November/December 2013 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting December 5th
Is Your Manuscript Publication-Ready?
Is Your Manuscript Publication-Ready?
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2nd Draft provides a high-level review of your writing, pointing out reasons your work may be getting rejected, or may not meet the standards of traditional publication.
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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.
When my father was a little boy, one of the last of the touring vaudeville companies came through his podunk town, and he got to see the show. The centerpiece was a … Read more
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. All … Read more
1. WRITE MINI BIOS FOR YOUR DREAM CAST Make a list of characters you either might want to write about or have begun to write about. Three or four will do. Fill … Read more
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 … Read more
In the English countryside they have stone walls to keep in the sheep. Some of these walls have been around for centuries, and they’re amazing architectural achievements. The flat stones are not … Read more
Think velociraptors on distant islands. Murderous gorillas guarding fields of diamonds. Dramatic doctors tending to trauma patients galore. Even if you never read him, you probably recognize the intense imagery he created … Read more
Download all of chapter 9 as a PDF. RON CARLSON interviewed by Susan McInnis For those who aren’t familiar with it, Kotzebue is stark and wind-riven. It lies on a spit of … Read more
At the Maui Writers Conference, bestselling thriller writer Steve Berry says there are eight key rules that all writers must know and follow: 1. There are no rules. You can do anything … Read more
Some years ago the fine short story writer Raymond Carver offered recollections about learning to write from teacher and novelist John Gardner. “I remember him as being very patient,” Carver wrote in … Read more
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 … Read more
Buy book | Amazon | BN.com From First Draft to Finished Novel A Writer’s Guide to Cohesive Story Building by Karen S. Wiesner Writer’s Digest Books, 2008 ISBN 978-1-58297-551-1 $19.99 paperback, 272 … Read more
If you dare to write about less-than-charming characters, you don’t need to redeem them with an ending in which they see the error of their ways, mend their faults, and allow their … Read more
Daddy always said that seeing a crow first thing in the morning was bad luck. The morning Gladys Hodge came to our house; the power lines were full of crows. The sun … Read more
With the emergency room’s lights beaming down, I reach into the gaping hole I made in the side of her chest. The incision, 20 centimeters from under her nipple, following the rib-line … Read more
If you’re an older author trying to break into the publishing industry, it can be remarkably depressing to constantly hear the latest buzz about breakout novels from writers who aren’t even old … Read more
(Note: For a further breakdown and more precise definitions of fiction sub-genres, click here.) Mystery/Crime The pros in the mystery/crime genre are all a little wary these days, and for good reason: … Read more
The top of the dune seemed unreachable. Treading through soft sand and sliding backward with every step, I could make no headway. I retraced my steps to seek another route and came … Read more
From time to time, all personal essayists, however successful, worry that people will not be interested in what they have to say precisely because it is “just personal experience.” In his introduction … Read more
Here are several ways to fuel creative infernos: “Get five rejections in a day. This is an output goal. I hope to have enough manuscripts out that I hear from five publishers … Read more
At some point, we are all touched by grief. We lose someone dear to us, someone irreplaceable, someone whose passing leaves a deep void in our lives. The grief can seem overwhelming, … Read more