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How to Start Writing a Book, 1st Chapter

Sometimes there’s nothing worse for a writer than a blank screen, just waiting to be filled in. Here you’ll find guidelines, advice, and inspiration for taking those first steps from blank page to finished piece. You’ll also find resources to help you learn how to write a novel in three months or fewer and practical tips on writing a book made easy.

The 5 Essential Story Ingredients

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Forget three-act structures, formulas for plot, and even beginnings, middles and ends. Write better stories by propelling your protagonist through a transformation your readers will never forget. Read more

The Setback: How to Successfully Start Writing Again

If you’re anything like me, part of your New Year’s Resolution (that’s still a thing, right?) was to write more. It might’ve been to hit a certain word or page count in … Read more

Essential Advice for Beginning Writers: An Interview with Kerri Majors

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Kerri Majors is the editor and founder of YARN, the Young Adult Review Network, an online literary journal of YA short stories, essays, and poetry. As if this role doesn’t keep her … Read more

Don’t Let Worry Drag You Down

Writers are often worriers. We’re plagued with indecision about the choices we make for our stories. We doubt the quality of our writing. We wonder if we’ll ever break through into the … Read more

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

A new year, a new writerly you. New Year’s Day is a time for reflecting on the past year while thinking about the goals, wishes, and hopes for the new year ahead. … Read more

Writing for the Young Adult Audience

There’s no question about it: The young adult (YA) audience is a hot market, one that is steadily growing in popularity and garnering attention from young readers as well as literary critics. … Read more

Write Fiction that Grabs Readers from Page One

In your novel, the inciting incident is the first sign of trouble for your protagonist: it’s the catalyst, the chemical reaction, that sets the plot into motion. But the inciting incident isn’t … Read more

The Ideas that Inspired The Hobbit, Animal Farm & 8 Other Famous Books

Ideas often percolate and simmer over time, but every once in a while lightning strikes—and a sudden flash of creativity can alter a writer’s career forever. Take, for example, these 10 famous works inspired by unexpected bolts of inspiration. Read more

5 Story Mistakes Even Good Writers Make

Sometimes it’s too easy to get caught up in the so-called rules of writing and forget what’s really important. Here’s how to avoid the traps that can steer your story off-course.
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7 Things That Will Doom Your Novel (& How to Avoid Them)

You can doom your debut from the start with these 7 (tongue-in-cheek) strategies for flailing, and failing—or, you can do just the opposite. Read more

What is a Minor Character: Understanding the Minor Characters’ Role

So where is the dividing line between major and minor charactors? There isn’t one. The different levels shade into each other, and as you master the techniques appropriate to each level, you’ll be able to create each character at exactly the level of importance the story requires. Here’s how to master the techniques. Read more

How to Write Effective Supporting Characters

Your cast of supporting characters should reflect what your protagonist needs. Here’s how to craft strong supporting characters to make your novel jump off the page. Read more

How to Write a Manuscript: 5 Key Tips

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So you have a great idea for a novel or nonfiction book but you just don’t know where to begin? Have no fear: I’ve devised a pretty simple plan that will help guide you. Read more

10 Tips to Avoid Clichés in Writing

It’s not enough to love our story ideas. We need to weigh their suitability as subjects for fiction, and then figure out how to go about making use of them. This means steering clear of cliché and its sappy cousin—melodrama. Here are 10 tips to help you do just that. Read more

10 Ways to Tell if Your Story Should be a Memoir or a Novel

Should your story be fictionalized or be a true telling of your life? You have to decide. Here are 10 factors to consider. Read more

10 Ways to Harness Fear and Fuel Your Writing

If we let the fear of rejection prevent us from pitching or querying or submitting, we are ensuring that we’ll never realize our aspirations. But when we consciously work with fear, we can actually harness this energy source in ways that support our writing goals and enhance our writing experience. Here are 10 ways to do it. Read more

How to Use an Outline to Write a First Draft

Once you’ve completed an outline, it’s time to put it to use and get to work on your first manuscript draft. Chances are, you’ll face a lot of questions. Let us help you answer them. Read more

The 90 Top Secrets of Bestselling Authors

Here, some of the most successful writers in recent (and not-so-recent) memory share their take on everything from how they get ideas (or go find them), to the best way to start a manuscript (or why the only important thing is that you start at all), to their most methodical writing habits (and quirkiest rituals), to writing with the readers in mind (or ignoring them entirely). Read more

How to Avoid Parenting Your Characters

There are a lot of ways that writers parent their characters, but no matter how you do it the end result is the same—a story that just doesn’t work and ultimately won’t sell. Fortunately, it’s a habit you can break. Read more

20 Master Plots Exclusive

Download a free PDF of the checklists for each of the 20 master plots. About the Book Learn more timeless plots for your fiction in 20 Master Plots by Ronald B. Tobias.

20 Master Plots Excerpt

Master Plot #6: Revenge from 20 Master Plots by Ronald B. Tobias If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, … Read more

20 Master Plots

  20 Master Plots by Ronald B. Tobias Writer’s Digest Books, 2011 ISBN-13: 978-1-59963-537-8 ISBN-10: 1-59963-537-2 $16.99 paperback, 288 pages Buy the Book at WritersDigestShop.com! Read an Excerpt! Find out more about … Read more

How Smartphones and Tablets Can Help You Write More

If you’ve got a tablet or smartphone, you’re in business. Write on the go with the latest generation of apps. Read more

Writer’s Workout Exclusive

Download a free motivational poster to keep you moving as your build your writing career. Read an Excerpt! Learn how to cultivate clarity, inventory ideas, write richly, and serve up words. About … Read more

Writer’s Workout Excerpt

Excerpt from The Writer’s Workout by Christina Katz CULTIVATE CLARITY When you write something needlessly prolix and convoluted, there’s a reason for it, and that reason is usually a lack of clarity … Read more

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