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Writing Your First Draft

You have a great opening. You’re pretty sure you have a terrific ending. But the middle? It drags! Maybe you’re even starting to lose interest. Well look here for the help you need in making that middle just as compelling as the rest of the story – exciting enough that you’re compelled to finish, and finish well! We’ll also teach you how to write a novel in three months or fewer.

Take Your Novel to the Finish Line

You need stamina to transform that out-of-shape first draft into a story with staying power. Use these 4 revision strategies to make your novel go the distance.

by Lin Enger
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Your Essential Synopsis Checklist

Here are the essential specs for a successful synopsis. Bookmark this page and always cross-reference before sending out any synopsis.
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10 Synopsis Dos and Don’ts

Here are 10 keys to creating a successful synopsis. Read more

Your Guide To An Effective Novel Synopsis

Writers often find that the synopsis is the most difficult component of their novel submission package. Here we break it down for you so you can spend less time stressing and more time writing. 

by Chuck Sambuchino and the Editors of Writer’s Digest Books

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179 Ways to Save a Novel

Matters of vital concern to fiction writers.
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Rescuing Your Story From Cliche

In this excerpt from 179 Ways to Save a Novel, author Peter Selgin discusses ways to defeat the writer’s sworn enemy: the cliche.  Read more

10 Query Letter No-Nos

Here are 10 common query letter mistakes that could get your idea rejected.

by Ann Rittenberg
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Basics of a Solid 3-Paragraph Query

Here are the tools you need to write a query letter that sets you apart from the pack.

by Ann Rittenberg

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How to Make Your Novel a Page Turner

Never underestimate the power of suspense—in any genre. Use these surefire techniques to make your  book one readers won’t be able to put down.

by Elizabeth Sims

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Finish Your Novel in 4 Simple Steps

You need stamina to transform that out-of-shape first draft into a story with staying power. Use these 4 revision strategies to make your novel go the distance.

By Lin Enger
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Writer’s Digest Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy

Everything needed to learn invaluable and timeless techniques for writing science fiction and fantasy, as well as tips for building an entirely new and believable world.
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How to Channel Passion in Your Writing

Transposing your own powerful feelings, opinions, joys and sadness to your characters, every day, is the way to instill in your pages the wisdom that is living inside your novel—and you.

by Donald Maass Read more

Mitch Albom Explains the Art of Storytelling

Reflecting on his career and looking ahead to the release of what he calls his most important book, Mitch Albom attributes his diverse body of work to one skill: storytelling.


by Melissa Hill

 

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Write Personal Without Hurting Your Relationships

Concerned that friends and family will be upset by what you write about them (even if it’s in the context of your life)? These tips gleaned from top essayists may keep you from ending up in a sticky situation with your writing.

by Kim Schworm Acosta
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7 Tips to Land The Perfect Title for Your Novel

The trick to a great title is to find a happy balance between the all-too-forgettable and the truly over-the-top. You want to choose something that makes your readers think: What a fantastic title! Why didn’t I come up with it? Here’s how to do just that.

by Jacob M. Appel
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Audrey Niffenegger Explains How To Create a Good Story

How do you follow up a smash hit like The Time Traveler’s Wife? For artist and author Audrey Niffenegger, it all comes down to embracing the freedom to create—on your own terms.

by Jessica Strawser

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Publishing 101: What You Need to Know

Here’s your step-by-step guide to the publishing process–how it works, why you need to know and how you can play an influential role in your book’s success.

by Jerry D. Simmons
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Anne Tyler’s Tips on Writing Strong (yet Flawed) Characters

With a body of work spanning five decades, a Pulitzer Prize and membership in the Academy of Arts and Letters, Anne Tyler is a testament to the best kind of longevity—and the purity of the written word.

by Jessica Strawser
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A Checklist for Developing Your Hero and Heroine

Answer the following questions for each of your main characters to help figure out how each one fits in your novel.

by Leigh Michaels
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How to Weave in Backstory to Reveal Character

Creating characters’ backstories before you start writing is crucial because you’ll want to determine each one’s past experiences and the repercussions these experiences will have on your story before you begin. Here’s a close look at the different ways you can introduce backstory.

by Rachel Ballon
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Creating Characters: 4 Simple Exercises

Here are 4 simple exercises to help you invent characters for your fiction.

by Nancy Kress
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Writing Advice from Stephen King & Jerry Jenkins

One is arguably the best-known writer of our time. The other made his name writing the end of the world as we know it in the left behind series. If this unique pairing seems unlikely, look closer. A conversation with the two yields both parallels and polarity—and candid insights as well as mutual respect.

by Jessica Strawser
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The Constant Art of Being a Writer

The Life, Art and Business of Fiction
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9 Ways to Write Yourself Out of a Slump

Push forward your writing (and your career) even when the phone isn’t ringing.

by Art Spikol
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11 Plot Pitfalls – And How to Rescue Your Story From Them

We’ve all been there: basking in the glow of a finished manuscript, only to read it over and realize something is wrong with the plot. Finding ourselves unable to identify the problem only makes matters worse. But take heart! Here are some common plot gaffes and sensible ways to revise without starting over.

by Laura Whitcomb

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