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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.

How to Take Your Short Stories to the Next Level

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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

How to Broaden Your Short Story’s Scope

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

7 Ways to Structure Your Picture Book

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

7 Grammar Blunders to Avoid

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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

One Simple Question All Writers Should Ask Themselves

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

One Simple Way to Sharpen Your Pitch

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

Science-Fiction Author John Scalzi Explains How Not to Be Boring

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

Selling Short Story Short: An Interview with ZZ Packer

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

When the Story You’re Writing Isn’t Working: An Interview with Donald Miller

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

Memoir Spotlight: Jeannette Walls

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

Women’s Fiction Spotlight: Kristin Hannah

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

Historical Fiction Spotlight: Paula McLain

Paula McLain’s latest book is the bestselling The Paris Wife, a fictional account of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage and upstart years in 1920s Paris, told from the point of view of his … Read more

Humor Phenom Justin Halpern’s (Sh*t My Dad Says) Uncensored Insights Into Writing

In 2009, Justin Halpern created a Twitter account to archive his father’s expletive-ridden words of wisdom. Within a month, @shitmydadsays was an Internet sensation. Halpern’s first book, Sh*t My Dad Says, a … Read more

8 Ways to Write Better Characters

Depicting convincing relationships could just be the key to writing better characters. Try these 8 ways to do it.

by Elizabeth Sims

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Plot Like a Bestseller: 8 Things You Should Know

What’s the key to plotting a hit book? Well, just ask William Bernhardt, who hit The New York Times bestseller list with his Ben Kincaid series. As Bernhardt revealed in his CraftFest … Read more

4 Ways to Make Every Word Count

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.
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How to Let Plot Guide Your Short Story

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
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The Artist

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

WD Interview Bonus Q&A: Sarah Dessen

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.
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Winner of the 6th Annual Writer

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.
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Read the grand-prize short story from the sixth annual WD Popular Fiction Awards here.
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Should You Write a Novel or Short Story?

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

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Get Paid to be a Word Nerd

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

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3 Ways to Know When to End Your Chapters

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
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Twist Ending Tips From Harlan Coben

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
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