You Know Enough

If ever you doubt your capacity for great story ideas, may you find comfort in the words of novelist, poet and memoirist May Sarton: “Anyone who is going to be a writer knows enough at 15 to write several novels.” — May Sarton When you find yourself struggling to find inspiration, look...

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...

Readers as Accomplic...

  “All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.” — Steve Almond Many people talk about fiction in terms of truth and lies. While “lies” can feel like a harsh word to describe the...

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...

There is only one plot…

  There’s much to be said about the craft of writing. That’s why each week on the Abbott Press blog, we’ll take a look at what some of our favorite authors and thinkers have to say about this challenging, fulfilling and sometimes mystifying art. We hope these discussions will help you to further refine your own ideas about writing and to achieve new insights into your own creative process. We begin our series of Weekly Writing Quotes with something from pulp crime fiction author Jim Thompson on the subject of plot: “There is only one plot — things are not what they seem.” — Jim Thompson For writers who already excel...

How to use Pinterest as a Writer Jan03

How to use Pinterest...

The last thing many writers want is another social networking platform to worry about. But, as Pinterest has found its place among top social media sites, it’s worth your time to investigate how you might use this popular online space as a resource. Unlike most social media platforms,...

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,...

Life After NaNoWriMo...

Last month, writers everywhere participated in National Novel Writing Month with the ambitious goal of completing a 50,000-word novel manuscript. If you reached your November writing goal, congratulations! You’ve already accomplished something impressive, yet finishing the first draft of a...

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....

Smart Publishing: Fi...

Like many writers, you might have a deep, driving desire to publish your works. But where do you start? Book publishing is a whole new world separate from writing, so don’t worry if you have questions. While you’re narrowing your search for a publisher, whether you chose to publish with...

You Say You Write In...

First, let me say that I am honored to write this guest blog. On the heels of the Writer’s Digest Conference West this past weekend (which I had a blast at and highly recommend), this seems like perfect timing for a blog about finding the time to write. I know this topic has been covered...

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...

What’s Your Measure ...

One of the blessings of indie publishing is that you retain creative control over the final product. You determine the title and cover, you create or approve the back cover copy, and you determine the quality of the text. (Side note: Assuming that the text is good, simply because you wrote it,...

Let’s Talk Getting P...

Hello there! I’m Phil Sexton, Publisher of Writer’s Digest. This new blog provides a space for us to talk about writing, self publishing, platform building and more. I’m hopeful that you’ll find insights and ideas for making your book the best it can be – and as successful as...