How to Use Hashtags to Grow Your Platform

Hashtags are nothing new anymore. But using them can still be awkward or even confusing for many, especially if you’re just getting your feet wet in a new network. Even if you’ve already got the basics down, are they actually growing your following? There’s a big difference between the occasional hashtag #justbecause and one that… Continue Reading »


Writer’s Digest Conference 2015: Top Quotes from Authors, Agents, and Industry Leaders

It’s impossible to sum up the 2015 Writer’s Digest Conference in a few words. This three-day event in New York City was jam-packed with presentations, panels, networking opportunities, and the sold-out Pitch Slam. The range of topics was staggering as well: character development, genre literature, query letters, publishing industry insights… In short, you’re guaranteed an… Continue Reading »


Episode 56: Writing Literary Mysteries – Interview with Tana French

Hi there Word Nerds! I’m so excited to share today’s interview with bestselling author Tana French and her process in crafting series and writing literary mysteries. Tana French has been called “one of the most talented crime writers alive” by the Washington Post. With four bestselling, critically acclaimed, and award-winning novels in print worldwide, she… Continue Reading »

Writing for Kids: The Low-Down on Lexile Levels

Writing for Kids: The Low-Down on Lexile Levels

Some people imagine writing for kids and immediately picture Dr. Suess or baby board books. But the good news is you don’t have to use simple words to write for elementary kids if that’s not your style.  Go ahead and use rich, succulent vocabulary and varied sentence structure—please! There are plenty of kids who are… Continue Reading »


#5OnFri: Military History Is Not As Dusty As It Seems

Military history is often an underappreciated genre supposedly filled with stuffy biographies, or a litany of dates and battle names. When I took on the project of writing Flying Colors, even I approached the genre with the same perspective. As I would with any new project, I began with exploring possibilities and took to reading…. Continue Reading »


ThrillerFest: Bestselling Authors Talk Character Development

Character development was widely (if unsurprisingly) regarded as one of the foundational pillars of writing a good story among the many top-selling authors present at this year’s ThrillerFest. In fact, “character” was the first of Steve Berry’s “6 C’s of Story Structure.” As Dale Brown said, “What is character? The motivations that drive the story …… Continue Reading »


Episode 55: DIY MFA Radio One-Year Anniversary Show!

Hello Word Nerds! Welcome to very special episode of DIY MFA Radio. Exactly one year ago, Elisabeth Kauffman (our podcast producer) and I released the very first episode of DIY MFA Radio into the world. In this episode, she and I celebrate the show’s one-year anniversary with an interview, only now the tables are turned. Usually it’s… Continue Reading »

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