Fiction Writing: Most Popular Articles
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.
A definition of the literary term third person omniscient point of view as defined for fiction writers.
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.
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.
Top agencies representing literary fiction
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.
Nothing marks a beginning writer faster than improperly punctuated dialogue. Learn the rules.
Round characters, flat characters, stock characters . . . learn about all the different kinds and what they mean for you as a writer and a reader.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A definition of the literary term first person point of view as used by fiction writers.
: A flat character is a minor character in a work of fiction who does not undergo substantial change
As a writer, you must choose which point of view will allow you to develop your characters and tell your story most effectively.
The truth about where great story ideas come from and how you can learn to generate more of them than you could ever use.
Learn how to publish short stories in journals and magazines, from formating your work to weathering rejection.
If you're still a little confused about what third person writing looks like in prose, learn from these classic fiction examples.
Voice has two meanings in fiction - the author's style, and the characteristic speech of a first-person narrator.
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.
A definition of the literary term second person point of view as defined for fiction writers.
Most writers have trouble with writer's block at some point in their careers. Fortunately, there are many ways to start writing again.
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.
A figurative language definition for creative writers, students, and teachers from About.com's guide to fiction writing.
: A theme is the central idea or ideas explored by a literary work. John Gardner puts it this way: "By
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?
Definition of the word character as used by writers of novels, short stories, and other fictional works.
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.
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.
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.
Keep up with short story contest deadlines with these monthly calendars, and find information on fellowships and residencies.
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 craft and deliver a killer pitch of your novel that will have them begging to read it.
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.
Definition of the word. Fiction Writing.
tk. Fiction Writing.
Figurative Language Quiz From Ginny Wiehardt ,Your Guide to Fiction Writing .FREE Newsletter. Sign Up
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.
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 make your dialogue believable in fiction
Need a starting point for your creative writing session? Try these creative writing prompts.
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.
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.
A major character in a work of fiction who encounters conflict and is changed by it
: Static characters are minor characters in a work of fiction who do not undergo substantial change or
: Point of view is the perspective from which a story is told; the narrator's position in relation to
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.
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.
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.
Information on book and short story contests, along with details about awards, fellowships, and residencies with August deadlines for fiction 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.
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A definition of the literary term,
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.
Pictures, and especially photographs, carry with them implicit narratives, making them ideal writing prompts for generating new short story ideas.
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.
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.
Definition of the literary term, symbol, as used by writers, and in literature and art.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Metaphor and simile are the two most common examples of figurative language, but figurative language also includes other types. Read more here.
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.
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.
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.
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Find info on book and short story writing contests, fellowships, and residencies with July deadlines here.
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.
Veering too much from. Fiction Writing.
Information for Indiana Review Half-K Prize
Figures of speech are imaginative, non-literal ways of using language that will make your prose stronger and more effective when used properly.
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.
What is the difference between writing about sex and writing erotica?
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.
A quick, fun writing exercise to help you come up with a ton of story ideas in no time.
In the age of the Internet, writers are much more involved in marketing their books, whether they're making the bestseller lists or publishing themselves. Find the methods of book promotion that fit you best.
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.
Robert McKee, in his book, Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting, has
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.
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.
Advice for writers on when and how to choose a genre to write in.
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.
Definition of the literary term climax as it relates to a work of fiction.
An allusion definition for creative writers, students, and teachers from About.com's guide to fiction writing.
Alfred Hitchcock once said that a good story was
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.
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.
Each month from September to May, the fiction writing site at About.com supplies a monthly writing challenge and posts reader responses. Read the challenges from past months and submit a response to the most recent writing challenge.
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.
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.
An interview with writer and publisher Lee Houck.
If you're a fan of English-language literature, few places are as full of literary landmarks as London, home to everyone from Shakespeare and Milton to Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot. This literary London tour points out just a few of the many places where you can commune with your literary heroes.
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.
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.
Since 1992, The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron's guide to achieving a more creative life, has helped countless artists and writers to uncover the reasons for their creative block and then implement a habit to overcome it.
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.
Famous for attracting writers and infamous for exorbitant rents, New York City has more writers' rooms than any other American city. The Writers Room created the model when it opened in Manhattan in 1978, and similar spaces have sprung up in the city since then, offering space and community to the city's many writers.
: A simultaneous submission is the submission of the same short story or other piece of writing to more
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.
Used correctly, metaphors can be a powerful tool for fiction writers. Used incorrectly, however, metaphors only confuse and distract your reader.
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.
The possible reasons for writer's block are myriad: fear and anxiety, a life change, the end of a project, the beginning of a project, harsh criticism, big success…almost anything, it seems, can cause writer's block. Fortunately, there are just as many ways to beat it.
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.
These examples illustrate how to ground your dialogue in the physical world with action and description.
We don't have to look very far to find examples of metaphor. From expressions like
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.
A definition of the term mystery novel, the characteristics of mystery novels and the rules of the genre.
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.
If you're ready to try small presses with your novel, these profiles will give you an idea of what each press is like and how best to approach them.
Keep up with important fellowships, grants, short story contests, and residencies with this calendar for the month of September.
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.
When you're trying to complete a big project, funding can make all the difference. Here you'll find the basics on the major funding opportunities available for writers.
Definition of the word. Fiction Writing.
How do you make fiction read like non-fiction? How can you make your fiction believable? Advice for writers.
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.
A definition of the literary term.
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.
Tools, tips and techniques to write fiction faster than you ever have before.
The possible reasons for writer's block are myriad: fear and anxiety, a life change, the end of a project, the beginning of a project, harsh criticism, big success…almost anything, it seems, can cause writer's block. Fortunately, there are just as many ways to beat it. Page 2.
In action writing, the pacing of your writing is part of what conveys the action. What does this mean? Find out with this example.
A different way of examining theme in fiction and how knowing yours can improve your writing.
A definition of the literary term,
Though a chapbook may not count as a
Middle-grade novelist Berniece L. contributed this example of a cover letter she sent for her first novel.
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Every November, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, spurs writers all over the world to write -- or at least attempt to write -- an entire novel in one month. Sound crazy? You don't know the half of it.
Begun in 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook can do more than connect you with long lost friends: for many writers, it's an essential PR tool. Find out why you should have a Facebook page and learn how to set it up.
A profile of the famous Paris bookstore, Shakespeare and Company. Shakespeare and Company is famous for allowing young writers to stay for free in exchange for work, but it also hosts readings, writing groups, and conferences for writers and literary expats.
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.
A creative writing teacher named Daisee sent in this writing exercise, which she learned from one of her students.
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.
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.
Kris Saknussemm, author of Zanesville: A Novel, offers his advice on making it as a novelist.
An idea box is one way to ensure that you always have a stock of ideas for your creative writing.
Calendar listing book and short story contests, awards, fellowships, and residencies with October deadlines for fiction writers interested in submitting their short stories or novels.
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.
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?
While writers are often told to build their platforms as soon as possible, it's not immediately obvious what that means. This article will run down the major components of a solid writer's platform and how to get started building yours.
A definition of the literary term,
Simile, like metaphor, is a type of figurative language used by fiction writers to convey an image or idea to the reader.
Free and off-the-beaten track writing residencies.
Low Residency MFA Programs for People who Work
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.
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.
Amy Shearn, author of THE MERMAID OF BROOKLYN, talks about writing fiction.
Often all you need is the first line to fill a page. These story starters, meant as opening phrases, were offered by readers as their favorite story starters.
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.
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.