I was reading through some of our older science fiction titles, and I came upon Worlds of Wonder by David Gerrold (published in 2001). As I was flipping through the book, I read an opening line that intrigued me: “All writing is list-making. Nothing more. The trick is knowing what to put next on...
We’ve heard the old montage “Show, don’t tell” so many times that it’s become stale–and what does it mean, anyway? It’s an easy phrase to utter, but how do you achieve resonant, meaningful description that will make your words come alive? This simple checklist, from The Writer’s Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr.,...
You can doom your debut from the start with these 7 (tongue-in-cheek) strategies for flailing, and failing—or, you can do just the opposite.
So where is the dividing line between major and minor charactors? There isn’t one. The different levels shade into each other, and as you master the techniques appropriate to each level, you’ll be able to create each character at exactly the level of importance the story requires. Here's how to master the techniques.
Your cast of supporting characters should reflect what your protagonist needs. Here's how to craft strong supporting characters to make your novel jump off the page.
Is your manuscript stuck? Take a break from completing your fiction project and diagnose it. Here's how to take your manuscript into its next phase: completion.
If you’re the kind of writer who prefers being read and selling your work as opposed to being an unknown starving writer (who doesn’t?), here are 50 quick, simple ways to launch your platform into action and climb your way to success.
Download a free PDF with interviews with novelists like Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, Anne Tyler, Margaret Atwood, and more. Find out more ways to make your fiction stand out with Crafting Novels & Stories by the Editors of Writer’s Digest.
Crafting Novels & Short Stories by The Editors of Writer’s Digest Books Writer’s Digest Books, 2011 ISBN-13: 978-1-59963-571-2 ISBN-10: 1-59963-571-2 $19.99 paperback, 368 pages Buy the Book at WritersDigestShop.com! Online Exclusive Download interviews with fiction masters like Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, Anne Tyler, Margaret Atwood, and more. About the Book Learn how to create...
If you find yourself having a difficult time sustaining one tone over a long work, try these three tricks.
Download a 26-day countdown poster with energy boosting ideas to fuel your marathon and track your accomplishments from Day 1 to Day 26. Write-A-Thon Poster 8.5×11 Write-A-Thon Poster 11×17 Need a speaker? Contact Rochelle to speak by phone with your critique group, NaNoWriMo region, or book group: email@example.com About the...
Q&A with Rochelle Melander, author of Write-A-Thon Need a speaker? Contact Rochelle to speak by phone with your critique group, NaNoWriMo region, or book group: firstname.lastname@example.org How many books have you written in 26 days or less? Five! I wrote Write-A-Thon in 26 days during National Novel Writing Month in 2009. Of course, I...
Need a speaker? Contact Rochelle to speak by phone with your critique group, NaNoWriMo region, or book group: email@example.com Avoid Overwhelm From Write-A-Thon by Rochelle Melander Being a poet is one of the unhealthier jobs—no regular hours, so many temptations! —Elizabeth Bishop In a study on choice, students reported better satisfaction with their work...
Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Life to Tell About it) by Rochelle Melander Writer’s Digest Books, 2011 ISBN-13: 978-1-59963-391-6 ISBN-10: 1-59963-391-4 $16.99 paperback, 240 pages Buy the book! Read an Excerpt! Find out how to avoid getting overwhelmed in the midst of your writing marathon. Free Webinar: September 27! Are...
Can a virtual critique group really be as good as meeting face to face? If you make the most of the format, it could be even better. Here’s how.
JOHN SCALZI is the author of several science fiction novels, including the bestselling Old Man’s War series, comprising Old Man’s War, The Ghost Brigades, and The Last Colony. He is a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and he won the Hugo Award for Your Hate Mail Will Be...
At some point in writing your novel, you have to start thinking about “chaptering,” the process of deciding exactly when and where your chapter breaks will go. Here are three simple, essential techniques that can help you make effective chapter pauses.
by Aaron Elkins
Award-winning writing, quick-witted characters and the kind of suspense every reader craves—his books may be classified under mystery or thriller, but Harlan Coben seems to have it all. And he’s willing to share his secrets.
by Jessica Strawser
To make characters seem real, you need to tap into what drives them. Use this foolproof method to bring the emotion of your story to life.
by David Corbett
A good opening line is a powerful thing: It can grab an editor’s attention, set the tone for the rest of the piece, and make sure readers stay through The End. Here are 10 ways to steer your story toward success.
by Jacob M. Appel
If you think you’ve heard all you need to know about what drives a plot, think again. Here’s the real stuff the best stories are made of.
by Steven James
Most of the time, we want to balance our scenes using dialogue, action and narrative to engage readers at an emotional level and keep them hooked. Here's how to do that.
by Gloria Kempton
Structural problems can sink a novel. Let’s look at 10 common plot problems and how to quickly fix them.
by Elizabeth Sims
Don’t be afraid to make things hard on your characters. You should always come up with several different problems to choose from. Here are 3 ways to do that.
by Victoria Lynn Schmidt