Editors Blog

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.


Writing New Adult Fiction Blog Tour

From Sylvia Day’s Bared to You to Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster, new adult fiction has arrived—and it’s hotter than ever. But there’s more to this category than its 18- to 26-year-old characters: The success of your story depends on authentically depicting the transition of your young protagonists from teenhood into adulthood. With Deborah Halverson’s...

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“Plot Perfect” Agent One-on-One Boot Camp Starts Oct 24 — Let Agent Paula Munier Help Construct & Critique Your Plot

Whether you're writing a novel, short story, memoir, stage play, or screenplay, this boot camp will show you how to craft a great narrative scene-by-scene. It's a hands-on event that provides personalized feedback on your story structure and plot. The agents of Talcott Notch Literary Services share the secrets of creating a story structure that...

Self publishing 101: Where to Begin?

There’s never been a better time to be an author. It’s an oft-stated truth, as the digital technology driving the publishing revolution now enables creative people around the globe to develop and market content in truly unique ways. But with anything new and unfamiliar, questions are sure to follow ...

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Take Action: How I Overcame Writer’s Block

BY RENÉE THOMPSON Ray Bradbury once said if you’re a writer and you’re blocked, well, you’ve picked the wrong subject then, haven’t you? At least he had a subject. For me, writer’s block was never so much about stalling in the midst of writing a story as the lack of a story idea. Until...

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The 5 Attributes of a Successful Ghostwriter

BY KELLY JAMES-ENGER I’ve been writing about making money as a freelancer for well over a decade now. I have written five books, dozens of articles and hundreds of blog posts about the subject. I get many questions, and lately many of those have been about the field of ghostwriting. What is ghostwriting? How...

5 Lessons I Learned In the Decade It Took to Publish a Second Novel

BY BRIDGETT M. DAVIS Perhaps you’ve heard the one about a journalist who arrived at Joyce Carol Oates’ home to interview her? “I’m sorry,” said her assistant. “But she’s working on her new novel right now.” “That’s okay,” said the journalist. “I’ll wait.” With over 40 novels written — averaging two a year —...

An Intimate Look at Working with an Editor

BY SUSAN VREELAND I have been blessed with a mutually respectful and affectionate relationship with the brilliant Jane von Mehren, my editor at Viking/Penguin for The Passion of Artemisia, The Forest Lover, and Life Studies, and at Random House for Clara and Mr. Tiffany. Due to the exigencies of publishing company shifts, I have lost her. Let this be...

5 Quick Tips for Writing in Multiple Perspectives

Writing a novel from one unique perspective can be challenging enough for many writers, but writing a character’s story through multiple perspectives will multiply the challenges, but also the rewards. Adi Alsaid’s new novel, Let’s Get Lost (Harlequin Teen, 2014), is an excellent example of using multiple perspectives to effectively tell the story of...

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Shark Week Is for Readers, Too: 10+ Books to Read this Week

Each year for one week, The Discovery Channel takes over the airwaves with a seven-day onslaught of movies, documentaries, survivor tales and semi-factual mockumentaries about sharks. As fascinating as it all is, readers are left high and dry—where are all the books about sharks? I’ve rounded up several—some classic, some campy, some for kids,...

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3 Tips for Writing on a Deadline

BY MARTHA CARR When I was a new writer and no one had commented on any of the words I’d strung together, the idea of a deadline seemed romantic. If I had a deadline that meant someone must have liked something I wrote and someone else must have asked for more. Fortunately, all of...

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The Rules of Writing According to 20 Famous Writers

Few professions are as solitary yet as full of advice as writing. You do it alone, usually, but everyone you meet is an expert in what writers do, don’t do, should do, always do, never do, can’t do… Even Anne Rice, who shares her thoughts about rules below, once noted that her doctor advised...

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Dorothy Parker: Missed Deadlines, Unfulfilled Contracts and Wrong Words

BY ELLEN MEISTER Have you ever had to tell an editor you wouldn’t be meeting your deadline? That’s an uncomfortable conversation for any writer. But for Dorothy Parker—one of America’s greatest literary wits—it was so excruciating she simply couldn’t face it, and the consequences were nearly devastating. In 1929, Harold Guinzburg and George Oppenheimer—the...

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An Idea a Day: August 2014

Generating good, usable ideas can be difficult for any writer, new or established. While John Steinbeck may have been exempt (he famously compared ideas to rabbits, saying “You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”), we are not all on Steinbeck’s level. To those of...

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Jump-Start Your Next Story with Two Truths and a Lie

The only way to be a writer is to write, right? This is the advice we give at WD, online and in the magazine. If you want to write, you must write. But sometimes getting started is difficult. Perhaps you have a fully-formed character but no idea what to do with him. Maybe your...

Writing On the Rails: Survival Tips for Traveling Authors

After years of crisscrossing the country by car, plane, train, bus, and even on foot for stretches, one of my favorite modes of transportation remains the railroad. Yes, it can be a little shabby, but not nearly as bad as some bus stations I’ve seen. Plus, it has a great literary history: Jack Kerouac...

3 Ways to Save Your Backstory from the Cutting Room Floor

BY SHENNANDOAH DIAZ Backstory is crucial to the novel writing process. It gives your character substance and drive while adding depth, history and realism to your fiction.  It takes a great deal of hard work to develop your character’s backstory. Unfortunately for the sake of the novel, much of that hard work ends up...

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Call for Submissions: Reject a Hit

In each issue of Writer’s Digest magazine, we ask one reader to step into the role of the unconvinced, perhaps even curmudgeonly or fool-hearted editor. What harsh rejection letters might the authors of some of our favorite hit books have had to endure? We need more of those short-sighted rejection letters! If you’d like to...

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18 Quotes for Writers from Ernest Hemingway

Today marks the 115th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s birth. In his lifetime, Papa had quite a lot to say about writing. Here are 18 of our favorite quotes, in no particular order.   1. I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in...

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What Is a Perfect Ending?

During a ThrillerFest panel moderated by author Nancy Bilyeau (Joanna Stafford series), authors Brenda Novak (Whiskey Creek series), Chelsea Cain (Gretchen Lowell series), Ben Lieberman (Odd Jobs) and Michael Sears (Mortal Bonds) discussed book and series endings, and how they hope readers feel after reading them. Here are some highlights.

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Symbolism and Literary Themes: Distracting or Necessary?

On Friday, a ThrillerFest panel moderated by WD contributing editor and author Steven James (Jevin Banks series) discussed whether or not literary themes and symbols interfere with a story. Here are the highlights from the panel, which included A.X. Ahmad (the Ranjit Singh trilogy), Linwood Barclay (A Tap on the Window), Carla Buckley (The...