The Never Ending Jou...

Guest Blog by Grant Faulkner Did I choose my writing process, or did it choose me? This was the question I asked myself after 20+ years of writing fiction. I wondered if I’d stumbled thoughtlessly upon my creative practice, and instead of actively scrutinizing it or consciously constructing...

6 Secrets to Writing a Novel No One Ever Told You

Writing a novel can seem like a daunting task, and a first-time author might even be hesitant to start. But if you’re passionate about writing and are willing to put in the work there is nothing to be afraid of. Telling stories is something you do every day, whether you are discussing your work day with your spouse, or reminiscing about past experiences with friends. Telling stories by word of mouth is something we do naturally, and writing a story is just taking those words and putting them on paper. When starting your novel, it is important to remember that it will take some time; it’s not a race. You need to be willing to commit the...

The Making of a Best...

In Brian Hill and Dee Power’s book, The Making of a Bestseller, they interview dozens of authors, publishers, editors, and publicists to try and determine what actions help turn a book into a bestseller. It’s an older book written in 2005, prior to the modern age of self-publishing. Most...

Writing Real

One of the cardinal rules of writing is to “write what you know.” A simple enough suggestion, but seemingly so limited it’s all but useless. How can you only write about what you know? Can you write crime fiction without being a criminal or a cop? Can you write a legal thriller without being a lawyer? Stephen King, in his classic work On Writing, clarifies a bit: “When you step away from the ‘write what you know’ rule, research becomes inevitable, and it can add a lot to your story. Just don’t end up with the tail wagging the dog; remember that you are writing a novel, not a research paper. The story always comes...

Mastering Conflict a...

Mickey Spillane once said, “The first line sells your book. The last line sells your next book.” But how do you bridge the gap between those two lines? How do you get readers from Point A to Point Z without them giving up around Point F? (F as in Failed your job as a writer to engage the...

Get into the Zone an...

Sometimes the hardest thing about writing is the act of sitting down and getting the work done. Many writers have rituals that they use to get in the right frame of mind to produce material. Mine – which I admit is odd – is to eat a giant bowl of cereal, then put the bowl down next to my...

The “Stress-Free” Art of Writing

The creative moment is something that has fascinated me my whole life. As a child I’d watch my father, a gifted amateur painter, set a blank canvas on his easel, squeeze some paint onto his palette, fill his turpentine cup (ah, that heady, pungent aroma!), and set to work. Gradually he’d transform that blank expanse into a picture of a crashing seashore or a country lane or a collection of objects — bottle, candle, peach — that looked more lively and interesting than real life. How did this happen?, I wondered. How does that peach on that flat surface look more exciting than any real peach could? Later I learned something...

Spring Cleaning For ...

It’s that time of the year when winter fades away and spring slowly emerges. With this changing of seasons, a lot of us turn our focus toward spring cleaning. The start of a new season mixed with the cleanliness of your home gives one the feeling of being refreshed and recharged. Just like...

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

  Late last year, Writer’s Digest published a book by author and instructor Fred White entitled Where Do You Get Your Ideas?  The book’s premise is that finding ideas isn’t so hard, but finding good ideas and turning them into stories that are worthy of spending six months, a year, or even longer on takes some careful thought. White shows readers where to look for ideas, how to separate the good from the bad, and how to develop the former into something great. For me, I’ve always found that with my best ideas, I feel as if there’s a purpose to the writing — that I’m always moving towards a predetermined...

Holiday Writing Fun

We’re less than a week away from Christmas so I thought it might be nice if you gave yourself a little break over the holidays. Instead of sticking to your tried-and-true writing routine, try your hand at one (or more) of the fun exercises below. Maybe they’ll inspire a short story —...

Top 5 Quotes on the ...

As the publisher of Writer’s Digest, I’ve had the honor of speaking with hundreds of exceptional authors about writing and publishing. And I’ve been lucky enough to publish some of them. This is particularly gratifying because I love books on the craft and business of writing. In fact,...

Keep Writing Through the Holiday Season

Congrats! You’ve made it to another holiday season — and, subsequently, will most likely neglect your writing until Jan. 1.  Don’t worry. With shopping, family get-togethers and gift giving, it’s easy to forget writing projects during this time of year. To make sure you stay on track through the holiday craziness, here are five tips to help you keep writing. 1. Carry a small notepad and pen. With this digital age, we tend to forget that we can actually handwrite with those archaic tools called pen and paper. So next time you’re in line getting your 6-year-old that toy that he’ll probably forget by his next birthday, jot down...

Write Engaging Scenes Using All Five Senses

Quick — does your novel need an IV? Or maybe emergency surgery? It might be because your descriptions are flatlining.  You’ve already heard that to create lush, engaging descriptions in your novel, you need to “show, don’t tell.” But “show” implies “sight,” which leaves out our other four senses entirely. To have your reader experience a scene as intimately as possible, you must also incorporate sound, touch, taste and smell. These senses are often neglected, if they’re even addressed at all. To give your descriptions a jolt of electricity, follow these guidelines from Novelist’s Boot Camp by Todd A....

Have you found your voice?

In his book, Write Like the Masters, William Cane analyzes the writing talents of more than twenty well-known and highly respected authors — everyone from J.D. Salinger and Ray Bradbury to Tom Wolfe and Stephen King. The point in doing so is not to teach readers how to ape the style of any one particular author, but rather, to learn what each one does particularly well, and achieve that same level of excellence in their own work. The temptation upon reading the book, however, is to focus on mimicking a particular author’s voice, rather than the skills he or she exhibits. Each of the authors in the collection has a particularly unique...

Develop the Critic Within

Criticism about your writing is going to come in many forms. Someone you don’t know may write a review of your book in a newspaper. Someone you trust might offer a critique of your draft. You might get feedback from a writing group or read comments online at Amazon or Goodreads. Despite whether the criticism is constructive or destructive (and there’s a major difference), it is important to take all of it into consideration before throwing away as much of it as you wish. First off, most feedback you get from friends will be over-complimentary, so you have to take their “This is amazing!” comments with a grain of salt. These blanket...

The Toughest Crowd i...

They say writing for children is harder than your typical novel, and there’s good reason for this. As adults, we’ve developed an innate understanding about how to communicate with each other — how our work day went, what happened over the weekend, giving a speech at work, etc. But few...

Overcome Fear, Compl...

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”   —  H.P. Lovecraft There are some writers who cannot wait to get their words down on paper and who nearly stumble over themselves with eagerness to share those...

Write That Novel You...

Let me guess. You’ve got a lot of ideas, any of which would make a fantastic novel – if only you had the time to write them down. I know what it’s like. I’ve been there. Let’s face it, writing can be hard. It can be intimidating. It takes a lot of time. And then after all of that...