L.A. Kennedy

Beyond the story

Moriah Richard Everyone makes mistakes—even writers—but that’s okay because each mistake is a great learning opportunity. The Writer’s Digest team has witnessed many mistakes over the years, so we’re starting this series to help identify them early in the process. Note: The mistakes in this series aren’t focused on grammar rules, though we offer help …

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Robert Lee Brewer A narrative arc (or story arc) is the general shape (or structure) of a story as a whole. While you might dig into the details when sketching an outline for your story, the narrative arc looks at everything from a distance. For instance, the narrative arc of George Orwell’s Animal Farm on …

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Powerfully portrayed settings seem to have a life of their own, but how is that effect achieved? Here are five keys to teach you how to make your setting a character in your story or novel that goes beyond invoking the five senses in description. Donald Maass In great fiction, the setting lives from the …

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Don’t discount the power of a schedule. James Clear Franz Kafka is considered one of the most creative and influential writers of the 20th century, but he actually spent most of his time working as a lawyer for the Workers Accident Insurance Institute. How did Kafka produce such fantastic creative works while holding down his …

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You’ve probably heard steps one and two before, but the others might surprise you. Scott Young Writing matters. It matters for your career. Even if you’re not a journalist or J.K. Rowling, being able to communicate clearly will determine how people see you. Writing matters for your life. Futuristic visions from the early days of …

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This common affliction is behind so much unclear and confusing writing in the world today. Inc. Glenn Leibowitz “Why is so much writing so hard to understand? Why must a typical reader struggle to follow an academic article, the fine print on a tax return, or the instructions for setting up a wireless home network?” …

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Whether discussing movies or books, most agents and editors are eager to find projects that are high concept. In this post, learn how to develop high-concept book ideas to find more success with your writing. Robert Lee Brewer Whether discussing movies or books, most agents and editors are eager to find projects that are high …

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by Amanda Patterson Many writers struggle with plotting. In this post, What Is A Plot?, we define a plot and tell you how to use it in a story. What Is A Plot? A plot is a series of events that make up a story. Plots have beginnings, middles, and endings. The first quarter of your …

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Research on writers appearing at the Edinburgh international book festival reveals 63% listen to their creations, and 61% feel they have their own agency. Alison Flood Some writers have always claimed they can hear their characters speaking, with Enid Blyton suggesting she could “watch and hear everything” and Alice Walker describing how her characters would …

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Linda Newbery, Michael Lawrence and Lauren Child The main characters in fiction for children and teenagers tend, not surprisingly, to be children and teenagers, though it’s not hard to find exceptions, such as Philip Pullman’s Once Upon a Time in the North. To write convincingly, whether in first- or third-person, you need to position yourself …

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