Author Archives: Brian A. Klems

JAN ELLISON - featured

9 Practical Tricks for Writing Your First Novel

Whether you're writing your first novel or are struggling with completing a second one (or more), sometimes you need some help focusing and figuring out how to reach your goal. Use these 9 tricks to help you go from first sentence all the way to completed novel.

The Tortoise and the Hare

Start your story with “They told me seeing a turtle on your wedding day would bring good luck” and end your story with “Now I’m doing 10-20 in federal prison. Stupid rabbit.”

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What Gets You Ready to Write?

Some mornings I start my writing day off with a walk outside. Other days I start it off with caffeine. Today, I started it off with donuts. (Don't judge me!) I asked the Writer's Digest staff what they do to get ready to write. Here's our list (in no particular order) ...

Bizarre Family Traditions

Your family has always been a little off when it comes to holiday traditions. You eat tacos on the Fourth of July and hamburgers on Cinco de Mayo. How did this whacky tradition get started?

What Did You Do?

Every morning at 9:00 a.m. sharp, you get a call on your cell phone. The speaker says “I know what you did” and then hangs up. This has been going on for two weeks straight. What did you do and how do you react to these calls?

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3 Rules on Writing About Your Family

Every person has a unique life path and therefore an interesting tale to share, and yet so many of us struggle with whether or not we have the right to tell our stories. We are silenced by the fear upsetting others, especially our family, in writing our truth. This guest post is by Hollye...

Crazed Fan

You’re sitting at the breakfast table one morning, looking at the top news stories while drinking your coffee. The top story this morning is a crazy fan who was arrested for breaking into a local bookstore and stealing all of YOUR books! He’s quoted as saying “I just want to be their best friend!”...

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Lay vs. Lie (vs. Laid)

Here's the difference between lay vs. lie, along with "lay lie" examples and a simple chart that breaks it all down and will make it easier for you to know when to use each.

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6 Tips on Writing for Children

I hadn’t read a children’s novel in an embarrassingly long time when I landed my first deal to write exactly that. Naturally, I went into it with all kinds of notions as to what writing for children entailed. Things like: don’t be too scary, use simpler language, write about whatever it is kids like...

Night at the Museum

You hide in the museum bathrooms until the building is closed and everyone is gone. What is the first thing you do? Do you touch everything you possibly can or go exploring in the back rooms? Don’t forget to watch out for security guards!

Doomed Love

“I wasn’t planning on this. Falling in love with you was the last thing I wanted. Because I know our time would have to come to end. Yet, here I am, begging you not to turn the page.” Who is the speaker and who is the speaker talking to? Finish the scene.

The Mysterious Call

Your phone rings in the middle of the night. An indiscernible voice speaks: “There is a car waiting for you outside your house. Get inside. You don’t want to ignore this.” Your spouse rolls over, eyes squinting, and says, “Everything okay?” What happens next?

From Random Page to Story

Grab the book, magazine, or newspaper nearest you and open up to a random page. Start your story with the first line at the top of the page and end your story with the last line at the bottom of the page.

Rude Awakening

“Get up. That’s right you, with the face. GET UP.” After the boot roughly hits your side you groggily wake up. You remember the bomb, yes the bomb you had to deactivate. That would be your top priority but your captor has a knife and your hands are bound. What do you do next?

Writer’s Digest Article Index 2014

All feature articles and columns published in Writer’s Digest during 2014 are indexed by topic. Abbreviations for regular columns: Inkwell—IW; Meet the Agent—MTA; Breaking In—BI; Questions & Quandaries—QQ; Your Story—YS; Standout Markets—SM; Conference Scene—CS; Reject A Hit—RAH Writer’s Digest Article Index 2014 Conferences “Conference Scene (Create Something Magical Writers & Readers Conference; Mount Hermon...