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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.

18th Annual Self-Published Book Awards Winners – Inspirational

Announcing the Inspirational winners of the 18th Annual Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards.
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More from Nancy Kress, author of Beginnings, Middles, & Ends

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Extended Interviews With 20 Writers With Day Jobs

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The Very Beginning: Your Opening Scene

In this excerpt from Chapter 1: The Very Beginning: Your Opening Scene from Nancy Kress’s Elements of Fiction Writing: Beginnings, Middles, & Ends, you’ll learn:
  • why it’s so important to establish your story’s promise
  • how to establish strong characters
  • tactics to make sure readers keep reading.

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Beginnings, Middles, & Ends

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.

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Q&A With Nancy Kress

Read an exclusive Q&A with Nancy Kress, author of Elements of Fiction Writing: Beginnings, Middles, & Ends.
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Take Back Your Lunch Hour

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

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Writer With a Day Job

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

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How to Craft Compelling Characters

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
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Finding Your Memoir’s Voice

Literary agent Paula Balzer discussed finding your voice in this excerpt from her book WRITING & SELLING YOUR MEMOIR. Read more

Online Exclusive: Stock Your Bookshelves the Pat Conroy Way

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
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10 Ways to Start Your Story Better

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
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How to Amp up Dialogue with Emotional Beats

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
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3 Secrets to Great Storytelling

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

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Make Money Freelancing – Premium Collection

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

8 Ways to Write a 5-Star Chapter One

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

Quick Guide to Commas

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The Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference

Be confident in your grammar with The Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference by Gary Lutz and Diane Steveson.
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Using Adjectives

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.

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Write your Essay the Reader-Friendly Way

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
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How to Edit Your Dialogue

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
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Interview with 18th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Books Award Winner Weldon Long

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
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WD Interview Bonus Q&A: Emma Donoghue

In this bonus exclusive, Emma Donoghue, author of Room, shares her thoughts on researching, plotting and writing for multiple genres.

by Jessica Strawser
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Find an Agent and Get Published! – Premium Collection

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

How to Balance Action, Narrative and Dialogue in Your Novel

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
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