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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.
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.
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...
: A flat character is a minor character in a work of fiction who does not undergo substantial change
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
How to Write “You” Stories: Fiction...
A definition of the literary term second person point of view as defined for fiction writers.
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.
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.
What Is a Character in Fiction Writing?
Definition of the word character as used by writers of novels, short stories, and other fictional works.
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.
What Is the Definition of a 'Static Character'?
: Static characters are minor characters in a work of fiction who do not undergo substantial change or
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 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
: A theme is the central idea or ideas explored by a literary work. John Gardner puts it this way: "By
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.
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.
The Truth in Fiction
How do you make fiction believable?
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.
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.
Figurative Language Quiz
Figurative Language Quiz From Ginny Wiehardt ,Your Guide to Fiction Writing .FREE Newsletter. Sign Up
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.
Literary Fiction Contests in Late October
Fiction Awards and Grants for Late October 2014
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.
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.
What Is Style for Creative Writers?
Definition of the word. Fiction Writing.
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.
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?
pun
Do you agree with Samuel Johnson that punning is the lowest form of humor?
22 Facts to Help You Understand Jane Austen
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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.
10 Creative Writing Prompts That Will Jumpstart...
Need a starting point for your creative writing session? Try these creative writing prompts.
point of view
: Point of view is the perspective from which a story is told; the narrator's position in relation to
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.
What Is the Definition of a Symbol in Creative...
Definition of the literary term, symbol, as used by writers, and in literature and art.
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.
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.
plot
A definition of the literary term,
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.
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.
personification
Personification, a common figure of speech along with simile and metaphor, is used in prose and poetry as well as in everyday speech.
November Short Story Contests
Find book and short story contests, awards, fellowships, and residencies with November deadlines, including urls, deadlines, and fees.
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 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.
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.
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.
October Short Story Contests and Awards
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.
What Is an Allusion?
An allusion definition for creative writers, students, and teachers from About.com's guide to fiction writing.
Using Dialogue Tags Effectively
Veering too much from. Fiction Writing.
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.
A How-to Guide for Kindle Direct Publishing and...
Creating an account using a self-publishing platform.
Examples of Metaphor from Everyday Speech
We don't have to look very far to find examples of metaphor. From expressions like
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.
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.
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.
How to Write Realistic Dialogue
Alfred Hitchcock once said that a good story was
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.
Mishka Shubaly's writing life
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Photographs as Writing Prompts
Pictures, and especially photographs, carry with them implicit narratives, making them ideal writing prompts for generating new short story ideas.
climax
Definition of the literary term climax as it relates to a work of fiction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Writing Lesson 1: Time on a page...
Creative writing lesson about using time and showing not telling
metaphor
Used correctly, metaphors can be a powerful tool for fiction writers. Used incorrectly, however, metaphors only confuse and distract your reader.
mystery novel
A definition of the term mystery novel, the characteristics of mystery novels and the rules of the genre.
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.
How to Break Up Dialogue with Action
These examples illustrate how to ground your dialogue in the physical world with action and description.
hyperbole
: Hyperbole, a type of figure of speech , uses exaggeration or overstatement for emphasis. Mark Twain
Know Your Theme
A different way of examining theme in fiction and how knowing yours can improve your writing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
23 Fiction Writing Contest Deadlines in June
Book and short story writing contest information, along with details about awards, fellowships, and residencies with June deadlines for fiction writers interested in submitting their short stories or novels to writing contests and awards. Information on website urls, contest deadlines, and fees. Page 2.
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.
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.
NaNoWriMo Tips
In the generous -- and lighthearted -- spirit of the event, veteran wrimos share their favorite NaNoWriMo tips and secrets.
detective story
A definition of the literary term,
episodic novel
A definition of the literary term,
simile
Simile, like metaphor, is a type of figurative language used by fiction writers to convey an image or idea to the reader.
Do You Need an MFA to Publish Fiction?
Tips for choosing an MFA program in fiction writing.
simultaneous submission
: A simultaneous submission is the submission of the same short story or other piece of writing to more
dialogue
Definition of the word. Fiction Writing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
October 2014 Fiction Submission Deadlines
A list of October 2014 prizes for fiction with dates and entry fees.
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.
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.
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.
All You Need to Know About NaNoWriMo
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.
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.
Writers' Rooms in NYC
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.
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.
synecdoche
Definition of the literary term, synecdoche, for writers of short stories and novels.
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.
Swann's Last Song author Charles Salzberg talks...
Charles Salzberg, celebrated author and teacher, on the road to writing crime.
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.
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.
Getting the Best of Your Writer's Block
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.
How to Freewrite
Here you'll see an example of one writer's freewriting session. If you're nervous about trying it yourself, this sample will put your mind to rest. Page 2.
euphemism
Euphemisms, used in dialogue, can be helpful tools for the creative writer. This definition will help you make better use of them.
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.
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.
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.
alliteration
Alliteration is another tool used by creative writers, especially in more poetic works, although it is often employed for comic purposes as well.
How to Choose a Genre for Your Novels
Advice for writers on when and how to choose a genre to write in.
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?
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.
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?
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.
Genre Twister: A Fast and Fun Way to Generate...
A quick, fun writing exercise to help you come up with a ton of story ideas in no time.
How to Write Faster
Tools, tips and techniques to write fiction faster than you ever have before.
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.
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.
What is a Writer's Platform?
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.
denouement
A definition of the literary term.
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.
connotation
This definition of connotation from the glossary of literary terms will help you to make better use of this fiction writing tool.
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.
epistolary novel
Find the definition of the literary term
Review of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
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.
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.
Creating an Idea Box
An idea box is one way to ensure that you always have a stock of ideas for your creative writing.
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.
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.
How to Get Published: A Quiz
How to Get Published: A Quiz From Ginny Wiehardt ,Your Guide to Fiction Writing .FREE Newsletter. Sign
Testing a New Novel or Short Story Idea
Robert McKee, in his book, Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting, has
Your Mother Creative Writing Prompt
A teacher of mine once used this creative writing prompt with good results. In it, you use a common phrase to jumpstart a freewriting session -- and hopefully a story or poem.
Five Tips to Avoiding Total Disaster as a...
Kris Saknussemm, author of Zanesville: A Novel, offers his advice on making it as a novelist.
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