1. Careers

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Fiction Writing: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
What Is the Definition of Third Person...
A definition of the literary term third person omniscient point of view as defined for fiction writers.
Definition and Sample of Third Person Point of...
A definition of the term third person point of view as it applies to the craft of fiction writing. Third person point of view may be limited or omniscient.
Fiction Writing: What Is the Third Person...
A definition of the literary term third person limited point of view for writers of short stories and novels. In third person limited, the narrator reveals the thoughts of only a single character.
How to Choose the Right Point of View for Your...
As a writer, you must choose which point of view will allow you to develop your characters and tell your story most effectively.
Examples of Third-Person Narrative in Classic...
If you're still a little confused about what third person writing looks like in prose, learn from these classic fiction examples.
The Correct Way to Punctuate Your Dialogue
Nothing marks a beginning writer faster than improperly punctuated dialogue. Learn the rules.
8 Best Tips for Writing Dialogue
These simple rules and obvious pitfalls are good to keep in mind when writing dialogue that advances the action of the story and builds the characters.
Fiction Writing Vocabulary: What Is a Round...
Chances are good that the characters you've most loved or appreciated in fiction are round characters. Find out what makes a round character dynamic and how you can create your own round characters here.
Fiction Writing Vocabulary: What Is a Flat...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
How to Submit Your Short Story to "The New...
Founded in 1925 by Harold Ross, the magazine is one of the most venerated publishers of short fiction. Submit your story as a PDF using their online form.
What Is First Person Point of View?
A definition of the literary term first person point of view as used by fiction writers.
How to Rewrite Your Story in the Third Person
In a rut with the first person? It's common for beginning writers to avoid writing in the third person initially, but some stories benefit from the freedom it allows you. This exercise will help you rewrite a story in the third person.
10 Questions for Creating Believable Fictional...
Creating complex, well-rounded characters takes time -- time spent thinking about how your characters look, where they're from, and what motivates them, for instance. The questions on this page provide structure to this all-important thought process.
What You Need to Know About Characters as a...
Round characters, flat characters, stock characters . . . learn about all the different kinds and what they mean for you as a writer and a reader.
5 Rules to Writing a Great Short Story
Short-story writers generally follow, consciously or unconsciously, a standard list of rules For example: Use few characters and stick to one point of view.
Definition of the word character as used by writers of novels, short stories, and other fictional works.
How to Write “You” Stories: Fiction...
A definition of the literary term second person point of view as defined for fiction writers.
What Is the Definition of Voice for Creative...
Voice has two meanings in fiction - the author's style, and the characteristic speech of a first-person narrator.
What Is the Definition of a 'Static Character'?
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: Static
How to Get Story Ideas for Your Fiction Writing
The truth about where great story ideas come from and how you can learn to generate more of them than you could ever use.
Top 10 Rules for Mystery Writing
The mystery, more than other genres, tends to follow standard rules, making it both easier and harder for the mystery writers. Whether you end up following them or breaking them, it's important to at least know what they are.
22 Facts to Help You Understand Jane Austen
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >As critic Gary
What Is a Dynamic Character?
A major character in a work of fiction who encounters conflict and is changed by it
A Breakdown of Theme for Creative Writers
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
What Is a Protagonist?
The protagonist is the main character in a story, novel, drama, or other literary work, the character that the reader or audience empathizes with. The antagonist opposes the protagonist. In the most simple narratives, this boils down to bad guy vs. good guy: Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vadar.
How to Get Your Short Stories Published
Learn how to publish short stories in journals and magazines, from formating your work to weathering rejection.
Submitting to a Literary Journal? Use These...
If you're not sure what to write for the short bio in your cover letter to a literary journal -- perhaps because you don't have any publications yet -- these samples from published writers will get you started.
Metaphor Examples
Metaphor examples are easy to find, both in great literature (and not-so-great literature) and in everyday speech. These examples of both will help you make the most of this writing tool.
Figurative Language Quiz
Figurative Language Quiz From Ginny Wiehardt ,Your Guide to Fiction Writing .FREE Newsletter. Sign Up
Month by Month Deadlines for the Various Short...
Keep up with short story contest deadlines with these monthly calendars, and find information on fellowships and residencies.
Enter these contests now!
Six writing contests to enter before the end of the month including Glimmertrain, Narrative Magazine and The Fish Short Story Prize!
Publishing Company Profiles
When you're ready to publish your novel, you'll want to start with the big publishing companies: Random House, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, etc. Learn a little bit about each one before you start this process.
6 Types of Figurative Language You Can Use in...
Metaphor and simile are the two most common examples of figurative language, but figurative language also includes other types. Read more here.
What Is Figurative Language and When Should...
A figurative language definition for creative writers, students, and teachers from About.com's guide to fiction writing.
Short Story Editing Checklist
Before you show your story to anyone, make sure that you've caught at least the obvious spelling and grammar mistakes using this comprehensive editing checklist.
detective story
A definition of the literary term,
10 Ways to Discover New Ideas for Your Short...
The hardest part about writing is finding original short story ideas. These exercises and prompts will give you a jumping-off point to get unstuck.
point of view
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: Point
A new magazine pays for your flash fiction!
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >About the magazine:
How to Write a Cover Letter for Your Literary...
Submitting creative writing for publication is not that different from applying for a job. You want to put your best, most professional foot forward, starting with your cover letter. How do you achieve this?
Tips to Keep in Mind While Developing Your...
Your writing style evolves naturally over time through reading and writing, but here is a list of things to keep in mind as you develop it.
Examples of Metaphor from Everyday Speech
We don't have to look very far to find examples of metaphor. From expressions like
6 fiction contests to enter now!
Early-December fiction contest deadlines!
What is the truth in fiction?
How do you make fiction read like non-fiction? How can you make your fiction believable? Advice for writers.
Learn to Write from the Masters
While books on writing have a lot to say about the writing process, many valuable skills and strategies can be learned by studying the work -- as well as the lives -- of writers you admire. Writing fiction is a complex process: it requires a suitably nuanced course of study. In the same way, the answers to many questions about how to lead a writer's life can be found in the examples set by successful writers.
How to Write (and Actually Finish) Your Novel
There are no hard and fast rules for getting from first draft to bookstore shelf, but these tips on how to write a novel will help you find your way.
How to Write Realistic Dialogue
Alfred Hitchcock once said that a good story was
10 Practical Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block
Most writers have trouble with writer's block at some point in their careers. Fortunately, there are many ways to start writing again.
Elements of Basic Plot for Beginning Writers
While some writers have absorbed or were born with a sense of how to tell a story effectively, most study the elements of plot and pay serious attention to how to successfully construct a narrative. Here's what to keep in mind.
How To Avoid Too Much Back Story
Does your fiction tend to get bogged down in back story? Are you unsure of how to stay in the present with a piece? This exercise will help you learn to create forward-moving fiction.
What Is Style for Creative Writers?
Definition of the word. Fiction Writing.
How to Pitch Your Novel to Agents and Publishers
How to craft and deliver a killer pitch of your novel that will have them begging to read it.
Photographs as Writing Prompts
Pictures, and especially photographs, carry with them implicit narratives, making them ideal writing prompts for generating new short story ideas.
Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term...
A review of Kate Turabian's classic style book, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.
An antagonist is one of the central characters in a piece of fiction, key in providing a source of conflict upon which the plot may turn.
Tips on Writing Dialogue
Let the story unfold naturally when writing dialogue. You don't have to let the reader know everything up front, and you can trust the reader to remember details from earlier in the story.
mystery novel
A definition of the term mystery novel, the characteristics of mystery novels and the rules of the genre.
What Is the Definition of a Symbol in Creative...
Definition of the literary term, symbol, as used by writers, and in literature and art.
Creative Writing Exercises
Sometimes the hardest part of writing is coming up with something to write about. These exercises and writing prompts will help you generate new short story ideas.
How to Freewrite
Are you foggy on exactly what freewriting should look like? Here's one example of how the process might play out.
How To Use the Dictionary to Discover New...
The dictionary is a wealth of story ideas and writing prompts. This exercise will guide you through the process of unlocking this tool.
Create Your Own Metaphors
Spending just a little time on metaphors and similes can spur you to make better use of them in your writing. This exercise designed for poets works for fiction writers as well.
10 Creative Writing Prompts That Will Jumpstart...
Need a starting point for your creative writing session? Try these creative writing prompts.
The definition of story, as a literary term, is the full sequence of events as we imagine them to have taken place, in their natural order and duration.
4 Best Ways to Know Your Book Idea Is Good
If you're going to commit years of your life to a project, you obviously want to be sure that it's worth it. So how do you know if your idea is novel worthy? A few questions will help you decide.
Publications for Young Writers
Are you a teenager or pre-teen who's ready to publish your work? Magazines from Stone Soup to Teen Ink are taking work from young writers now.
Top 10 Small Literary Magazines and Journals
Looking to start submitting your fiction to literary magazines, but unsure of where to begin? These ten journals are prefect for beginning the process. All are well-respected, but also open to work by new authors.
Pictures to Use as Writing Prompts
Choose one of these photographs as a writing prompt for your next free writing session. By using an image you did not take, you are more likely to free associate.
How Cell Phones Change Fiction
How has the cell phone changed fiction?
Writers' Conference Advice
An Editorial Director at Random House Children's Books offers advice on how to present your ideas in a professional way during high-pressure writers' conferences pitch sessions.
How To Employ All Five Senses in Creating Your...
An exercise to help writers use all five senses to develop a story's setting, which some swear is the most important element of any fictional work.
Reading Like a Writer
Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write Them instructs writers in the art of close reading, showing them how it can help them improve their own work.
How To Use Freewriting to Get Short Story Ideas
Freewriting is one of the best tools for generating short story ideas. It is a simple writing exercise that can be done anywhere and requires a minimum of time. The only thing free writing does require, in fact, is a pen and paper. Even the willingness to let go is provided by the exercise.
How can you break the "genre" mold?
Author Francesca Lia Block on myths, Los Angeles and writing on her own terms.
Using Dialogue Tags Effectively
Veering too much from. Fiction Writing.
Top 11 Gifts for Writers
Having trouble selecting gifts for writers in your life? Want something that shows support, but is more creative than a generic pen and pencil set? With a little thought, you can choose a gift that your friend will cherish. This guide will help you get started.
Definition of the word. Fiction Writing.
Fiction Writing Vocabulary: Stock Character
Stock characters draw from widely known cultural types for their characteristics and mannerisms, and are often used in parody. Every culture has its own set of stock characters.
Writing Action Scenes
Action scenes aren't just for espionage or fantasy novels: almost every story will have some sequences in which the characters are doing things. How do you get the action right? These tips will help.
Alliteration Examples
Examples can help you make use of a literary technique in your own work. These examples of alliteration have been compiled to help you do just that.
Information on the magazine and submitting...
Information on Literary Magazine Favorite One Story
How to Choose a Genre for Your Novels
Advice for writers on when and how to choose a genre to write in.
Best Dialogue Tips for Writing Fiction
How to make your dialogue believable in fiction
Action Writing Example
In action writing, the pacing of your writing is part of what conveys the action. What does this mean? Find out with this example.
How to Find the Right Literary Agent for You
Finding a literary agent can be one of the hardest steps in getting your book published. This how-to breaks the process of finding an agent into manageable tasks.
November Short Story Contests
Find book and short story contests, awards, fellowships, and residencies with November deadlines, including urls, deadlines, and fees.
simultaneous submission
: A simultaneous submission is the submission of the same short story or other piece of writing to more
Books for Beginning Writers
With so many books for writers out there -- particularly for the beginning writer -- it can be hard to know where to start. These reviews of some classic and recent books for writers will help you decide which ones are right for you.
A definition of the literary term,
magic realism
The term magic realism describes contemporary fiction, often from Latin America or the third world, whose narrative blends magical or fantastical elements with reality. Magic realist writers include Gabriel García Márquez, Alejo Carpentier, and Isabel Allende.
Use Metaphors Correctly
When used correctly, metaphors are effective fiction writing tools, but like most literary devices, metaphors bomb when used incorrectly. Learn about the two most common traps to avoid when using metaphors in your fiction writing.
What Do Editors Mean by a "Short Bio"?
The idea of writing a “short bio” to go along with their submission to a literary journal can be daunting. This is what editors are looking for.
Used correctly, metaphors can be a powerful tool for fiction writers. Used incorrectly, however, metaphors only confuse and distract your reader.
An allusion definition for creative writers, students, and teachers from About.com's guide to fiction writing.
Enter these writing contests!
Information on upcoming fiction contests including the Narrative 30 Below Contest, The Story Prize Contest and the Pushcart Prize Editors' Award.
Top 7 Signs Your Short Story Wants to Be a Novel
How do you know if a short story is really a novel? These six signs will help you evaluate whether or not to expand your short story into a novel.
How to Write Fiction
Want to learn how to write better? If you have a willingness to work at it, you can learn to write anything, including fiction. Start by reviewing these basic components.
December Short Story Contests and Awards
Keep up with December book and short story contests, awards, fellowships, and residencies with this calendar including information on website urls, contest deadlines, and fees.
figure of speech
Figures of speech are imaginative, non-literal ways of using language that will make your prose stronger and more effective when used properly.
Definition of the literary term climax as it relates to a work of fiction.
NaNoWriMo Tips
In the generous -- and lighthearted -- spirit of the event, veteran wrimos share their favorite NaNoWriMo tips and secrets.
Simile, like metaphor, is a type of figurative language used by fiction writers to convey an image or idea to the reader.
14 Best Literary Magazines
Are you starting out with the process of submitting work to literary magazines and journals? The first step is familiarizing yourself with the market. This list will help you begin.
How is micro-fiction like other fiction?
Writing flash fiction: how to tell a short-short story
How to Break Up Dialogue with Action
These examples illustrate how to ground your dialogue in the physical world with action and description.
From the German for formation novel, or education novel, a bildungsroman is a novel that traces the development of a character from childhood to adulthood.
Make Time to Write
For most of us, making time to write will always be something of a struggle. With friends and family, financial obligations, and emotional issues all vying for our attention, it takes determination to make a writing schedule and stick to it. I've come to the conclusion that there is no easy answer, but there are concrete things we can do to make time to write.
How to Find a Writing Class
A writing class is one of the best ways to find a writing community, but how do you find a class or a teacher you know will be worthwhile? These tips will help you begin your search.
episodic novel
A definition of the literary term,
Thoughts on Marketing and Connecting Short...
Thoughts on connecting and marketing short story collections
Fiction Writing Profile About American Author Avi
Avi was born Edward Irving Wortis in 1937 in New York City and was raised in Brooklyn, New York. So where did the name
Know Your Theme
A different way of examining theme in fiction and how knowing yours can improve your writing.
Listening for Dialogue
For many writers, writing natural-sounding dialogue is one of the hardest parts. This little exercise helps you develop an ear for the way that people really talk.
Tips for an Effective Creative Writing Critique
We all know the experience of getting the wrong criticism, of feeling shut down and discouraged rather than pumped up to revise. But what exactly makes it wrong? Doesn't it vary from person to person, even from project to project?
How to Be a Writer
What makes a person a writer?
Story Starters
Almost everyone could use a little help in filling a blank page from time to time. Use these story starters, contributed by readers, to launch your writing session.
Writers' Rooms
Since the Writers Room opened in Manhattan in 1978 to provide urban writers with a place to write, a number of similar spaces have opened up around the U.S. and abroad. Though it doesn't guarantee the proverbial room of one's own, it does offer a cubicle and some community.
How to Write a Novel
With regard to writing a novel, there's no one-size-fits-all approach, which is why we decided to ask our readers for their advice on how to write a novel. Our article on the topic offers one perspective, but it wouldn't strike home with everyone, at least not for all aspects of the process.
Social Networking for Writers
An engaging website is just the beginning of a successful book marketing campaign. Now you have to get online and promote it. Start with these social networking sites.
July Short Story Writing Contests
Find info on book and short story writing contests, fellowships, and residencies with July deadlines here.
Though a chapbook may not count as a
hard-boiled detective novel
Definition of the literary term, hard-boiled detective novel, for writers of mystery and detective fiction. Hard-boiled detective novels typically feature a professional detective as opposed to an amateur sleuth.
epistolary novel
Find the definition of the literary term
Writing Apps to Keep You Organized and Inspired
5 apps to ease your writing life
Conflict is the heart of any plot. The conflict can be between the protagonist and another character, the antagonist; between the protagonist and nature; or the protagonist and society. It can also be an internal or psychological conflict.
Novelist and teacher Myfanwy Collins
Writer Myfanwy Collins on her new YA novel THE BOOK OF LANEY
What is it that stops writers from actually...
Why the novel we have inside us sometimes stays there.
Info on the Low-residency MFA program at...
Author and MFA Director Rene Steinke of Fairleigh Dickinson University discusses what makes this low-residency program so unique.
Revision Checklist
While you can't catch every mistake yourself, this revision checklist will help you make sure you've checked your work for the obvious pitfalls before sharing it with someone else.
Add Description to Your Writing
Many writers struggle with description, but it's a necessary element of vivid prose. How can you add description to your writing? These tips will help you get details on the page.
All About Harper Lee
For the 50th anniversary of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, we're taking a look at the author's life and her most important work.
Enter these fiction contests soon!
Submit your fiction to these upcoming early-November contests!
Hands: A Creative Writing Exercise in 5 Steps
This creative writing exercise begins with a description prompt and then leads writers through a series of seemingly unrelated steps, resulting in original and surprising associations.
Examples of Alliteration from Moby Dick
For a better idea of how alliteration can function in prose -- to build suspense, drama, or comedy -- study these examples from Melville's classic novel, Moby Dick.
: An autobiography is an account of a person's life written by that person. A biography, on the other
WRITERLY STATES - the new video series...
WRITERLY STATES - A new video series featuring interviews with writers throughout the United States.
Do you agree with Samuel Johnson that punning is the lowest form of humor?
Creative Writing Exercises for Craft
No matter what stage you're at with your writing, it's always beneficial to work on craft and technique. These creative writing exercises target common problems and weaknesses.
Letting Go of Words to Tell a Story
Thoughts on cutting and editing writing in order to benefit your story.
January Short Story Contests and Awards
Get yourself organized for the new year with this calendar listing book and short story contests, awards, fellowships, and residencies with January deadlines.
What Can We Learn from Stephenie Meyer?
Whatever you think of her books, Stephenie Meyer has built the kind of devoted fan base other writers only dream of. What can we learn from Stephenie Meyer in writing our own books?
: Hyperbole, a type of figure of speech , uses exaggeration or overstatement for emphasis. Mark Twain
Cover Letter Advice
See how one anonymous poet approaches her cover letters. Short and sweet, but also effective, her cover letters take very little time to craft and yet say what needs to be said in a straightforward, professional manner.
Erotic Fiction Defined (and Wanted): Publish...
Curious about erotic fiction? Find out more about the genre and where to get your erotica published!
Okey Panky, Cherry Tree, Firewords Quarterly,...
Four new literary magazines await great fiction!
Ten-Minute Creative Writing Exercise
If you think you don't have time to write, think again. See what you can produce with a simple set of writing prompts and ten minutes of your time with this creative writing exercise.
Sentimentality comes up as an issue for nearly every writer at some point. In attempting to convey strong emotions, it's easy to go too far and make your reader feel manipulated instead of moved. How do writers learn to differentiate between sentiment and sentimentality?
Writing Scams
How do you evaluate whether or not a writing contest is a writing scam? Here's the criteria we use when deciding whether or not to add a contest to our calendar.

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.