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How to Improve Writing Skills

You have the drive, you have the passion, and you’re more than willing to put in the time it takes to finish a manuscript. But you also want to make sure your work is clean, compelling, and perfectly structured. Help for doing just that can be found right here.

Anne Tyler’s Tips on Writing Strong (yet Flawed) Characters

With a body of work spanning five decades, a Pulitzer Prize and membership in the Academy of Arts and Letters, Anne Tyler is a testament to the best kind of longevity—and the purity of the written word.

by Jessica Strawser
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Spotlight on Backspace

Learn the best ways to get connected, hone your skills and build your career on the Web in this expanded Q&A with the founders of Backspace. Read more

Spotlight on Authonomy

Learn the best ways to get connected, hone your skills and build your career on the Web in this expanded Q&A with the founders of Authonomy. Read more

Spotlight on Writing.com

Learn the best ways to get connected, hone your skills and build your career on the Web in this expanded Q&A with the founders of Writing.com.
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Spotlight on NaNoWriMo.org

Learn the best ways to get connected, hone your skills and build your career on the Web in this expanded Q&A with the founder of NaNoWriMo.org.
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Secrets to Success in Online Writing Communities

Learn the best ways to get connected, hone your skills and build your career on the Web in these expanded Q&As with the founders of the leading sites.

Compiled by Jessica Strawser

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Craft True-to-Life Nonfiction Characters

Many of the same techniques for writing characters in fiction apply to nonfiction: Through detail, through gesture, through talk, through close understanding of whole lives before and after the scope of your story, you make your people vivid in your reader’s head.

by Bill Roorbach with Kristen Keckler
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Create the (IM)perfect Heroic Couple

How exactly do you go about uniting your hero and heroine? When creating the perfect romantic couple, consider the following.

by Leigh Michaels
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A Checklist for Developing Your Hero and Heroine

Answer the following questions for each of your main characters to help figure out how each one fits in your novel.

by Leigh Michaels
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Writing Exercise: Fiction Techniques for Nonfiction Characters

Try these writing exercises to improve the quality of your nonfiction characters.

by Bill Roorbach with Kristen Keckler Read more

Use Method Writing to Learn About Your Characters

Good writers must also prepare themselves in advance for developing their fictional characters by going inside themselves. Enter method writing.

by Rachel Ballon
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Quick Tip: Use Causal Writing to Connect the Dots

Causal writing connects the beginning of your story to the end, meaning that each scene and chapter you write builds naturally from the one before it and causes the scene or chapter that follows. Here’s how to successfully do it.

by Rachel Ballon

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Draw Characters From The Strongest Sources

Every drama requires a cast. The cast may be so huge or it may be an intimate cast of two. Where do you get these people, and how do you know they’ll make good characters? Here are the four key sources you’ll need to create great characters.

by Nancy Kress
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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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Celebrating 90 Years of WD:
Cult Classics

In 2010, Writer’s Digest will turn 90. To celebrate, we’ll be counting down to our nonagenarian years with a look back at WD history. In the September issue, we took a nostalgic look at how writers known for their cult followings have been reflected in our pages since 1920. The retrospective continues here.
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Query Clinic: Example of a Great Query Letter

Looking to switch agents? Here’s one author who succeeded with a gracefully written letter.  Plus: her new agent’s insights on what made it work.

by Lori Perkins
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Quick Tips for Building a Bio

Of all the materials you’ll utilize in becoming known, your short bio is the one you’ll use and update the most. By highlighting your credibility in your field and showcasing you as the experienced professional that you are, it succinctly tells people what you know and why they should listen to you.

by Christina Katz

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10 Rules for Writing Opinion Pieces

Freelance on the fly by mastering the opinion piece.

by Susan Shapiro

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Writing Advice from Stephen King & Jerry Jenkins

One is arguably the best-known writer of our time. The other made his name writing the end of the world as we know it in the left behind series. If this unique pairing seems unlikely, look closer. A conversation with the two yields both parallels and polarity—and candid insights as well as mutual respect.

by Jessica Strawser
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The Constant Art of Being a Writer

The Life, Art and Business of Fiction
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Write Like Rick Steves: Travel Writer Extraordinaire

Wanderlust, business savvy and a “magical, all-alone private Stonehenge”: How Rick Steves became the world’s most trusted travel writer.

by Zachary Petit
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Celebrating 90 Years of WD: American History

In 2010, Writer’s Digest will turn 90. To celebrate, we’ll be counting down to our nonagenarian years with a look back at WD history. In the July/August issue, we took a nostalgic look at how American History has been reflected in our pages since 1920. The retrospective continues here.
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Learning to Be a Writer

Succeeding in an MFA program requires equal parts compulsion,
commitment and talent.

by Lin Enger
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The WD Interview:
James Patterson

To a bestselling author, the words “brand” and “factory” might not sound like terms of endearment. But James Patterson has more stories to tell—and 100 million readers behind him to help soften the blow.

by Diana Page Jordan

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