Author Archives: Jess Zafarris

About Jess Zafarris

Jess Zafarris is the Director of Content Strategy and Online Content for Writer’s Digest and ScriptMag. Her eight years of experience in digital and print content direction includes such roles as editor-in-chief of HOW design magazine and online content director of HOW and PRINT, as well as writing for the Denver Business Journal, ABC News, and the Memphis Commercial Appeal. She spends much of her spare time researching curious word histories and writing about them at UselessEtymology.com. Follow her at @jesszafarris or @uselessety on Twitter, and sign up for her free weekly Writer's Digest Newsletter.

Give Them a Hand

Write a scene about a conversation or another interaction, and include a focus specifically on the characters' hands. Include the appearance of the hands, as well as the way they move and gesture. What do the hands say about the personalities involved?

Spent

He wasn't supposed to know about that $20,000 at all, yet somehow he got his hands on it—and spent all of it in less than an hour. What the **** are we going to do now?

Twice a Day

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Give some good advice from a completely unreliable source, and convince someone to take this advice.

4 Benefits of Joining a Writing Group

As a preview of their Writer's Digest Annual Conference panel, a thriving writing group composed of of Kimmery Martin, Bess Kercher, Trish Rohr and Tracy Curtis offer their thoughts about how the power of connection can propel your writing career, and the role a writing group can play in your journey.

Somnia

You (or a character) awaken suddenly from a strange, vivid dream. You remember that the dream involved an unusual object in a distinctive place, but you don't know what it means. Decide on the object and the setting, then use a dream dictionary to look at common meanings behind those symbols....

11 Web Comics for Writers: Inspiration and Motivation

Sometimes we have to look outside of our usual medium to find the motivation we need to get the words on the page—or to just feel like someone else “gets it.” These web comics for writers perfectly illustrate what it feels like to be a writer, from the moment of inspiration...

Madder Libs

First, think of one of each of the following: a word you use too much; the name of a city you'd like to visit; an unusual color; a hobby; a physical quality a person might wish for; an animal; a famous author; a verb ending in -ing; a number; an adverb....

Bowdlerized

Write about a situation involving an attempt to gently or modestly explain something illegal, outrageous or lewd to someone who might find it offensive, disturbing or problematic.

Lost Journal

While cleaning out your house, you stumble upon a journal you don't remember writing in. As you flip through the pages, it becomes apparent that this journal belongs to a fictional character (either a character you've written, or a character from one of your favorite books). Share one of the entries...

Idiomatic

Choose one of these idioms and include it in a story that also includes a literal use of one of the figurative words in the idiom. For example, if I were to choose the phrase "at the drop of a hat," I would also include a hat or someone dropping something.

Two Stories

J.M. Barrie once wrote, "The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it." Writing as yourself or as a fictional character,...