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.


Why the Best Writing Is “Steeped in Knowledge”

Hall of Fame editor Terry McDonell reveals the inspiration behind his new memoir about writing and the writers he’s worked with—from Hunter S. Thompson to George Plimpton—and why to find your voice, “you just have to let it rip sometimes Whether you are a writer or a journalist or an editor...

Why EVERY Writer Is a “Writer for Hire”

I’m in the midst of potty-training my toddler, so when I awoke this morning, in the dark dawn before my alarm, to the sound of her screaming “POO!”—well, needless to say I jumped out of bed a smidge faster than I usually do. “POO!” she screeched as my fingers scrambled across...

author-patricia-beal

True Life Success Stories: Author Patricia Beal

At Writer’s Digest, we love to highlight the success stories of debut authors: How they did it, what they learned and why you can do it, too. In this interview, WD managing editor Tyler Moss spoke with Patricia Beal, author of the upcoming novel A Season to Dance (inspirational contemporary fiction,...

How Does a Word Get Into the Dictionary?

It’s not uncommon for 1,500–2,000 new words to be added to the dictionary every year—and while most additions we barely register (“cold turkey,” “meet-cute”), others (“FOMO,” “hella,” “ICYMI”) can seem less … dictionary-y. To find out just how words nab the high honor of being dictionaried, we went to the pros at Merriam-Webster. The process, it...

What have you always wanted to ask an agent?

Agent Advice Column “Funny You Should Ask” Seeking Submissions!

Are you in search of answers? No, this isn’t some solicitation for a 1970s new-age Human Potential Movement seminar. I’m talking straight answers to your most perplexing writing quandaries—by a well-respected expert, no less: the Irene Goodman Literary Agency’s own Barbara Poelle. Barbara has penned the exceedingly popular Writer’s Digest column...

33 Common Words & Phrases You Might Be Saying Wrong

This infographic is courtesy of Jennifer Frost of GrammarCheck. Visit them online at grammarcheck.net or check out the free online grammar checker at grammarcheck.net/editor for proofreading help.  Baihley Grandison is the assistant editor of Writer’s Digest and a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @baihleyg, where she mostly tweets about writing (Team Oxford Comma!), food (HUMMUS FOR PRESIDENT, PEOPLE), and Random Conversations With...

How Does Your Day Job Help Your Writing?

Kurt Vonnegut managed a Saab dealership in Cape Cod. Harper Lee worked as a reservation clerk for Eastern Air Lines. T.S. Eliot was a banker, and Wallace Stevens an insurance executive. Many of the most famous writers in history had to fit in their artistic endeavors around their day jobs, squeezing...

The Anatomy of a Bestseller

What makes a bestseller, well, sell the best? While of course there is no magic formula, turns out there are some commonalities among chart-topping tomes. Whether it’s stats for the average number of words per sentence or a comparison of most-loved protagonists, the fun facts are all spelled out here in this delightfully nifty infographic....

Understanding character development using the tv show Friends.

6 Things Friends Can Teach Us About Writing (Part 1)

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other week,...

Author Jonathan Maberry

Writers Helping Writers: Interview With Jonathan Maberry

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest. Jonathan Maberry has no reason to fear being typecast by genre. The New York Times bestselling author and five-time Bram Stoker Award–winner has published books, short stories and articles in nearly every category imaginable, including science fiction, horror, fantasy,...

Preparing for Unknowns in Your Agent Search

If you’re on the cusp of trying to get a literary agent, or you’re trying to decide if you need one at all, or you’re right in the thick of your queries, or you have an agent but aren’t making forward progress together, enter our latest “Get an Agent” issue, the October 2016...

8 Things Star Wars Can Teach Us About Writing

We recently featured a guest post by Thomas Smith on the “4 Things Star Trek Can Teach Us About Writing.” Nothing against Star Trek, but as a Star Wars nerd, I felt it was my intergalactic duty to step up and represent the other side of the sci-fi universe. So here...

Secrets of the Self-Employed: Tips for Freelance Writers

Here’s a guest post from Dustin Grinnell, who shares tips from a veteran contractor that apply to freelance writers as well. If you have a great idea and would like to contribute a guest post of your own, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com with the subject line: Guest Post Idea...

Freelance Writing Workshop: 8 Story Pitch Pet Peeves

Think of your story pitch like a cover letter. When approaching a new publication, your first freelance pitch is your introduction. It’s your chance to make a positive impression, to demonstrate intimate knowledge of the magazine, to prove you’re well suited to a 400- or 800- or 1,200-word article. Of course,...

13 Copywriting Tips to Help You Write a Better Novel

Here’s a guest post that shares copywriting tips that can help with writing a novel by Matt Press, an experienced copywriter. If you have a great idea and would like to contribute a guest post of your own, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com with the subject line: Guest Post Idea...

How to write strong dialogue, from the TV series Fargo.

3 Things Fargo (Season 2) Can Teach Us About Writing

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other Monday,...

The Query Process: I Want Off This Ride!

Here’s a guest post about the wild ride of the query process from “pre-published” author Karen Sargent. If you have a great idea and would like to contribute a guest post of your own, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com with the subject line: Guest Post Idea for No Rules. *****...

Map of Alagaësia

How to Map Your Fantasy World

Map of Alagaësia, Credit: Christopher Paolini “I wisely started with a map, and made the story fit,” J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in a letter in 1954. The iconic map of Middle-Earth to which he’s referring, included in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, has become a hallowed piece of Tolkien...

Stranger-Than-Fiction Writing Habits of 18 Famous Writers

Sometimes the muse works in mysterious ways. These well-known writers prove that when it comes to writing, thinking outside the box—and in the case of Vladimir Nabokov’s “shoebox method,” quite literally so—can provide the richest inspiration. This infographic is courtesy of Natasha Smyth of Global English Editing. Visit them online at geediting.com or on Twitter @geediting....

5 Steps to Surviving Your Copy Edit

You might think that editors who are also writers aren’t at all bothered by being edited. The truth? We understand the importance of being edited probably more than some other writers. We also know going in how key it is to choose our battles, and might feel more comfortable deferring to an...