Weekly Round-Up: First Things First

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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. 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

We're thankful for a lot of things here at Writer's Digest. Check out a few here.

On a less profound note: What's the best you've ever pulled on someone?

Words of Wisdom

For a true story to inspire thankfulness and perspective, read An Audience of One: A Story for Thanksgiving. Then turn to 7 Things I've Learned So Far, by Julie Falatko for some practical insight and Successful Queries: Agent Sarah Yake and "She Came From Beyond!" for a real example of a successful query letter.

First Things First

Although your story probably doesn't come to you linearly, Telling Your Story in the Right Order can help it flow seamlessly and believably from one event to the next. Make sure to get it right by using cause and effect, from your plot to paragraph structure.

To write believable characters, you have to understand people. Read 4 Tips on Creating Pitch Perfect YA Characters on gaining a foundational understanding of YA characters and expectations.

If you're nowhere near character creation or concerns of causality because you're stuck in a creative rut, follow these 5 steps from start to finish to dig yourself back out.

2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Catch up on all PAD Chapbook Challenges from the past week.

  • Day 19: Write a poem about a commonplace location.
  • Day 20: Write a poem using a popular saying (like"May the Force Be With You," "It's a Bird; It's a Plane; It's Superman," "Just Do It," or "Break a Leg") as the title.
  • Day 21: Write a thinking out loud poem.
  • Day 22: Write a sharing poem or a selfish poem.
  • Day 23: Write a poem with “When (blank)” as the title, replacing the blank with a word or phrase of your choice.
  • Day 24: Write an imitation poem.
  • Day 25: Write a tape poem.


This week's new literary agent alert is for Elizabeth Copps of Maria Carvainis Agency. She is interested in a wide range of genres, and you can catch her attention with books that spur discussion and characters who burst off the page.

Other opportunities include an 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!

Finally, it's time for another Your Story contest! Check out the photo prompt for a short story of 700 words or fewer.

6 Books Perfect for Fall Reading

6 Books Perfect for Fall Reading

Whether you're looking for something cozy or a little spooky, these books are perfect for the fall season.

NaNoWriMo: To Prep or Not to Prep?

NaNoWriMo: To Prep or Not to Prep?

When it comes to a 30 day writing challenge like NaNoWriMo, do you need to prep beforehand to achieve success? Well, that might depend on what kind of writer you are.

Sarah Echavarre Smith: On Going for the Out-There Ideas

Sarah Echavarre Smith: On Going for the Out-There Ideas

Copywriter and author Sarah Echavarre Smith discusses the process of writing her new romance novel, On Location.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 583

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a fall poem.

5 Thrilling Adventure Terms Every Writer Should Know (And Why)

5 Thrilling Adventure Terms Every Writer Should Know (And Why)

For over a decade, author Joshua Glenn has been researching adventure-related terms. Now, he's sharing what he's learned for other writers to add to their lexicon.

Moral Compass

Moral Compass

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about someone with an unfailing moral compass.

Daniel Levin Becker: On the Forgotten Art of Letter Writing

Daniel Levin Becker: On the Forgotten Art of Letter Writing

Author, translator, and editor Daniel Levin Becker discusses his hopes for future letter writing like those featured in the new anthology, Dear McSweeney's: Two Decades of Letters to the Editor from Writers, Readers, and the Occasional Bewildered Consumer.

e.g. vs. i.e. (Grammar Rules)

e.g. vs. i.e. (Grammar Rules)

Let's look at the differences between e.g. and i.e. with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

20 Authors Share Their Biggest Surprise in the Writing Process

20 Authors Share Their Biggest Surprises in the Writing Process

Experienced writers know to expect the unexpected. Here are surprises in the writing process from 20 authors, including Amanda Jayatissa, Paul Neilan, Kristin Hannah, and Robert Jones, Jr.