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...

Read a book to keep your mind fresh

You may not be a fan of Stephen King’s books, but you can’t deny that he knows what it takes to write a book or two. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”  – Stephen King If you want to continue honing your craft, you must continue reading. By reading another author’s work you enjoy, you pick up new plot ideas, different ways of holding dialogue between characters or even inspiration for your next book cover. We urge you to go a bit beyond your preferred genre and pick up something you might not normally consider. It doesn’t have to be the classics, but...

You Can Make Anythin...

Remember this quote from C.S. Lewis the next time you sit down to start a new writing project. Be encouraged by the idea that there are no limits to the stories you can tell, the worlds you can create, or the characters you can meet. “You can make anything by writing.” ― C.S. Lewis The...

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...

Writing Influences: ...

Few things are more beneficial to your writing than reading the work of other great writers. Reading and studying the greats can show you what’s possible, teach you what works, and give you inspiration. But once you’ve soaked in all the wonder and wisdom from your favorite...

What type of writer are you?

If you’re searching for a way to classify your identity as a writer, look no further than this great quote from George R.R. Martin: “I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of...

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...

Now’s the Time to Pursue Your Writing Goals

In the writing world, there’s little room for fear. The moment you decide you want to be a writer, the time has come to put all self-doubt aside and simply go for it. It takes confidence, persistence and action to reach any writing goal — from finishing a draft of a manuscript to promoting your published work. “I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it.”  ― Anne Lamott Most writers — no matter how talented — go through phases of writing work they’re not happy with, getting rejections, and struggling to find people who are interested in their work. It’s...

How to End a Writing...

When in the middle of a writing session, how do you know when it’s time to stop working? When is time to keep writing, and when is it time to walk away? What’s the key to staying productive and energized? Today, we look for the answer in the words of Ernest Hemingway: “I always...

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...

Facing the Blank Pag...

In the beginning — as you’re trying to put the first words on the blank page of your newest work in progress — it’s easy to feel as though each word you write should be perfect. You want to start strong. You want to write that perfect opening paragraph that will unfold...

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...

Make the Most of You...

With the 2013 Writer’s Digest Conference East just around the corner, we thought we’d take a look at a quote from the featured keynote speaker of this much-anticipated event — Adriana Trigiani. How does this bestselling, prolific and beloved writer go about her work? “Everything has...

Make Writing a Prior...

With a busy work life, family life, social life, etc., it can be easy to lose focus on your writing life. Because finding  time to write can be a struggle, you have to make  time to write instead. “There are many excuses not to write. Try using writing as an excuse not to do other...

The Book in You: Thr...

There are many stages to discovering the book in you. You might be wondering how to write a story, or you might already be in the process of writing. But no matter which stage you’re currently in, eventually you’ll be searching for the answers on how to get published. Prepping for...

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...

Writing the First Se...

If there’s anyone I’d feel safe taking writing advice from, it’s Joyce Carol Oates — one of the most prolific writers of our time. Having published over 120 books over the course of her career, surely she must know something about powering through a first draft and reworking it until...

How to Write a Ficti...

It begins surreptitiously. Multiple characters speak to you, and each point of view is important. Complex patterns of plots, each with its own protagonist, weave through your pages. You write, and you write, and you write. One by one, you attempt to resolve plot arcs, even if they don’t...

Writing Your Future

There are two schools of thought when it comes to destiny. The first states that all is preordained and that all things happen according to a plan that cannot be changed or avoided. The other believes that fate does not exist and that our lives progress, for the most part, as directed by our...