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Writing Short Stories & Essay Writing

Writing short stories, fiction and essays isn’t easy – in fact, the relative brevity of these pieces can make them even more challenging to create. Inside you’ll learn the best techniques for doing it well, and using those pieces as a springboard for lengthier works.

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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The 7 Biggest Myths of Publishing (Know the Truth)

A veteran author tells you, writer to writer, what getting published is really like—and confronts the seven biggest myths.

by Elizabeth Sims

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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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Creating Characters: 4 Simple Exercises

Here are 4 simple exercises to help you invent characters for your fiction.

by Nancy Kress
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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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5 Easy Tips to Strengthen Your Scenes

Here are some simple techniques for revising scenes so your edifice will stand the test of time.

by James Scott Bell

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Michael Crichton’s Top 5 Writing Lessons

Karen Dionne, author of Freezing Point, reveals what her late hero, Michael Crichton, taught her about crafting solid fiction.

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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

Beginnings

Read chapter 9, "Beginnings," from The Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction, Volume 1: Building Blocks Read more

Steve Berry’s 8 Rules of Writing

Bestselling thriller writer Steve Berry says there are eight key rules that all writers must know and follow. Read more

Don’t Use Adverbs and Adjectives to Prettify Your Prose

Learn how adjective and adverbs create redundancy and promote lazy writing and see how you can make your writing direct, vivid, and descriptive without making your readers want to get rid of your book.

by William Noble

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Fiction: Point of View

How many times have you heard this around the workshop table: “Why don’t you consider a new point of view?” (Actually, the term used more often is “POV” because it sounds a lot cooler, I suspect.) Everyone then agrees that a new POV might help matters, including the writer, who knew something was wrong and is now relieved to have a likely suspect.
by Steve Almond Read more

From First Draft to Finish Novel

A Writer’s Guide to Cohesive Story Building Read more

Defining and Developing Your Anti-Hero

Anti-heros are the bastards of fiction—those bad guys readers love to hate and hate to love. Find out whats makes a memorable anti-hero tick in this excerpt from Bullies, Bastards & Bitches by Jessica Page Morrell. Read more

Dirty Little Secrets

Marsha Brantley of Cleveland , Tenn., took second place in The 8th-Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Read more

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. 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

Publish Your First Book After 50

Who says publishing is a young person’s game? Here are an agent’s tips for writing and publishing well into your golden years.

By Scott Hoffman
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The Popular Fiction Report

What’s hot in Mystery/ Crime, Romance, Horror, Thriller/ Suspense and Science Fiction/ Fantasy? Find out in this comprehensive genre-by-genre market report.

PLUS: A breakdown of fiction sub-genres and their definitions. Read more

E-mail Journals Made Easy!

Collect the e-mail gems you write and receive, and gather a precious diary of your life, as expressed to your cyber-pals. Read more

Reflect on Where You’re Going

Jump off the hamster wheel of life by using your writing time to find the path to a fulfilling future. Read more

Finding Your Inside Time

Dump your worries and obligations onto paper. Clear your mind, and start living the life you envisioned. Read more

Storytelling Medicine

A New Hampshire hospital is recording the stories of its elder patients—for healing and history. Read more

In Search of a Name

To name is a powerful act. Title your journal — and the years you live. Read more

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