There Are No Rules Blog by the Editors of Writer’s Digest

Get on the cutting edge of today’s publishing trends and how authors can succeed in a world of fast-paced technological change, guided by the editors of Writer’s Digest. You’ll get an inside look at the work, play, and passion of the publishing business and find practical tools for success.


What’s Your Excuse for Not Writing?

One of the things I love most about working with writers is that so many of them are unflinchingly generous with their time, words and wisdom. So when I was recently approached by freelancer Monica Bhide and asked if I’d be interested in something purely motivational for our community of writers and readers, I...

u9167

Agent Katharine Sands Teaches “From Pitch to Page One: How to Get an Agent from the Get-Go” – New May 23 Webinar With Query Critique

Getting a literary agent is no easy feat. It requires crafting a query and pitch to get their attention -- without making any "querial killer" mistakes that will get your submission rejected. Cutting through the slush is hard work. That's why we're lucky to have agent Katharine Sands (Sarah Jane Freymann Literary) to teach...

If You’re Feeling Down and Out About a Rejection Letter …

Consider James Lee Burke. Sure, his novels are everywhere these days. Bookstores. Airports. Bestseller lists. But here’s how they got there. As Lindsey O’Connor detailed in our profile of the author, Burke published his first story when he was 19. It did not earn him instant fame. He worked the oil fields. He drove trucks....

4 Truths That Will Revolutionize Your Revision Process

Perhaps because I’m in the process of revising a novel manuscript myself, the advice in the May/June 2013 Writer’s Digest Guide to Pain-Free Revision really resonated with me as I pieced it all together behind the scenes. In fact, I’d go so far to say that some of the insights from the talented contributors...

15 Things a Writer Should Never Do

Based on interviews with authors over the years, conferences, editing dozens of issues of Writer’s Digest, and my own occasional literary forays and flails, here are some points of consensus and observations: 15 of them, things anyone who lives by the pen (or seeks to) might consider. It is, like most things in the...

Actors-Turned-Authors: How Many Copies Did They Sell?

We always hear about those gargantuan celebrity book deals … but we rarely find out how those books actually fared on the shelf. The results may surprise (or sadden, or maybe even satisfy) you. According to industry analyst Nielsen BookScan, which tracks sales from most major retailers, here are some of the biggest winners...

Creating Plot

Knowing When to Stop: Expectations for a Satisfying Ending

Everyone struggles with how to write an ending, regardless of whether it’s a novel or a short story. Sometimes our perfect endings come to us in a dream-like vision, and other times we are left staring at the taunting, flashing cursor on our Word document, daring us to type. But your ending doesn’t have...

Make More Time for Your Writing

It’s a common lament: I could finish my novel, if only I had more hours in the day! In fact, the universal chorus of complaint from writers of all stripes seems to be “not enough time.” In this excerpt from The Productive Writer by Sage Cohen, you’ll learn how your relationship with time is moving...

u7170

Agents Barbara Poelle and Holly Root Cover It All With Their “How to Write a Successful Novel: The Craft, Techniques, and Strategies” Webinar on March 28

If you don't know who Barbara Poelle and Holly Root are, I'll tell you. They are both awesome literary agents who both sell a lot of books and also are extremely good at teaching writers how to improve their work. Basically, they're super-cool and super-smart. And now, somehow, the planets have aligned and they...

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint

Creating Emotional Frustration in Your Characters

Using emotion to create strong, emotional characters and move a plot is critical for any writer in any type of genre. Knowing what kind of emotion to use and how to use it is a different matter, however. And while our fictional characters experience the same wide range of emotions that we do, frustration is...

5 Unexpected Lessons From Inside the Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Ask any writer—at any level—what writing program he or she would most like to get a glimpse inside of, and chances are the answer will be the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The first creative writing degree program in the United States, Iowa became the model that other writing programs aspire to—and its list of alumni...

Your Book, Your Rules: Advice from an Agent (Guest Blog)

Who better to ask for advice on how to keep an agent’s attention than an agent? Carlie Webber of CK Webber Associates maintains an excellent blog on all kinds of writing and publishing topics, from how to keep YA novels realistic and interesting to advice on how to make sure your query letters don’t...