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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.
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.
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.
The Correct Way to Punctuate Your Dialogue
Nothing marks a beginning writer faster than improperly punctuated dialogue. Learn the rules.
Fiction Writing Vocabulary: What Is a Flat...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
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.
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.
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.
What Is First Person Point of View?
A definition of the literary term first person point of view as used by fiction writers.
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.
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.
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.
How to Write “You” Stories: Fiction...
A definition of the literary term second person point of view as defined for fiction writers.
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.
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 Figurative Language and When Should...
A figurative language definition for creative writers, students, and teachers from About.com's guide to fiction writing.
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.
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.
Submission info and guidelines
Four great contests to enter now!
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 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.
What Is a Character in Fiction Writing?
Definition of the word character as used by writers of novels, short stories, and other fictional works.
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.
A Breakdown of Theme for Creative Writers
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: A
Figurative Language Quiz
Figurative Language Quiz From Ginny Wiehardt ,Your Guide to Fiction Writing .FREE Newsletter. Sign Up
What Is a Dynamic Character?
A major character in a work of fiction who encounters conflict and is changed by it
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.
How to Get Your Short Stories Published
Learn how to publish short stories in journals and magazines, from formating your work to weathering rejection.
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.
Letting Go of Words to Tell a Story
Thoughts on cutting and editing writing in order to benefit your story.
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.
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.
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?
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.
22 Facts to Help You Understand Jane Austen
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >As critic Gary
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.
Author/Teacher Kathryn Buckley on writing fiction
Advice from writer Kathryn Buckley
What Is Style for Creative Writers?
Definition of the word. Fiction Writing.
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.
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.
point of view
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Definition: Point
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.
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.
What Is an Antagonist?
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.
What Is the Definition of a Symbol in Creative...
Definition of the literary term, symbol, as used by writers, and in literature and art.
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.
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.
Best Way to Use Pictures 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 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.
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.
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.
Jen Michalski talks shop!
Writer Jen Michalski on being an author, editor, and supporter of good 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.
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.
10 Creative Writing Prompts That Will Jumpstart...
Need a starting point for your creative writing session? Try these creative writing prompts.
How to Write Realistic Dialogue
Alfred Hitchcock once said that a good story was
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.
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.
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.
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.
Flash Fiction and Lydia Davis: what makes a...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >How is a short-short
Examples of Metaphor from Everyday Speech
We don't have to look very far to find examples of metaphor. From expressions like
March Writing Contests
Calendar listing creative writing contests with March deadlines. Keep up with this spring's awards here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Photographs as Writing Prompts
Pictures, and especially photographs, carry with them implicit narratives, making them ideal writing prompts for generating new short story ideas.
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.
What Is an Allusion?
An allusion definition for creative writers, students, and teachers from About.com's guide to fiction writing.
plot
A definition of the literary term,
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.
bildungsroman
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.
Using Dialogue Tags Effectively
Veering too much from. Fiction Writing.
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.
mystery novel
A definition of the term mystery novel, the characteristics of mystery novels and the rules of the genre.
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
dialogue
Definition of the word. Fiction 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.
simultaneous submission
: A simultaneous submission is the submission of the same short story or other piece of writing to more
How to Break Up Dialogue with Action
These examples illustrate how to ground your dialogue in the physical world with action and description.
When is the right time to write your story?
How long should you wait to write a story based on a real experience?
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.
How To Use Modifiers More Effectively
While modifiers -- adjectives and adverbs -- can add to a story, too many, or the wrong ones, can bog down your prose and lead to weaker nouns and verbs. This writing exercise, by forcing you to hold off on modifiers altogether, will challenge you to choose your nouns and verbs more carefully.
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.
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.
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.
February Short Story Contests
Calendar listing book and short story contests, awards, fellowships, and residencies with February deadlines for writers of novels and short stories. Links, contest deadlines, fees, and more.
story
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.
hyperbole
: Hyperbole, a type of figure of speech , uses exaggeration or overstatement for emphasis. Mark Twain
simile
Simile, like metaphor, is a type of figurative language used by fiction writers to convey an image or idea to the reader.
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.
metaphor
Used correctly, metaphors can be a powerful tool for fiction writers. Used incorrectly, however, metaphors only confuse and distract your reader.
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.
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.
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.
How to Be a Writer
What makes a person a writer?
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.
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.
Writers are People Too
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The literary interview
pun
Do you agree with Samuel Johnson that punning is the lowest form of humor?
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.
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.
What You Need to Know About HarperCollins
Find out about submitting your fiction to HarperCollins, one of the five biggest publishing companies in the United States. Includes some of the press's history and includes a link to an interview with fiction editor Jeanette Perez.
How to Format Short Stories for Publication
If you want to be taken seriously as a writer, you'll want to be familiar with these rules for formatting short stories.
climax
Definition of the literary term climax as it relates to a work of fiction.
March Contests and Awards
Calendar listing book and short story contests, awards, fellowships, and residencies with March deadlines for writers of novels and short stories interested in submitting their short stories or novels to contests and awards. Information on website urls, contest deadlines, and fees. Page 2.
episodic novel
A definition of the literary term,
Apply for these grants and awards!
February 2015 fiction deadlines and entry fees. Enter!
personification
Personification, a common figure of speech along with simile and metaphor, is used in prose and poetry as well as in everyday speech.
How to Choose a Genre for Your Novels
Advice for writers on when and how to choose a genre to write in.
alliteration
Alliteration is another tool used by creative writers, especially in more poetic works, although it is often employed for comic purposes as well.
Testing a New Novel or Short Story Idea
Robert McKee, in his book, Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting, has
detective story
A definition of the literary term,
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.
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.
chapbook
Though a chapbook may not count as a
Example of Unreliable Narrator from A Gesture...
How does Chang-rae Lee use a first-person unreliable narrator to build tension and hint at deeper psychological struggles? See what you can learn from this example.
Are You Ready to Publish?
Before beginning the process of trying to get your fiction published, it's important to know whether or not you're ready. These five questions will help you evaluate whether or not you're ready to embark on that stage of your writing life.
Steven Paul Winkelstein on summoning the muse
Author Steven Paul Winkelstein on conjuring the muse.
How is micro-fiction like other fiction?
Writing flash fiction: how to tell a short-short story
conflict
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.
epistolary novel
Find the definition of the literary term
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.
Know Your Theme
A different way of examining theme in fiction and how knowing yours can improve your writing.
Profile of American Short Fiction
A quarterly magazine, American Short Fiction strives to discover and publish new fiction in which transformations of language, narrative, and character occur swiftly, deftly, and unexpectedly. This profile provides all the information you need to submit your work to ASF.
How to Get Published: A Quiz
How to Get Published: A Quiz From Ginny Wiehardt ,Your Guide to Fiction Writing .FREE Newsletter. Sign
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 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 Secrets to Find Short Story Ideas
It's sometimes hard to come up with original short story ideas. This game involving secrets helps writing students discover new inspirations for their short stories.
What is it that stops writers from actually...
Why the novel we have inside us sometimes stays there.
Sex vs. Erotica. The big difference.
What is the difference between writing about sex and writing erotica?
Why Conflict Matters
Conflict is the basis of plot; without conflict there's no growth or change. In short, there's no story. What do you need to know about conflict as a writer?
Questions to ask and thoughts to consider when...
How to hire a professional to edit your manuscript
multiple submission
: The term "multiple submission" refers to sending more than one piece of writing to a literary magazine
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.
May Writing Contests
Find information on writing contests for the month of May, including website urls, contest deadlines, and fees.
synecdoche
Definition of the literary term, synecdoche, for writers of short stories and novels.
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?
Publishing Advice from Jeanette Perez
Jeanette Perez offers writers seeking to get their novels and short story collections published advice culled from her time in the editorial department of HarperCollins Publishers.
Choosing a Creative Writing Program
Creative writing programs can provide a writer with time and space in which to write, but they can also be uncomfortable places. Some careful consideration can make a big difference in your experience.
Five Tips to Avoiding Total Disaster as a...
Kris Saknussemm, author of Zanesville: A Novel, offers his advice on making it as a novelist.
denouement
A definition of the literary term.
What You Need to Know About Random House
Many of the blockbuster novels -- the work you see in the Barnes and Noble windows -- will have come out of Random House, a huge company founded by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer in 1927. However, there are many imprints within the company, and many editors, each with their own style.
euphemism
Euphemisms, used in dialogue, can be helpful tools for the creative writer. This definition will help you make better use of them.
Adding Dimension to Your Characters
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Mystery writer
sentimentality
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?
Assonance Examples
Examples can help you make use of a literary technique in your own work. These examples of assonance and alliteration have been compliled to help you do just that.

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