Author Archives: Jessica Strawser

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...

Chris Bohjalian: Bonus WD Interview Outtakes

Chris Bohjalian moves through the world as a writer. His honest answer to that quintessential question Where do you get your ideas? could be summed up in one word: everywhere. His novels have been born from a dinner party, a wartime diary, a homeless man’s photography, and more than one fortuitous bike ride, though...

It Happens to the Best of Us: Therapy for Bad Reviews

One of the most entertaining links I stumbled upon this week was a Biblioklept compilation of 1-star reviews on Amazon for the classic Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Here are a few choice excerpts: “The only people who like this book are english teachers who derive a feeling of moral superiority from forcing others to read this...

The Secret to Writing Better: Looking Up

I’m always surprised and humbled by the gracious notes I receive from readers about my Editor’s Letters—but no letter in recent memory has drawn as much of a response as the one in our latest, November/December 2013 Writer’s Digest (on newsstands and in libraries now, and available for instant download), which is devoted to...

David Sedaris: Bonus WD Interview Outakes

Ever start to get the feeling that the job description of your average bestselling author can seem kind of one-size-fits-all? Something like this, perhaps: Ideal candidates will have the precisely right combination of talent, timing and all-around good fortune to write a breakout book that garners the support of high volumes of voracious readers....

Bonus WD Interview Outtakes: Kimberla Lawson Roby

When Kimberla Lawson Roby didn’t have any luck convincing the publishing gatekeepers to take a chance on her, she took a chance on herself. She self-published in the ’90s, before it was fashionable—or affordable—to do so, and cracked the Essence magazine bestseller list on her own. That got their attention.

What’s Your Excuse for Not Writing?

One of the things I love most about working with writers is that so many of them are unflinchingly generous with their time, words and wisdom. So when I was recently approached by freelancer Monica Bhide and asked if I’d be interested in something purely motivational for our community of writers and readers, I...

Bonus WD Interview Outtakes: Khaled Hosseini

In peaceful Kabul, Afghanistan, many years ago, there was a young boy who, like most young boys, loved his family, loved his country, and loved great stories. He was taken by his culture’s tradition of oral storytelling, and soon discovered a deep love for reading fiction, and writing it, too. When his father’s work...

4 Truths That Will Revolutionize Your Revision Process

Perhaps because I’m in the process of revising a novel manuscript myself, the advice in the May/June 2013 Writer’s Digest Guide to Pain-Free Revision really resonated with me as I pieced it all together behind the scenes. In fact, I’d go so far to say that some of the insights from the talented contributors...

5 Unexpected Lessons From Inside the Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Ask any writer—at any level—what writing program he or she would most like to get a glimpse inside of, and chances are the answer will be the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The first creative writing degree program in the United States, Iowa became the model that other writing programs aspire to—and its list of alumni...

3 Surprising Lessons About Publishing Today

With the newsstand release of every new edition of Writer’s Digest magazine, I typically share a few of the best tips relating to the issue’s cover theme here. But in compiling our February 2013 issue—focused on innovative ways to Make Money Writing and featuring an unexpected WD Interview subject—I found that it held so...

The Real Oscar Winner: Great Storytelling

Even before Quentin Tarantino proclaimed in his Academy Award acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay (Django Unchained) that this would “be the writers’ year,” it was impossible not to notice all the exemplary written work—books and screenplays alike (and stage plays, for that matter)—at the root of this year’s big Oscar-buzzed films. Strong storytelling...

How to Start a Novel Right: 5 Great Tips

It’s said that in life, there are two types of people: those who look at the glass as half empty, and those who see it as half full. But for those of us who’ve set the goal of starting a novel, I think it really comes down to how we view the blank page:...