good Story

How do you follow up a smash hit like The Time Traveler’s Wife? For artist and author Audrey Niffenegger, it all comes down to embracing the freedom to create—on your own terms.

by Jessica Strawser

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Publishing 101: What You Need to Know

Here’s your step-by-step guide to the publishing process–how it works, why you need to know and how you can play an influential role in your book’s success.

by Jerry D. Simmons
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How to Build a Marketing Platform

Here are 10 simple steps that will take your visibility from zero to standout in a short time, while also giving you ample opportunities to flex your expertise, carve out your niche topic and connect with your audience.

by Christina Katz

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A Writer’s Guide to Social Networking

Find out how hopping on the social networking bandwagon can actually help you stand out to agents, editors and potential readers.

by the Writer’s Digest staff
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The Roeder Report:
You Can Write a Humor Book

Reader, you’re hilarious. This has been verified by your mother, a co-worker who says you’re one of the 20 funniest people he knows, and the stand-up comedy teacher who will tell you anything to get you to catch his set at the smaller of two mini-golf snack bars.

by Jason Roeder Read more

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