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.

Poetic Forms

Rannaigecht Mor Gairit: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the rannaigecht mor gairit, a variant form of the rannaigecht.


The Writer, The Inner Critic, & The Slacker

Author and writing professor Alexander Weinstein explains the three parts of a writer's psyche, how they can work against the writer, and how to utilize them for success.


Todd Stottlemyre: On Mixing and Bending Genres

Author Todd Stottlemyre explains how he combined fiction and nonfiction in his latest book and what it meant as a writer to share his personal experiences.


Plot Twist Story Prompts: Take a Trip

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character take a trip somewhere.


Making the Switch from Romance to Women’s Fiction

In this article, author Jennifer Probst explains the differences between romance and women's fiction, the importance of both, and how you can make the genre switch.


Stephanie Wrobel: On Writing an Unusual Hero

Author Stephanie Wrobel explains how she came to write about mental illness and how it affects familial relationships, as well as getting inside the head of an unusual character.


Who Are the Inaugural Poets for United States Presidents?

Here is a list of the inaugural poets for United States Presidential Inauguration Days from Robert Frost to Amanda Gorman. This post also touches on who an inaugural poet is and which presidents have had them at their inaugurations.


Precedent vs. President (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use precedent vs. president with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 554

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 future poem.