November/December 2014 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting October 23rd
- World-building in Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Writing Personal Essays 101
- Fundamentals of Nonfiction
- Essentials of Mystery Writing
- Creative Writing 101
- Breaking into Copywriting
- Query in 14 Days
Workshops Starting November 1st
- World-building in Science Fiction & Fantasy
There Are No Rules Blog by the Editors of Writer’s Digest
Get on the cutting edge of today’s publishing trends and how authors can succeed in a world of fast-paced technological change, guided by the editors of Writer’s Digest. You’ll get an inside look at the work, play, and passion of the publishing business and find practical tools for success.
The only way to be a writer is to write, right? This is the advice we give at WD, online and in the magazine. If you want to write, you must write. … Read more
WD Has Awesome Writers’ Conferences in both NYC and LA in August 2014. The NYC Event Has a 50-Agent Pitch Slam!
As we do each year, Writer’s Digest is putting on some awesome (and HUGE) writers conferences on both coasts of the country. These conferences bring together writers from all over the country, and lead to all kinds of good things, like signing with agents, meeting your writer friends for life, keeping your finger on the pulse of the industry, and/or simply recharging your writing bat. Read on for more info. We hope to see you there. (The NYC event is from Aug. 1-3, 2014, while the LA event is from Aug 15-17, 2014.) Read more
After years of crisscrossing the country by car, plane, train, bus, and even on foot for stretches, one of my favorite modes of transportation remains the railroad. Yes, it can be a … Read more
BY SHENNANDOAH DIAZ Backstory is crucial to the novel writing process. It gives your character substance and drive while adding depth, history and realism to your fiction. It takes a great deal … Read more
In each issue of Writer’s Digest magazine, we ask one reader to step into the role of the unconvinced, perhaps even curmudgeonly or fool-hearted editor. What harsh rejection letters might the authors of … Read more
Today marks the 115th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s birth. In his lifetime, Papa had quite a lot to say about writing. Here are 18 of our favorite quotes, in no particular order. … Read more
During a ThrillerFest panel moderated by author Nancy Bilyeau (Joanna Stafford series), authors Brenda Novak (Whiskey Creek series), Chelsea Cain (Gretchen Lowell series), Ben Lieberman (Odd Jobs) and Michael Sears (Mortal Bonds) discussed book and series endings, and how they hope readers feel after reading them. Here are some highlights. Read more
On Friday, a ThrillerFest panel moderated by WD contributing editor and author Steven James (Jevin Banks series) discussed whether or not literary themes and symbols interfere with a story. Here are the … Read more
On Friday, author Sandra Brannan (Liv Bergen Mystery series) moderated a ThrillerFest panel including authors Linwood Barclay (A Tap on the Window), Laura Benedict (Bliss House), Linda Fairstein (Alex Cooper crime series) and Reavis Wortham (Red River Mystery series). Here are the stories of how their book ideas began. Read more
Be Your Own Editor: Tips For Self-Editing Your Own Work — July 15 Discount Webinar by Harold Underdown
If you write for children or teens, whether you are a complete beginner or a published author, you know how important it is to make your manuscript be the best it can be before you send it out. How can you do that? Editing your own writing is difficult—how can you be objective about the plot and characters you created? How can you polish the final draft and find the mistakes you missed earlier? You can turn to others for feedback, and use a variety of techniques that help you get a new view of your manuscript. In this all-new webinar on self-editing titled “Be Your Own Editor: Tips For Self-Editing Your Own Work,” instructor Harold Underdown (The Purple Crown website) will teach you these techniques—ones he uses in his own work as an editor. He’ll also point you to more useful resources to make sure you feel confident revising your work before submission.
This is a special discounted webinar (about half the price of normal webinars), so take advantage of the lower cost, and the chance to ask Harold questions. It all happens at 1 p.m., ET, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, and lasts 60 minutes. Read more
At ITW’s ThrillerFest Thursday afternoon, M. J. Rose, Meryl Moss and Elizabeth Berry held a Buzz Your Book session. As with all great panels, some of the best information came from the … Read more
Here are some methods for finding interesting, outside-the-box solutions for effective, creative marketing, regardless of your novel’s genre. Read more
PitchFest is a three-and-a-half hour agent-snagging extravaganza, deep in the conference hall of the Grand Hyatt in New York. Authors with manuscripts to sell line up, awaiting the moment they’re allowed to talk to about their books to any agent in attendance—or every agent, if they use their time wisely. And on the other side of the table, reps from several agencies, big and small, axiously await the flood of hopeful novelists seeking representation. It’s one of the more magical moments of ThrillerFest, and an event that isn’t really rivalled by any other. There’s no time limit for each writer’s pitch to an agent, and many reps stay beyond the allotted time to take more pitches during the PitchFest Power Hour. For everyone here, it’s the highlight of the day, and for many, the sole reason for attending the ThrillerFest conference. Here is what it’s like from the eyes of writers who attended. Read more
On Wednesday, bestselling authors (and recent coauthors) M.J. Rose and Lisa Gardner held a session on creating compelling characters and suspenseful narratives at ITW’s ThillerFest. Here are some takeaways from their advice, and some excellent quotes from the Q&A that followed.
Lisa Gardner on perfect heroes: “A character needs flaws to seem real. Without them, a reader can’t connect.” These don’t have to be faults; weaknesses are just as effective, she explains: “It’s like Indiana Jones … It all seems impossible but somehow he manages to get an edge, [and then there’s] this pit of snakes, and of course Indiana Jones is afraid of snakes.” Read more
On Wednesday afternoon, legal thriller author and writing instructor William Bernhardt (the Ben Kincaid series) outlined the 7 elements he says make for an unputdownable novel–be it thriller, mystery, suspense or other. Here are his his guidelines for crafting a blockbuster.
1. Readability. All authors should strive for clarity, but bestselling authors go beyond simply getting the point across by creating a narrative that’s “unputdownable.” Extreme readability is the result of writing, rewriting, editing and rewriting again. That hard work and “multiple drafts and revisions … create smooth, engaging novels.” Don’t skimp on the revision process: It may be the one step that separates the hopefuls from the headliners. Read more
As poet and Pulitzer nominee Clifford Brooks states below, “…just as it is crucial that a writer creates his or her own voice, the way we edit is also a matter of … Read more
How to Write and Sell Great Children’s Books: July 15 Agent One-on-One Boot Camp with Awesome Critique for Attendees
WD’s July 2014 Agent One-on-One Boot Camp is shaping up to be an awesome opportunity for writers of children’s books. The new topic is “How to Write and Sell Great Children’s Books: From Toddler to Teen,” and this boot camp is for writers of picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult novels.
It all starts on July 15, 2014, and features the amazing agents at Full Circle Literary offering instruction and critiques to all attendees. Picture book writers get their entire book critiqued while MG & YA writers get a query critique and five-page critique. This is a great opportunity to get a professional’s thoughts on your work, and possibly attract the attention of an agent at the same time. There is a limited number of seats for this event (75, and it reached capacity last time it was done), and WD Boot Camps frequently sell out, so sign up quickly. Read more
The following is the second in a two part, guest blog post from Eleanore D. Trupkiewicz, whose short story, “Poetry by Keats,” took home the grand prize in WD’s 14th Annual Short Short Story Competition. … Read more
The following is a guest blog post from Eleanore D. Trupkiewicz, whose short story, “Poetry by Keats,” took home the grand prize in WD’s 14th Annual Short Short Story Competition. You can … Read more
Revise for Publication: Revision Strategies That Will Improve Any Draft — June 26 Webinar (w/Critique!) by Jordan Rosenfeld
So you want to be published? It’s been said that after the wild creative outpouring, real writing happens in the art of revision. Your best chance of attracting readers is through strong revision, or “re-seeing” of your work, to appeal to readers of all stripes. Writers who learn to love revision are more likely to write publishable work that wins readers and leads to deeper satisfaction in the writer’s craft. This live webinar, called “Revise for Publication: Revision Strategies That Will Improve Any Draft,” will help any writer with the goal of publication learn to love revision. You can learn to enjoy revision by breaking it down into simple, successful “waves,” and easy-to-use “tools” that you’ll use over and over.
By the end of this webinar you will not only have tackled revision issues within your work but will be able to embrace remaining revision with a positive attitude. The webinar happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, June 26, 2014, and lasts 90 minutes. Read more
It’s Friday, and that means everyone is ready for the weekend. It also means that many of you are hanging out on Twitter today instead of filing your TPS reports. (Didn’t you … Read more
The following is a guest blog post from W.R. Parrish, whose horror short story, “The Man in Christopher’s Closet,” took home the grand prize in WD’s 9th Annual Popular Fiction Competition. You can … Read more
“Your Submission Tools: How to Write Excellent Queries, Opening Pages, and Synopses” — June 18 One-on-One Boot Camp With Corvisiero Literary
During this all-new June 2014 boot camp (starts June 18) called “Your Submission Tools: How to Write Excellent Queries, Opening Pages, and Synopses,” literary agents will show you how to put together the best query letter, opening pages, and synopsis to hook the attention of agents and editors. As you learn what makes up an amazing submission package, 5 literary agents from Corvisiero Literary will tell you what agents look for when reviewing your work.
They will help each and every boot camp attendee draft and perfect your query letter, your book synopsis, and the first two pages of your book. Every participating writer will not only learn how to properly prepare a captivating submission package that will show results, they will also receive a critique with customized tips and suggestions from a literary agent. Seating is limited, and WD boot camps frequently sell out, so sign up today. Read more
BY LAURA PRITCHETT The greatest truth about the greatest writing, if you ask me, is this: The author never, ever averts her eyes. Easier said than done, of course, and I’ve not … Read more
Middle grade (MG) books, intended for readers 8-12, aim to capture an audience that appreciates thrilling adventures, stories of everyday kids just like them, and everything in between. Writing an enthralling voice and selling it in just the right place and time to hook this audience, however, can be a challenge. In this live webinar, “Writing the Breakout Middle Grade Novel,” you’ll see what makes a success story in the MG market, through examples of popular books from Percy Jackson to Origami Yoda. By looking at these popular books and seeing what they do-or don’t-have in common, you’ll learn what piques the interests of middle-grade readers and the editors who work on books for them.
Drawing on her experience as both a literary agent and a librarian, Carlie Webber (CK Webber Associates) will take you through a brief history of popular MG fiction, show you where the market stands right now, and how you can build a future for yourself as a writer of MG fiction. It all happens at 1 p.m., Thursday, May 29, 2014, and starts at 1 pm, EST. Read more