November/December 2013 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting December 12th
- Essentials of Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Advanced Memoir & Nonfiction
- Writing Personal Essays 101
- Fundamentals of Nonfiction
- Essentials of Technical Writing
- Writing the Young Adult Novel
- Advanced Novel Writing
- Marketing Your Magazine Articles
- Children's Picture Book Writing
- Freelance Writing
- Essentials of Romance Writing
- Creating Memorable Characters
- Essentials of Mystery Writing
- Essentials of Science Fiction and Fantasy
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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.
Write Opening Lines and Chapters That Hook Readers — June 6, 2013 Webinar With Agent Victoria Marini
In order for someone to keep reading your manuscript, it has to start strong. Gone are the days when a book could “get good on page 44.” Now it’s imperative for writers to hook agents & editors with their chapter 1, page 1 — and even paragraph 1. But this is a tricky endeavor. Which beginnings are overused? Should you start with action? How much description is too much?
These types of questions are why we’ve corralled awesome agent Victoria Marini (Gelfman Schneider Literary) to teach the all-new webinar, “First Impressions: Write Opening Lines, Paragraphs, and Chapters That Keep an Agent’s Interest.” It all goes down at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, June 6, 2013, and lasts 75 minutes. Read more
Recently, I’ve been sharing writing assignments on the Writer’s Digest twitter account (@WritersDigest) using the hashtag #writerassignments. Since it’s been fairly popular so far, I thought it might be good form to … Read more
To anyone not currently wandering the halls of Book Expo America in New York, loaded down with so many books you wish you’d brought a wheelbarrow (my favorite part of the event): … Read more
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 … Read more
It’s no secret that the query letter is a difficult monster to tame. Plenty of people say that writing a concise, compelling query is not much easier than writing the manuscript itself. Because a query is your all-important first contact with publishing professionals, and because literary agents read the most queries, we’ve secured agent Michelle Brower (Folio Literary) for our next webinar: “The Art of the Query: Winning an Agent From the Very First Page.” It happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, May 30, 2013, and lasts 90 minutes. All attendees get their query critiqued by Michelle. She may even request more material if she loves your pitch. Read more
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 “From Pitch to Page One: How to Get an Agent from the Get-Go,” a new webinar on Thursday, May 23, 2013. The webinar starts at 1 p.m., EST, and lasts 90 minutes. Katharine is one of the most in-demand agents at writers conferences nationwide because of her teaching skill. (She authored the book Making the Perfect Pitch.) Read more
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 … Read more
Agent John Cusick Teaches How to Create Great Characters — New May 16 Webinar (With Query Critique!)
Every novel is driven by character. We fall in love with heroines, cheer for heroes, and loathe our villains. Characters draw us in, and through them we experience our favorite stories. Without a compelling cast, even the most engrossing tale can fall flat. What makes some protagonists iconic, while others go up in smoke? How can we create rich motivations without burdensome back-story, or nuanced supporting characters without stealing focus from our protagonists? How can we populate our novels with an unforgettable ensemble our readers will love? The answer involves giving your characters a great blend of relationships, history and motivations.
That’s why we’re excited to have a new webinar taught by literary agent and author John M. Cusick (Greenhouse Literary) called “FULL CAST: How to Enrich and Expand Every Character in Your Novel from the Leading Man to the Background Extras.” The event happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, June 16, 2013, and lasts 90 minutes. Read more
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 … Read more
Recently I was asked to talk to a group of ‘beginning writers’. Mind you, these people were adults; it’s not like they were in the first grade just learning how to spell … Read more
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: … Read more
We know that agents, publishers, and readers are looking for a killer premise, something that draws them to your story. But a quieter truth, one that can get your novel or screenplay sold, is that these same three constituencies care desperately about how your story will end. A great ending can elevate a story’s effectiveness. Too many writers pitch and even write their stories without a clear ending in mind. This can work, it’s all a part of the author’s chosen writing process, but the cost of this approach is the inability to pitch and then leverage the ending during the writing process. If the ending works, if it rocks the reader’s world, it becomes the most powerful and addictive part of the pitch itself.
During this live webinar, author and creator of Storyfix.com, Larry Brooks, will break effective endings down into their core elements across multiple categories, using examples and benchmarks to show how they are not only natural and organic culminations of your dramatic sequence, but how – when done right – they can be designed to penetrate the heart and mind of readers in way that leaves a mark. The new webinar is called “Writing the Story Ending That Gets the Best Deal” and it all happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, and lasts 90 minutes. Read more
Learn the Keys to Finding an Agent: May 9 Webinar on Queries, Synopses, Pitching, Copyright and More
Getting a literary agent is a massive step to seeing your writing dreams come to life. An agent can get you a book deal from a major publisher. An agent can help sell your book overseas and to Hollywood. An agent can help guide your career. All that said, finding and signing with an agent is a tricky thing. You’ve got to write a manuscript, compose a query, put together a synopsis, research agents, craft a pitch, consider your platform, and more. It’s all a lot to take in. Where do you start? What’s the best path to take?
These types of questions are why we’ve put together the upcoming May 9 live webinar, “Everything You Need to Know About Getting an Agent: Queries, Synopses, Pitching, Copyright, and More.” It’s actually taught by me (Chuck Sambuchino) and lasts 90 minutes. The session is at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, May 9, 2013 — but you do not need to attend the actual live broadcast to get the recording & extras. And regarding said extras, all attendees will get 1) a downloadable PDF of the book FORMATTING & SUBMITTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT as well as 2) exclusive one-sheet that details the 7 parts of a query letter pitch. Read more
The following is a guest post from bestselling author Brenda Novak. In writing about the keys to penning a hit novel, Novak reveals a valuable point: It often boils down to nailing … Read more
Submitting your work to literary agents seems like a straightforward thing, doesn’t it? But the truth is that they are many ins and outs to researching agents, writing a query letter that works, submission etiquette & protocol, and more. How do you get past contradictory advice online regarding submissions? Where do you find hungry agents that are looking for new clients in your genre? What are the best questions to ask an agent if they offer representation? All these areas can be quite tricky to navigate…
And that’s why we have awesome literary agent Kate McKean (Howard Morhaim Literary) to teach the new webinar, “How to Submit Your Book to Agents: Take the Right First Steps on Your Road to Publication” on Thursday, May 2, 2013. The webinar starts at 1 p.m., EST and lasts 90 minutes. Not only will attendees get instruction, they will also get a critique of their query letter by Kate. (Remember that at least three agents — Barbara Poelle, Kathleen Ortiz and Louise Fury — have signed writers after critiquing their work as part of a WD webinar.) Read more
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
I recently posted (at my personal blog) about the writing, publishing, and self-promotion tips that I picked up from the Writer’s Digest Conference East. While those tips were just the … uh, … Read more
Every story needs a great plot. A lot’s been said about the subject — from advice on composing a great ending to having a three-act structure framework. But there’s more to plot and structure — a lot more. So the good news is that we have writer & editor A. Victoria Mixon teaching a brand new live webinar called “3 Secrets of the Greats: Structure Your Story for Ultimate Reader Addiction.” It happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, April 11, and lasts 90 minutes.
In this brand new live webinar, independent editor A. Victoria Mixon teaches the missing three pieces to the puzzle of storytelling structure. You can learn to take your reader on that fabulous rollercoaster ride they crave, creating Ultimate Reader Addiction to your stories, every single time. Read more
Young adult fiction is a vibrant and growing section of the book writing world. YA is the genre that has the most breakout writers every month, allowing new voices to reach the marketplace all the time. But with more opportunity comes more competition — and agents & editors see tons of submissions each month that get rejected because they don’t stand out. That’s why we have literary agent Regina Brooks teaching the webinar, “Writing Great Books for Young Adults” at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, April 4, 2013. It lasts 90 minutes. Read more
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 are teaching an intensive new webinar together while offering critiques for all registrants.
The cover-all 90-minute webinar is called “How to Write a Successful Novel: The Craft, Techniques, and Strategies,” and it happens at 1 p.m., Thursday, March 28, 2013. Every registrant will get feedback from the agents on their query letter and first page. Read more
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 … Read more