November/December 2014 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting October 23rd
- World-building in Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Writing Personal Essays 101
- Fundamentals of Nonfiction
- Essentials of Mystery Writing
- Creative Writing 101
- Breaking into Copywriting
- Query in 14 Days
Workshops Starting October 30th
- World-building in Science Fiction & Fantasy
How to Start Writing a Book, 1st Chapter
Sometimes there’s nothing worse for a writer than a blank screen, just waiting to be filled in. Here you’ll find guidelines, advice, and inspiration for taking those first steps from blank page to finished piece. You’ll also find resources to help you learn how to write a novel in three months or fewer and practical tips on writing a book made easy.
Any story or novel is, in essence, a series of scenes strung together like beads on a wire, with narrative summary adding texture and color between. A work of fiction will comprise many scenes, and each one of these individual scenes must be built with a structure most easily described as having a beginning, middle and end. The beginning of each scene is what we’ll address here. Read more
Download a 26-day countdown poster with energy boosting ideas to fuel your marathon and track your accomplishments from Day 1 to Day 26. Write-A-Thon Poster 8.5×11 Write-A-Thon Poster 11×17 … Read more
Q&A with Rochelle Melander, author of Write-A-Thon Need a speaker? Contact Rochelle to speak by phone with your critique group, NaNoWriMo region, or book group: firstname.lastname@example.org How many books have you written … Read more
Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Life to Tell About it) by Rochelle Melander Writer’s Digest Books, 2011 ISBN-13: 978-1-59963-391-6 ISBN-10: 1-59963-391-4 $16.99 paperback, 240 pages Buy the book! … Read more
The following are just a handful of suggested outlining techniques that may work for your writing. Which method is best suited for you? Find out here. Read more
A how-to is written as a sequence—first you do this, and then you do this. The essential question the writer asks herself when writing a how-to is, “What happens next?” If you are about to embark on a how-to, start at what you consider the beginning, and just keep answering that question over and over again. Before you know it, you will have sketched out a draft of a how-to article. Read more
The best writers never stop striving for ways to write better. Here, five masters of the craft share their secrets for honing the essentials, one technique at a time. 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
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
With so many great ideas, how do you organize them into some sort of coherent outline that will guide your writing? Here’s how.
by Laura Whitcomb
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
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
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
It takes a lot of energy to write a book and stay with it through drafts, revisions, submissions, rejections, sales and marketing. Many writers find the energy in the sheer joy of … 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.
Structural problems can sink a novel. Let’s look at 10 common plot problems and how to quickly fix them.
by Elizabeth Sims
Don’t be afraid to make things hard on your characters. You should always come up with several different problems to choose from. Here are 3 ways to do that.
by Victoria Lynn Schmidt
Here’s editor Anica Mrose Rissi’s list of what you can do to increase your book’s chances of making it out of the slush pile and into the spotlight.
by Anica Mrose Rissi
Here are 4 quick exercises to make sure your characters speak to readers (and agents).
All stories contain four elements that can determine structure: milieu, idea, character and event. Here’s a look at each one and how each will affect your novel.
by Orson Scott Card
In his session “The Psychology of Character Motivation,” Edgar-nominated author D.P. Lyle, MD, shared this invaluable exercise for developing your characters’ motivations as your story unfolds.
by Jessica Strawser, reporting from ThrillerFest 2010 (New York City)