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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.

    How to Make Your Novel a Page Turner

    Never underestimate the power of suspense—in any genre. Use these surefire techniques to make your  book one readers won’t be able to put down.

    by Elizabeth Sims

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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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    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


    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

    In Search of a Name

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

    A Pep Talk for Essayists

    Strive to have your essays evoke your connection to the world, and you will grab readers’ empathy, affection and attention. Read more

    Eleven Tips for Priming Your Creativity

    Here are several ways to fuel creative infernos. Read more

    Journaling Through Grief

    Losing a child is devastating. Here’s the story of one mother who journaled through her sorrow and created a lasting tribute to her baby girl. Read more

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