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Creative Nonfiction Writing

Nonfiction covers everything from history and cooking to self help and travel. Here you’ll find learn how to master nonfiction writing, how to conduct good research, collect data, and convey a sense of authority in your work – no matter what you choose to write.

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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Feeds Test

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More Big 10 Writer

As part of Writer’s Digest magazine’s special September “Big 10 Issue”, we whipped up a set of tongue-in-cheek staff listings to run in the InkWell section. And we had so much fun compiling the staff picks that we couldn’t stop there.
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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

Write Personal Without Hurting Your Relationships

Concerned that friends and family will be upset by what you write about them (even if it’s in the context of your life)? These tips gleaned from top essayists may keep you from ending up in a sticky situation with your writing.

by Kim Schworm Acosta
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Evoke Emotions in Your Readers

Based on the amateur memoirs I’ve read, I think the most common mistake—the mistake most likely to damage the readability of your book—is becoming a slave to chronology.

by Steve Zousmer
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5 Ways to Start Your Memoir on the Right Foot

It’s often said that there are a million ways to tell a story—and thus a million ways to start one. So how do you generate a good starting idea? First, you need to be aware of your choices.

by Steve Zousmer
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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 Weave in Backstory to Reveal Character

Creating characters’ backstories before you start writing is crucial because you’ll want to determine each one’s past experiences and the repercussions these experiences will have on your story before you begin. Here’s a close look at the different ways you can introduce backstory.

by Rachel Ballon
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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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11 Plot Pitfalls – And How to Rescue Your Story From Them

We’ve all been there: basking in the glow of a finished manuscript, only to read it over and realize something is wrong with the plot. Finding ourselves unable to identify the problem only makes matters worse. But take heart! Here are some common plot gaffes and sensible ways to revise without starting over.

by Laura Whitcomb

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9 Steps to Standing Out in Your Cover Letter

A solid cover letter ensures your first impression isn’t your last.

by Susan Shapiro

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Black Cod with Green Tomatoes

Here’s an excerpt from The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook, the grand-prize winner of the 2008 Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards.

by Amelia Saltsman Read more

The Roeder Report:
Fiction to Film

How to Write Fiction That’s Ready For the Big Screen.

by Jason Roeder Read more

The Anatomy of a Writer’s Website

Whether you build it yourself or hire a designer, your website can do more than bring you into the 21st century—it can be an invaluable part of your marketing arsenal.

by Linda Formichelli Read more

On The Edge: The Happiness Craze

A new wave of books about a timeless topic hope to help you—and their eclectic authors—live a better life.
 
by Linda Formichelli Read more

November is National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo’s Chris Baty shares five tips for writing your book in a month.

by Chris Baty Read more

The Roeder Report:
Escaping the Slush Pile

Your novel is finished. If you’re like most writers, you put months, maybe years, into writing it and then you proofread it through the envelope on the way to the post office. But then what? What happens between the moment you send the manuscript off and the moment some intern turns a flamethrower on it? You might have heard that it sits atop a stack of nuisance submissions called a “slush pile.” But that’s not actually true—it’s probably not on top of the pile.

by Jason Roeder Read more

Principles of Building a Story

Read "Principles of Building of a Story" from From First Draft to Finished Novel. Read more

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 are grammatically correct. Some of these bad sentences might even be yours.

by Bonnie Trenga Read more

Challenging the Limits of Memory

In this excerpt from Writing Life Stories, Bill Roorbach teaches you how to pay attention to and translate your memories and how to overcome your resistance to remembered places and events. Read more

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