Author Archives: Brian A. Klems

The Hitchhiker

Write a story about three people who are on a road trip together, only to stop off at a gas station and pick up a fourth person whom they don't know. Why did they pick this person up? Where are they taking him/her? What happens?

What I Would Tell My Younger Self

You've been given one-time access to a time machine to visit your younger self. After a brief pause, you know the when and the where, hop in the machine and take off. When there, you chat with your younger self but offer one piece of advice to him/her that you hope will change his/her...

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Where Should Your Thriller Hero Go Next: 6 Tips on Setting

Choosing the setting for a novel is a major decision. In an international thriller, location can even become one of main characters. Part of the escapism for readers is to be whisked into a romantic foreign city or thrown into an alien culture along with the protagonist. For the Judd Ryker thriller series, I...

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6 Must-Attend Sessions at the Writer’s Digest LA Conference

Writing a novel is a challenge. Whether you’re in the beginning stages or have a completed draft, you can really benefit from a writing conference, especially one dedicated specifically to novel writing. Good news for you: We’ve got you covered! This year we’ve launched a brand-new event on the West Coast. The Writer’s Digest...

Three’s a Crowd

After months of planning, you and two of your friends pull off a major scam and steal $10 million dollars from a Vegas Casino. Your tracks are completely covered, there's no way they can track it to you guys and you've escaped to a far away country. While you lay in your bed, dreaming...

The Flood That Sparked Your Memory

A dark and heavy storm suddenly takes over your neighborhood, dropping 6 feet of water so quickly that the storm drains can't handle it. The water flooded your street and your basement, ruining many of your things. As you rummage through your stuff, you are filled with memories. Think about your basement and pick...

First Day of School

Write about a first day of school—it can be your very first day, it can be the first day of a particular year or at a particular school, it can be a fictional first day. Dive into the emotions you felt as well as what you thought that year may hold.

Lunch Gone Wrong

After arriving at your favorite lunch destination and eating your favorite meal, your waitress rushes to your table. She looks panicked. She grabs you and looks into your eyes, but doesn't say anything. Finally, she turns toward the wait staff, who is all gathered just outside the kitchen, and yells, "We only have 6...

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How to Write From the Opposite Gender’s Point Of View

Every fiction writer has to write across gender lines. I should know. I’m a fantasy / science fiction writer, and though my stories are populated with vampires, robots, and space squids, there tend to be more than a few humans in the mix. Many of those humans end up being women. Unless you’re planning...

Aunt Edna’s Money

Your wealthy Aunt Edna has died and left you all of her money. At first you're excited, as you've been living paycheck-to-paycheck your whole life, and this newfound money offers you endless possibilities. But, in her will, Aunt Edna left one big catch—and, if you don't do it, all of the money is to...

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What is Hybrid Publishing? Here Are 4 Things All Writers Should Know

Hybrid publishing is an emerging area that occupies the middle ground between traditional and self-publishing and therefore includes many different publishing models— basically anything that is not self-publishing or traditional publishing. “Hybrid publishing” is not a term all publishers or authors in this space use; other terms that describe this type of publishing include...

Olympic Games Unraveled

After four years of training, you've finally made it: To the Olympics. Your sport (fill in the blank) is highly competitive this year. As you take in the scene on your first day of competition, you notice that a member from another country is cheating. What do you do? Write this scene.

A Long, Long Flight

After a hectic day, you are looking forward to a long flight you have planned. It's the first vacation you've taken in two years, so you're extra excited. But when you get on the plane, you get seated next to a person who wants to tell you his/her life story (which you're not in...

The Sword in the Ceiling

After a long, hard day of work, you return home—the only problem is, your front door is wide open, all your lights are on and there's a sword stuck in the ceiling. The rest of your house looks normal, but you also notice several holes dug in your backyard. What's going on?

Writer’s Block

With a book deadline fast approaching and an empty document tormenting you on your laptop, you realize you need a change of scenery to get your work done. You go to the airport and take the next flight out. Your travels take you to the gorgeous country of Ireland. But now you need a...

Love Boat

After a long, hard breakup, you decide to treat yourself and go on a two-week cruise. You get onto the boat, put your bags in your room, and take a stroll around the deck. As you look around you, everyone seems to be in couples and everywhere you look, lovebirds are spending time together....

Moral Dilemmas

It’s Sunday morning. You’re ready for a relaxing day at home but you realize that you’re all out of coffee. You take a quick trip to the grocery store, and while you’re in line to check out, someone comes up behind you and points a gun at the cashier. “Stop what you’re doing. Give...

Surprise on the Doorstep

The doorbell rings. You check the alarm clock and notice it’s way too early for someone to be visiting. You crawl out of the warm bed and scuffle across the house to the front door. You crack it open and no one is there. Upon opening the door, you notice an unmarked package on...