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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.
Find out more about Elements of Fiction Writing: Beginnings, Middles, & Ends by Nancy Kress.
- Hook readers, agents, and editors in the first three paragraphs.
- Make and keep your story’s implicit promise to the reader.
- Build drama and credibility by controlling your prose.
In this excerpt from Chapter 4: Writers, Take Back Your Lunch Hour from Áine Greaney’s Writer With a Day Job, you’ll learn:
- how to make your lunch hour work for you
- the most effective ways to organize your time at lunch
- how much you can really expect to get done in an hour
In Writer With a Day Job by Áine Greaney
- Learn how to balance a day job and a writing life
- Find exercises, inspiration, and techniques you need to build creative expression into your daily life.
- Get quick, practical tutorials to help you master scenes, point of view, characters, settings, dialogue, and more
To make characters seem real, you need to tap into what drives them. Use this foolproof method to bring the emotion of your story to life.
by David Corbett
Literary agent Paula Balzer discussed finding your voice in this excerpt from her book WRITING & SELLING YOUR MEMOIR. Read more
In this bonus online exclusive, Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini and other contemporary Southern classics) shares recollections and recommendations of some of his favorite bookstores, past and present, across his native South.
by Lynn Seldon
A good opening line is a powerful thing: It can grab an editor’s attention, set the tone for the rest of the piece, and make sure readers stay through The End. Here are 10 ways to steer your story toward success.
by Jacob M. Appel
Dialogue benefits from variety. A good way to maintain your reader’s interest is to insert a variety of beats into your dialogue. Beats are descriptions of physical action—minor or major—that fall between lines of speech. Try the following techniques to punch up your dialogue.
by Todd A. Stone
If you think you’ve heard all you need to know about what drives a plot, think again. Here’s the real stuff the best stories are made of.
by Steven James
Another month, another amazing premium collection offer. In both January and February, these limited edition kits sold out before their respective months were half over, and this month’s collection is sure to … Read more
When you decide to go to a restaurant for a special dinner, you enjoy the anticipation. You’ve committed to spending sufficient time and money, and now you’ve arrived, and the place looks … Read more
Be confident in your grammar with The Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference by Gary Lutz and Diane Steveson.
In this excerpt from chapter two: Modifiers and Other Parts of Speech from The Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference, you’ll learn:
- How to properly use adjectives.
- Learn how to avoid common grammatical errors.
Rules, as they say, are meant to be broken. But even groundbreakers learn by observing what has worked before. Let’s take a look at some examples that can help you break the rules in a meaningful and effective way.
by Dinty W. Moore
If dialogue wastes time and stops or delays your novel’s progress toward resolving the conflict, it must be cut, pared down or rewritten. Look for these areas in your manuscript, and you’ll find places where your dialogue should be revisited.
by Todd A. Stone
Weldon Long’s memoir, The Upside of Fear: How One Man Broke the Cycle of Prison, Poverty and Addiction, won the 18th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Books Awards. In this bonus coverage, Long talks about his long path toward writing success.
by Melissa Wuske
In this bonus exclusive, Emma Donoghue, author of Room, shares her thoughts on researching, plotting and writing for multiple genres.
by Jessica Strawser
In January, Writer’s Digest unleashed its Premium Collection kits with the Getting Started in Writing kit, which sold out before the month was half over. This month, half the Find an Agent … Read more
Most of the time, we want to balance our scenes using dialogue, action and narrative to engage readers at an emotional level and keep them hooked. Here’s how to do that.
by Gloria Kempton
To help you successfully complete your book in 30 days, here are nine worksheets to help you keep track of plot, scenes, characters and revisions. All of these worksheets originally appeared in Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt and were also featured in the special issue Write Your Novel in 30 Days.
No question about it, flash fiction is gaining popularity fast. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of taking the short way around.
by William Highsmith
My neighbor John loves to work on his hot rod. He’s an automotive whiz and tells me he can hear when something is not quite right with the engine. He doesn’t hesitate … Read more
In this excerpt from Career Patterns That Work from Donald Maass’s The Breakout Novelist, you’ll learn:
- How to get off to a good start
- How to answer the What should I be writing? question
- The best ways to build your audience