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Writer's Digest March/April Issue: An Interview With Author Mary Kay Andrews & Writing Essentials to Master

Author Mary Kay Andrews talks about finding your niche. Plus, learn 5 tips for writing a good story, strategies to beat common writing mistakes, and much more!

The March/April issue of Writer's Digest magazine has hit the newsstands and the Web. Inside the issue you will find a feature story on author Mary Kay Andrews (who also appears on this month's cover), plus a guide to grammar and writing, quick tricks for writing a good story, tips for finding your voice in writing, ways to avoid common writing mistakes, advice on finding your niche and much more!

Writer's Digest Magazine | Mary Kay Andrews

Author Mary Kay Andrews Gives Writing Advice & Talks About Finding Your Niche

Before becoming a published author, Mary Kay Andrews worked as a journalist. Then she started writing mystery novels. But it wasn't until she started writing women's fiction and made the bestseller lists that she felt like she had found her niche in writing. In this Writer's Digest interview, she gives writing advice, offers tips for finding your niche, discusses being a part of a writer's group, shares her best publishing advice, and explains the importance of social media and connecting to your readers.

5 Tips for Writing a Good Story

Let's face it--every writer wants to impress both editors and readers with their writing. But often times it is easy to lose focus. Writer Steven James gives five examples of story mistakes. Avoid these common mistakes:

  • Overdoing Symbolism/Themes. If you describe your theme or insert symbolism into every part of your story, your readers will be distracted. Instead, try driving your narrative through tension and moral dilemmas. For example, instead of saying, "you should forgive others," ask the question, "how do you forgive someone who has done the unthinkable to someone you love?"
  • Trying too hard. Writing a good story is on every writer's mind, but if you try too hard, you will lose your readers. If your characters are funny, let the dialogue show this. Similarly, don't feel the need to use grandiose words unless it directly relates to the context of your story. Remember, readers want to be entertained.
  • Failing to Anticipate the Readers' Response. Part of being a writer, is having the ability to create believable situations. If you can take a step back and think like one of your readers, you will be able to fix plot points that just don't add up or fit within your story. After all, the main goal for writing a good story is keeping your readers engaged, and not distracted.
  • Using a Hook as a Gimmick. Don't write a scene specifically to grab readers' attention without introducing them to the world you've created. You want to move your plot forward, and one way to do this is by evaluating your hook. After all, having a good hook is one key to writing a good story.
  • Leaving Readers Hanging. Don't withhold information from your readers unless you hint that you're going to reveal what they need to know later on in the story. Often times, writers will not give readers all the information they need to know in an attempt to create suspense, but in actuality, they lose the reader. One of the ways to write a good story is to be consistent. For example, if you have one of the main characters get into an accident, start the next chapter describing the outcome of the accident.

Writer's Workbook: Mastering Voice in Writing

The Writer's Workbook from the March/April issue gives readers specific exercises and tips for mastering voice through three articles.The first article by Roger Morris (who is known for wine, food, and travel writing) talks about giving nonfiction an audible voice, including ways for matching voice to tone and topic and an exercise on summoning the perfect voice. The second article targets writing with a natural voice. Larry Brooks, author of Story Engineering, explains the difference between voice and style and covers why voice is a crucial part in dialogue. Lastly, Steven Harper, author of Writing the Paranormal Novel, gives 7 tips for finding your voice in writing through techniques and exercises. He also explains and defines voice and how voice is different from style. Having a unique voice is one way to make your writing stand out!

The Top 13 Common Writing Mistakes & A Helpful Guide to Grammar and Writing

One pet peeve of any editor or writer is improper use of nouns, verbs, capitalization, or adjectives. In this article, Grammar Girl gives you examples of 13 common writing mistakes that every writer has made at some point and how to master the basics of grammar. Learn how to avoid common writing mistakes from Grammar Girl's examples. Use this helpful guide to grammar and writing to improve your writing skills and master the basics!

Buy the Writer's Digest March/April issue now!

See more recommendations on writing from the Writer's Digest editors.

Going From Me to We: Collaborating on the Writing of a Novel

Going From Me to We: Collaborating on the Writing of a Novel

Past experiences taught bestselling author Alan Russell to tread lightly when it came to collaborating on projects. Here, he discusses how the right person and the right story helped him go from a “me” to a “we.”

From Script

Short Film Goals, Writing the Cinematic Experience on the Page and Sundance Film Festival 2022 (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, set your creative goals with a monthly guide to write and produce your short film, provided by Script contributor Rebecca Norris Resnick. Plus, an exclusive interview with Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Monahan, a Sundance Film Festival 2022 day one recap, and more!

Your Story Writing Prompts

94 Your Story Writing Prompts

Due to popular demand, we've assembled all the Your Story writing prompts on WritersDigest.com in one post. Click the link to find each prompt, the winners, and more.

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

Historical fiction relies on research to help a story’s authenticity—but it can also lead to developments in the story itself. Here, author Lora Davies discusses how inspiration and research helped shape her new novel, The Widow’s Last Secret.

Poetic Forms

Saraband: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the saraband, a septet (or seven-line) form based on a forbidden dance.

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

International bestselling author Karen Hamilton discusses the “then and now” format of her new domestic thriller, The Ex-Husband.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character give or face an ultimatum.

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

Sylvia Beach was friend to many writers who wrote what we consider classics today. Here, author Kerri Maher shares six things everyone should know about her and Shakespeare and Company.

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

Author Katherine Quevedo takes an analytical look at the creative process in hopes to help other writers find writing success.