October 2014 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting October 2nd
Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards—Deadline Coming Soon!
Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards—Deadline Coming Soon!
Hurry—submit your short story by October 15!
Submit your best short stories in the Romance, Thriller, Young Adult, Crime, Horror or Science Fiction genres for a chance at the Popular Fiction Awards Grand Prize of $2,500 cash and a trip to the 2015 Writer’s Digest Conference!
Enter as many stories as you like in multiple genres, but all entries must be fewer than 4,000 words. Don’t delay—this could be your winning year!
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.
Are you writing a short story? The first short story I ever wrote was in the 6th grade. It was about a fictitious solar system of salad toppings. No joke. I remember pacing around the house, dictating ideas, plot and dialogue into my mom’s hand-held tape recorder and, eventually, piecing it all together into a short story that earned me an A. Looking back, it was one of my proudest moments as a young student—and as a young writer. With that memory poking at my brain today, I decided to round up several excellent articles on writing short stories. Read more
Most short stories illumine a single dark corner, narrowly circumscribed. They follow the time-revered rule: Limit your short story to a specific time, place, event, interaction or character’s evolution. But the short … Read more
Author and editor L. Rust Hills once said, “The sinister thing about writing is that it starts off seeming so easy and ends up being so hard.” If only this quote weren’t true. But it is. However, we picture book writers are lucky. We have seven wonderful techniques to help us organize our plots and hold our stories together. Read more
Nothing is worse than getting in the first edition of our new issue, opening it up and finding a giant grammar mistake plain as day. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it blows my mind. “How did that happen? We read the issue 5 times each, hired an extra copy editor and even used the Microsoft WORD’s spell check (which never misses a mistake, right?).” Read more
In this brief exercise, Douglas Preston, co-author of the bestselling Pendergast novels (Relic) and The Monster of Florence, challenges writers to really write what they know to take their thrillers to the … Read more
As anyone who’s ever tried to come up with one of those vital one-sentence pitches for their book knows, getting it right can be maddening. Here, courtesy of bestseller Jon Land, is … Read more
JOHN SCALZI is the author of several science fiction novels, including the bestselling Old Man’s War series, comprising Old Man’s War, The Ghost Brigades, and The Last Colony. He is a winner … Read more
ZZ Packer is the author of the short-story collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, a PEN/Faulkner finalist that was selected for the “Today” show book club by John Updike. Her stories have appeared in … Read more
Donald Miller is the author of multiple New York Times Bestsellers including Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. He has served on the Presidential Task Force on … Read more
Jeannette Walls is the author of The Glass Castle, a memoir with more than 3 million copies in print, and Half Broke Horses, a bestselling true-life novel based on her grandmother. She … Read more
Kristin Hannah (kristinhannah.com) is The New York Times bestselling author of 18 novels, including the blockbusters Firefly Lane, True Colors and Winter Garden, and, most recently, Night Road. You’ve said the seed … Read more
Depicting convincing relationships could just be the key to writing better characters. Try these 8 ways to do it.
by Elizabeth Sims
Getting the full value out of every word you write is especially important when it comes to the short story. Here are four techniques to help you make each word count.
In crafting a short story, let’s begin by taking our definition of plot and letting it guide us. This approach can guide you in composing a short story that creates the emotional and intellectual experience your reader hopes for.
By John Dufresne
Spotlight author Julia Cameron made her mark on writing workshops everywhere with her ground-breaking guide, The Artist’s Way. Boost your creativity with a peek at a few of her famous techniques. Read more
Don’t miss the chance to learn even more of No. 1 New York Times bestseller Sarah Dessen’s insights on what it takes to make it writing for today’s young readers.
Read the grand-prize short story from the sixth annual WD Popular Fiction Awards, and learn more success strategies from winning thriller writer Marissa Gabel.
Read the grand-prize short story from the sixth annual WD Popular Fiction Awards here.
You’ve got a great idea—but how can you tell if it’s weighty enough for a novel, or would work best as a short story? Here are five key factors to consider.
by Elizabeth Sims
Writers who leverage their skills as copy editors can earn bigger paychecks, diversify their portfolios and spend more time doing what they love. Learn how you could be one of them.
by Rebecca Smith Hurd
At some point in writing your novel, you have to start thinking about “chaptering,” the process of deciding exactly when and where your chapter breaks will go. Here are three simple, essential techniques that can help you make effective chapter pauses.
by Aaron Elkins
Award-winning writing, quick-witted characters and the kind of suspense every reader craves—his books may be classified under mystery or thriller, but Harlan Coben seems to have it all. And he’s willing to share his secrets.
by Jessica Strawser