Author Archives: Jessica Strawser

The Real Secret to Getting an Agent

By now, I’ve written an introduction to our annual agent-focused issue so many times, I couldn’t tell you the number offhand. And in them all, my editor’s letter has served as a place to acknowledge the daunting task that faces us all when it comes time to prepare submission materials that reflect the heart...

Relief for Your Revision Struggles

The September 2015 Writer’s Digest, The Smart Writer’s Guide to Revision, is new on newsstands, and I’ve gotten so many nice notes about my Editor’s Letter that I thought I’d share it here—both as a preview for our latest issue and as a way to commiserate, connect and relate with fellow writers in the...

Call for Submissions: See Your Story in WD!

We want YOU to fill in the blank: “It’s NEVER Too Late To …”  Make Your Writing Dreams Come True! When it comes to your writing, did you finally get around to doing that thing you’ve always wanted to do? Every day, writers everywhere are realizing that it’s never too late to start that memoir, try...

Creativity: The X Factor

One of the most popular toys in our household these days is a set of remote control bumper cars. One is red, one is blue, and to win a round of this game, you need to crash into your opponent’s car at just the right spot to eject the little helmeted driver. We acquired...

Patrick Rothfuss, Worldbuilder: Bonus WD Interview Extras

BY RICH SHIVENER In less than a decade, Patrick Rothfuss, 42, has risen to the ranks of the most celebrated authors in the fantasy genre. The Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy, following the adventures of young actor/musician-cum-legendary-wizard Kvothe in the Four Corners of Civilization, launched in 2007 with his debut novel, The Name of the Wind....

Tips for Writing and Selling Short Stories

“We are generally taught to build our stories with more words,” “100 Word Story” co-founder Grant Faulkner points out in the May/June 2015 Writer’s Digest article on writing flash, the shortest of short fiction. And he’s right. When studying the fiction writer’s craft, so much emphasis is on developing characters with more layers, plots...

Susan Mallery: Bonus WD Interview Outtakes

Susan Mallery is a writing machine. Her output is high—when asked to confirm how many novels she’s published, she thinks for a moment and says, “150 … ish. It used to matter; now I really don’t care.” Her approach is systematic—she made it her mission to become an ace at story structure, and developed...

What We Can Learn From Multi-Genre Authors

One of my favorite parts of my job as editor of Writer’s Digest is overseeing our WD Interview cover stories in every issue—deciding who to feature, making sure we’re hosting a conversation that covers ground our readers won’t find elsewhere, and quite often even conducting the interviews and crafting the profiles myself. I’ve always firmly...

Are You a Born Storyteller?

I had a dear friend who had a gift for telling stories about her day. She’d launch into one, and suddenly everyone around her would hush up and lean in, knowing that whatever followed would be pure entertainment. A story of encountering a deer on the highway would involve interludes from the deer’s point...

Brad Meltzer: Bonus WD Interview Outtakes

If you’re a history buff, you might know Brad Meltzer from the two History channel shows he’s hosted: “Decoded” (an investigation of unsolved mysteries and conspiracy theories) and “Lost History” (a search for missing artifacts). If you read suspense, perhaps you know him for his legal thrillers (Meltzer has a law degree and was...

How to Promote Your Work Like a Pro

Now more than ever before, there are so many things we can do to promote our books, articles, stories, essays, services, and other creative works and skills—regardless of whether we’re self-published, traditionally published, or even not-yet-published. Bookstore and library events remain staples, of course, as do reviews, mentions and bylines in prominent media. But...

A Better Approach to “Write Every Day”

Happy New Year! Happy … and yet. Everywhere you look, it’s all about pushing ourselves, isn’t it? First came November’s NaNoWriMo, with all the tips for writing more, more, more, writing faster, faster, faster. Then came the holidays, with 12 days left to shop/plan/wrap/bake/revise that manuscript from last month, 11, 10, 9 … And...

Garth Stein: Exclusive WD Interview Outtakes

Garth Stein has never been a stranger to small audiences. He’s stage managed “theater at sea” on cruise ships. He’s written stage plays produced by community theaters. He’s made documentary films. He’s written well-reviewed novels published by independent presses. Put it all together, and he’s done the very thing so many people aspire to...

When Your Novel Writing Clicks

Light-bulb moments. Aha moments. Flashes of recognition. Revelations. Call them whatever you like. I like to think of them as clicks. In the writing life, the best kind of click is that moment something makes you realize exactly what’s been missing from the not-quite-right scene you’ve been working on. Or the instant you put...

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7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Mike Meginnis

BY MIKE MEGINNIS This is a recurring column called “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their careers can talk about writing advice and instruction — by sharing seven things they’ve learned along their writing journeys that they wish they knew at the beginning. This is installment is from Mike Meginnis, author of...

WDJan15

Tips for Drafting Dialogue: Starting Rough

In the January 2015 Writer’s Digest, contributing editor and award-winning novelist Elizabeth Sims shares simple and effective techniques for polished character conversations in her article “How to Craft Flawless Dialogue.” Here, in this bonus online exclusive sidebar, she outlines her method for getting it written, then getting it right. — If you’re the kind...

What Halloween Can Teach Us About Character Development

This is the first year my 3-year-old has really gotten Halloween, so we’ve spent October seeking out any excuse for him to wear his costume and spend the day yelling “Boo!” As a result, at an array of fall festivals, we’ve collected a countertop full of pumpkins of assorted shapes and sizes; a small...

Tips and Inspiration to Write a Book in a Month

One of the things I love about working at Writer’s Digest is the excitement each time a new issue hits newsstands. And it’s especially true with the November/December 2014 Writer’s Digest–because this special guide to Writing a Book in a Month arrives just in time for November’s National Novel Writing Month challenge. Regardless of whether...

Professional Speed Writing

In this Q&A, Rochelle Melander, author of Write-a-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It) (Writer’s Digest Books), discusses how she’s written five books at a marathon pace.  

Lisa Scottoline: Bonus WD Interview Outtakes

An award-winning suspense series set in an all-female law firm. A library of bestselling book club picks. A humor column in the tradition of Erma Bombeck. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Lisa Scottoline is not your average lawyer-turned-author. Lisa Scottoline doesn’t like labels. But she does classify herself as a People Person—and about...