Weekly Round-Up: Author Insights and Challenge Winners

Publish date:

Every week our editors publish somewhere between 10 and 15 blog posts—but it can be hard to keep up amidst the busyness of everyday life. To make sure you never miss another post, we've created a new weekly round-up series. Each Saturday, find the previous week's posts all in one place. 

Writers Digest Logo

Author Insights

Anxiety is a very common issue, especially when it comes to things we've lovingly, carefully created. Read 5 Ways to Combat Author Anxiety if you are among the many who have experienced this common phenomenon.

Less common, but still difficult, is co-writing. Here are 10 Great Tips on How to Write a Book with a Co-author so you can make that project productive instead of painful.

For less specific advice, check out Helen Klein Ross's 10 Rules of Writing a Novel7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Rachel Dunne, Debbie Macomber's answers to the novel-writing questions you should be asking. Then learn how to use moral stakes to create an emotional response or experience for a reader in this excerpt from Donald Maass's The Emotional Craft of Fiction.

Pique Your Interest

It's easy to get sidetracked from reading and writing by TV. Luckily, there's a lot to learn from the storytelling techniques of our favorite TV shows. Feel better about your latest binge-watching session by reading 5 Things Breaking Bad Can Teach Us About Writing.

And if you find yourself constantly tripping up when using homonyms in your writing, learn how to tell the difference between peak, peek, and pique.

Poetry Challenges

Congratulations to William Preston, winner of the WD Poetic Form Challenge: Haiku Sonnet. Read his poem "Waterfall" and find out if you made the top 10 here.

The 2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge is over. If you participated in the challenge, you have until January 15, 2017 to revise your poems and submit your manuscript for judging. Check out the PAD Chapbook Challenge Next Steps, and don't miss the last set of prompts:

  • Day 26: Write a visitor poem.
  • Day 27: Write a falling apart poem.
  • Day 28: Write a poem using "I Want (Blank)" as the title, replacing the blank with a word or phrase of your choice.
  • Day 29: Write a love poem or an anti-love poem.
  • Day 30: Write a last chance poem.


This week's new literary agent alert is for Serene Hakim of Ayesha Pande Literary. Serene is seeking young adult literature, especially science fiction and fantasy, women's fiction, and humorous and fascinating memoirs. She is particularly interested in underrepresented and/or marginalized voices, including stories dealing with the Middle East, immigrant experiences, and LGBTQ and feminist issues.

Throughout November, literary agents and editors put out calls for diverse books on Twitter. Check out the list of calls for #diversebooks and #ownvoices.

There are also two "Dear Lucky Agent" contests live through December 31. Check out the 28th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest: Memoir and the 29th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest: Historical Fiction.

Finally, don't miss our agent one-on-one boot camp, How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent, starting on December 12. Spots are limited, so sign up while you still can!

FightWrite™: How Do People Who Don’t Know How to Fight, Fight?

FightWrite™: How Do People Who Don’t Know How to Fight, Fight?

If your character isn't a trained fighter but the scene calls for a fight, how can you make the scene realistic? Author and trained fighter Carla Hoch has the answers for writers here.

April PAD Challenge

30 Poetry Prompts for the 2021 April PAD Challenge

Find all 30 poetry prompts for the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge in this post.

The Problem of Solving a Mystery When You're the Prime Suspect

The Problem of Solving a Mystery When You're the Prime Suspect

Mia P. Manansala, author of Arsenic & Adobo, explains how writers can help their main character solve a mystery when they're the prime suspect.

Mistakes Writers Make: Not Using Your Spare 15 Minutes

Mistakes Writers Make: Not Using Your Spare 15 Minutes

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is not using your spare 15 minutes.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Visitor

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Visitor

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, invite an unexpected visitor into your story.

7 Tips for Writing a Near Future Dystopian Novel

7 Tips for Writing a Near-Future Dystopian Novel

In this article, debut author Christina Sweeney-Baird explains how writers can expertly craft a near-future dystopian novel.

Pam Jenoff: On Writing About Isolation While Isolated

Pam Jenoff: On Writing About Isolation While Isolated

Bestselling author Pam Jenoff shares how she explored themes of isolation in her latest novel, The Woman with the Blue Star, while writing during the 2020 pandemic lockdown.

8 Ways to Add Suspense to your Novel

8 Ways to Add Suspense to Your Novel

Authors Mark and Connor Sullivan are no strangers to utilizing suspense in their novels. Here, they share their top 8 tips for writers to do the same.

Lynn Painter: On Rom-Coms and Escapism

Lynn Painter: On Rom-Coms and Escapism

Author Lynn Painter discusses the strengths of the romantic comedy genre and how she utilized them in her novel Better than the Movies.