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7 Fatal Flaws That Told Me My Novel Wasn't Ready to Pitch

Tips on switching genres, publishing terms, novel writing and more.
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September 10, 2015

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Editor's Letter
BrianKlems Brian A. Klems
Online Editor
A few of quick notes before you dive in: 1) I know some folks were having trouble with the link from Tuesday's newsletter (which I fixed) on 11 Common Publishing Terms All Writers Should Know so I'm including it again today; 2) My apologies to Brad Meltzer, whom I mistakenly called "John" in last week's newsletter -- completely my fault as I was discussing another project with a coworker involving John Green at the time and apparently I tried to merge the two, who both are doing wonderful things, into one person; and 3) If you missed it, click here to view our amazing Facebook chat with bestselling authors Sophie Littlefield, Lauren DeStefano and agent Barbara Poelle. It was a blast and filled with great info for writers. It's a must-read. And follow us on Facebook so you don't miss out on future chats and giveaways.

Also, we have several competitions running right now. If you want to win prizes (like cash and trips to the WD Conference) and, more important, gain exposure for your work, consider entering one of our prestigious writing competitions. Here's what's coming up and their deadlines:

Popular Fiction Awards Deadline: Sept. 15 - Details here.
Self-Published eBook Awards: Sept. 21 - Details here.
Poetry:  Oct. 1 - Details here.
Short Short Story Competition: Nov. 16 - Details here.

Especially for writers who don't have a platform (or a platform that's netting big results yet), winning a competition is a good way to elevate yourself, give more credibility to your work and help you get noticed. And getting noticed is the key to finding success in this field (after writing a great story, of course).

Take care of yourself and your writing,
Brian A. Klems
Online Editor, Writer's Digest
Author, Oh Boy, You're Having a Girl: A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters
Twitter: @BrianKlems

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Big Magic
 Rare Writing Event With Elizabeth Gilbert

Want to be a brilliant writer? Join us for a daylong retreat of workshops, lectures, & more. Click here for details:


7 Fatal Flaws That Told Me My Novel Wasn't Ready to Pitch
Here are 7 important elements that you need to address (and fix) in your novel before sending it out to literary agents and publishers.
Read more ...

Unlock the potential of your manuscript! Helga Schier, PhD, published author and professional editor offers effective, personalized, constructive and comprehensive editorial services. Contact:,, 310.828.8421


6 Tips for Switching Genres
All stories are mysteries at their core. What's going on? What are the characters doing, and why? How will everything turn out? Where the heck are my car keys??? A few classic mystery techniques to keep in mind:.
Read more ...


From September 18-20th, this 31st annual destination writer's conference on California's Central Coast offers the best in workshops, networking and inspiring authors.

50% Off Almost Everything!
Sale Ends Sunday! Use code SCHOOL50

FREE publishing leads/tips! Our expert strategies delivered by e-mail once per week. BONUS: Claim your instant report today! Confidential. No spam. Writer's Relief (est. 1994) manages submissions to agents and lit mags. (866) 405-3003

wd-logo11 Common Publishing Terms All Writers Should Know
If you're a writer looking to write, sell or publish a book, there are many basic terms that you need to know. Heck, if you don't know certain industry terms, you may even have trouble interpreting advice-driven articles on writing designed to help you. Here's a list of common publishing lingo that you should know before sending your query off to agents. (And if you don't know what a query is, this list will definitely help you.)
Read more ...
wd-logoYour Weekly Writing Prompt
Labyrinth: You wake up one morning and find that you aren't in your bed; you aren't even in your room. You're in the middle of a giant maze. A sign is hanging from the ivy: "You have one hour. Don't touch the walls." Finish the scene.
Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

Tweet of the Week
If you're on Twitter consider following me, @BrianKlems. I promise to share lots of good writing information, as well as amusing things. Here's this week's popular tweet:
wd-logo3 Things I Learned About Writing: Analyzing Stephen King's IT
This reoccurring column takes the classic writing advice "good writers are good readers" and puts it to work, by looking at books across all time periods and all genres to find techniques that we can apply in our own work. This installment examines Stephen King's iconic horror novel, IT.
Read more ...
Creative Writing 101 - Sign up now!
Creative Writing 101 combines teaching the key elements of storytelling with developing the protagonist. Once you understand who this character is and how to make sure you've included the key story elements, you are well on your way to writing that book you have been squelching. Here are some of the things you will learn when you take this online course:
  • How to develop a more vibrant protagonist
  • How to set a goal for your protagonist
  • How to define the protagonist's problem
  • How to define who is the antagonist
  • How to create obstacles
  • How to define what your story is really about
  • How to choose a point of view
  • How to write good dialogue
  • How to be more visual
  • How to create the hook and the ending
  • How to determine the best order to tell your story
  • How to find the discipline to keep writing
This online class starts September 17, 2015, and shares 12 lessons in 12 weeks.
Click here to register now!


WD staffers will teach at these upcoming writers conferences & events. Click below for the one closest to you. Most have agents attending as well whom you can pitch your book idea to. Check them out:

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