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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.


Keep it Simple: Keys to Realistic Dialogue (Part I)

The following is a guest blog post from Eleanore D. Trupkiewicz, whose short story, “Poetry by Keats,” took home the grand prize in WD’s 14th Annual Short Short Story Competition. You can … Read more

Revise for Publication: Revision Strategies That Will Improve Any Draft — June 26 Webinar (w/Critique!) by Jordan Rosenfeld

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So you want to be published? It’s been said that after the wild creative outpouring, real writing happens in the art of revision. Your best chance of attracting readers is through strong revision, or “re-seeing” of your work, to appeal to readers of all stripes. Writers who learn to love revision are more likely to write publishable work that wins readers and leads to deeper satisfaction in the writer’s craft. This live webinar, called “Revise for Publication: Revision Strategies That Will Improve Any Draft,” will help any writer with the goal of publication learn to love revision. You can learn to enjoy revision by breaking it down into simple, successful “waves,” and easy-to-use “tools” that you’ll use over and over.

By the end of this webinar you will not only have tackled revision issues within your work but will be able to embrace remaining revision with a positive attitude. The webinar happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, June 26, 2014, and lasts 90 minutes. Read more

Prompt: Write the #WorstTweet Ever

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It’s Friday, and that means everyone is ready for the weekend. It also means that many of you are hanging out on Twitter today instead of filing your TPS reports. (Didn’t you … Read more

On Juggling Time and Ports of Call

The following is a guest blog post from W.R. Parrish, whose horror short story, “The Man in Christopher’s Closet,” took home the grand prize in WD’s 9th Annual Popular Fiction Competition. You can … Read more

“Your Submission Tools: How to Write Excellent Queries, Opening Pages, and Synopses” — June 18 One-on-One Boot Camp With Corvisiero Literary

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During this all-new June 2014 boot camp (starts June 18) called “Your Submission Tools: How to Write Excellent Queries, Opening Pages, and Synopses,” literary agents will show you how to put together the best query letter, opening pages, and synopsis to hook the attention of agents and editors. As you learn what makes up an amazing submission package, 5 literary agents from Corvisiero Literary will tell you what agents look for when reviewing your work.

They will help each and every boot camp attendee draft and perfect your query letter, your book synopsis, and the first two pages of your book. Every participating writer will not only learn how to properly prepare a captivating submission package that will show results, they will also receive a critique with customized tips and suggestions from a literary agent. Seating is limited, and WD boot camps frequently sell out, so sign up today. Read more

A Writer Never Averts Her Eyes: On Killing My Father

BY LAURA PRITCHETT The greatest truth about the greatest writing, if you ask me, is this: The author never, ever averts her eyes. Easier said than done, of course, and I’ve not … Read more

Writing the Breakout Middle Grade Novel — Webinar (w/Critique!) by Agent Carlie Webber on May 29

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Middle grade (MG) books, intended for readers 8-12, aim to capture an audience that appreciates thrilling adventures, stories of everyday kids just like them, and everything in between. Writing an enthralling voice and selling it in just the right place and time to hook this audience, however, can be a challenge. In this live webinar, “Writing the Breakout Middle Grade Novel,” you’ll see what makes a success story in the MG market, through examples of popular books from Percy Jackson to Origami Yoda. By looking at these popular books and seeing what they do-or don’t-have in common, you’ll learn what piques the interests of middle-grade readers and the editors who work on books for them.

Drawing on her experience as both a literary agent and a librarian, Carlie Webber (CK Webber Associates) will take you through a brief history of popular MG fiction, show you where the market stands right now, and how you can build a future for yourself as a writer of MG fiction. It all happens at 1 p.m., Thursday, May 29, 2014, and starts at 1 pm, EST. Read more

What the Marine Corps Taught Me About Writing

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BY WILLIAM BALLARD I remember the day I stepped off the bus at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in San Diego California and took those first frightful steps onto those yellow … Read more

Create an e-Anthology to Show Off Your Body of Work

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BY DAVID WOLMAN Bad news first. That page on your website so lovingly curated and carefully updated with links to your published work? No one reads it. OK, maybe your Mom and … Read more

Agent One-on-One Boot Camp: Your First Ten Pages — Starts May 16, and Includes an Agent Critique of Your First 10 Pages

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As many writers know, agents and editors won’t give your work more than ten pages or so to make an impact. If you haven’t got them hooked by then, it’s a safe bet you won’t be asked for more material. Make sure you’ve got the kind of opening they’re looking for! In this invaluable weekend event, you’ll get to work with an agent online to review and refine the first ten pages of your novel. You’ll learn what keeps an agent reading, what are the most common mistakes that make them stop, and the steps you need to take to correct them. The best part is that you’ll be working directly with an agent, who will provide feedback specific to your work. It’s all part of the Agent One-on-One: “Your First Ten Pages” Boot Camp that begins on May 16, 2014. Seating is limited. Read more

How to Write & Sell New Adult: Agent One-on-One Boot Camp (w/Critique) Starts May 8

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In this new boot camp starting May 8, the agents at Foreword Literary will help you understand New Adult fully from all aspects of the business. Whether you need to know the rules of the category, how to pitch it to agents, or how authors are hitting the bestselling lists with modern marketing techniques, Foreword has the answers for you.

Once you register for this May 8 One-on-One Agent Boot Camp, you’ll be assigned your own personal agent for the event. He or she will review the first 1,200 words and 1-page synopsis of your work-in-progress. You’ll get personalized feedback on the quality of your writing, as well as insights into how to generate the most revenue in today’s market. At the end of the boot camp, you’ll have a greater understanding of which publishing options to pursue and how to make the most of them. Read more

Enter Your Self-Published Book and Launch Your Career

Writer’s Digest wants to recognize the hard work that you have been putting into your book. That’s why, every year, we look for the  best from authors in their self-publishing ventures. Whether … Read more

Where Writers Write: The Homes of Jack Kerouac

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The living quarters of authors have always held a weird fascination for me. There’s something strangely intimate about knowing where another writer works and lives, how they arrange the furniture, what artwork … Read more

Live Webinar: Slush Pile Showdown

Nothing in the world of writing can cause anxiety-induced panic attacks quite like waiting on a response from a literary agent. And crafting that perfect query letter is as important as anything … Read more

“Publishing Agnosticism”—What It Is, Why It’s Important, and What It Means for Authors

BY EVE BRIDBURG, Executive Director of GrubStreet The first time I heard the term “publishing agnostic” was in November of 2011 at the Park Plaza hotel in Boston. Barry Eisler used it … Read more

“The High Concept Novel: How to Create a Premise that Sells — Agent One-on-One Boot Camp With Critique Starts April 11

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The idea’s the thing. If you build your story around a unique and compelling idea, your odds of selling it increase dramatically. Often, a perfectly good project will go unsold because the premise on which it is based is too predictable, commonplace, or over-published. Whether you’re writing a novel or a short story, a screenplay or a memoir, you need to find a way to set your story apart from the competition — and the competition is tougher than ever in today’s marketplace.

But in this one-of-a-kind boot camp — “The High Concept Novel: How to Create a Premise that Sells Boot Camp” (starting April 11) — you will learn the ins and outs of high-concept, as literary agent, author, and content strategist Paula Munier reveals how you can transform your story idea from “same old same old” to “high-concept hit.” Read more

10 Lessons Learned: Confessions of a Covert Freelance Writer

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BY ??? – You don’t know my name. You don’t know my face. But it’s now several decades since I earned my first farthings by putting words in some sort of publishable … Read more

7 Things How I Met Your Mother Can Teach Us About Writing

If you’re like us on the WD staff (okay, maybe just Brian and I—internet high five!), then you were enthralled, captivated, and head over heels in love with the television show How I … Read more

I Started a Small Press (and Then Things Got Weird)

BY J DAVID OSBORNE I tried retail for a while, and that was fun, in the way that puking on yourself at a family gathering is fun: you have a story. After … Read more

The Why and How of Self-Publishing

The following is a guest post from the grand prize winner of our 1st Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards (featured in InkWell in the May/June 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest). Judith … Read more

Avoid Rip-Offs and Publishing Sharks: For Writers, Songwriters, Poets, Etc.

Once or twice a month I receive a letter or an email from a songwriter informing me that they have become the victim of a scam, and more often than not the … Read more

Values and Message: Integrating Themes Into Your Nonfiction

The following is a guest post from the grand prize winner of our 21st Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. For more information about the upcoming 22nd Self-Pub Awards, click here. Former … Read more

Why I Published 4 Novels in 6 Months

Hi, WD community! Today we’re sharing a guest post from J.E. Fishman, a former editor and literary agent turned author. He has penned Dynamite: A Concise History of the NYPD Bomb Squad and … Read more

“How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent” — Agent One-on-One Boot Camp With Awesome Critique Starts March 24, 2014

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How do you hook an agent right away, keep them hooked, and make the most of your new publishing relationship? In this all-new March 2014 Boot Camp, “How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent,” you’ll learn how to get a literary agent’s attention through a great submission, and also how to navigate the process of working successfully with an agent. After hearing instruction from the agents at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, you’ll also work with an agent online to review and refine your all-important query letter and the first five pages of your novel with the agents. Read more

Ask Us Anything! Join Our Reddit AMA (Mar 21, 2pm EDT)

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On Friday, March 21 at 2 p.m. EDT, editors from our Ohio office will answer reader and community questions on Reddit. We’re conducting the “Ask Me Anything” session in /r/writing, Reddit’s writing-discussion-only … Read more

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