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Weekly Round-Up: First Things First

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.

Opportunities

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.

5 Tips for Successfully Pitching Literary Agents in Person (That Worked for Me at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference)

5 Tips for Successfully Pitching Literary Agents in Person (That Worked for Me at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference)

Author Anat Deracine found her agent at Writer’s Digest Annual Conference. Now she’s sharing what she’s learned to help other writers become authors. Here are her 5 tips for successfully pitching literary agents in person.

Tips for Reading Poetry in Front of an Audience

8 Tips for Reading Your Poetry in Front of an Audience

Poet's Market editor and published poet Robert Lee Brewer shares eight tips for reading your poetry in front of an audience.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Strength Lost

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Strength Lost

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let a character lose their powers.

Sharon Short | Point of View Quote 1

Managing Point of View: Mythbusting

In the first of this three-part series, novelist and WD columnist Sharon Short breaks down 7 of the most common myths about choosing which POV is right for your story.

Channel Your Inner Authorpreneur for Your Writing Labor of Love

Channel Your Inner Authorpreneur for Your Writing Labor of Love

As self-publishing continues to become an attractive and popular options for writers, it’s important to know what you’re getting into and to have the right expectations. Here, author and entrepreneur Tom Vaughan shares how to channel your inner “authorpreneur” to help your book find its readers.

Mark Kurlansky: On Coincidences Driving Memoir

Mark Kurlansky: On Coincidences Driving Memoir

Award-winning author, playwright, and journalist Mark Kurlansky discusses the experience of channeling Ernest Hemingway in his new memoir, The Importance of Not Being Ernest.

In-Between: Writer's Digest 2nd Annual Personal Essay Awards Winner

In-Between: Writer's Digest 2nd Annual Personal Essay Awards Winner

Congratulations to Alyssa Rickert, Grand Prize winner of the 2nd Annual Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards. Here's her winning essay, "In Between."

Things To Consider When Writing About Ghosts and the Supernatural in Fiction

Things To Consider When Writing About Ghosts and the Supernatural in Fiction

From maintaining subtlety to visiting haunted places, author J. Fremont shares everything to consider when writing about ghosts and the supernatural in fiction.

6 Effective Steps To Promote Your Forthcoming Book on Social Media and Feel Good About It

6 Effective Steps To Promote Your Forthcoming Book on Social Media and Feel Good About It

Social media is a daunting albeit important aspect of promoting our work. Here, author Aileen Weintraub offers six steps to promote your book on social media authentically.