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.


Create Your Own Bad Guys and Sleazy Protagonists

The following is a guest post by our WD intern, Laura Wooffitt. When writing any genre, the character that takes center stage, and often most of the beginning writer’s attention, is a likable protagonist. It is really difficult to write believable and page-turning, unlikable protagonists because they can become unpredictable. If they are to...

6 Writing Lessons from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window

It has gotten to the point where I can’t watch a film or TV show, read a book, listen to a song, or play a video game without thinking…What can this teach me about writing? A recent viewing of this Hitchcock classic brought a few lessons to the forefront of my mind. Spoiler Alert:...

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The 2014 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market Is Out — And Here Are 8 Darn Good Reasons to Buy It (and Naturally I’m Giving Away Books!)

The new 2014 edition of the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market is updated and packed with info. Now in its 26th year, the newest edition still provides great market and submission/contact information for book publishers, art reps, international publishers, literary agents, contests, magazines, conferences and more. Read on to hear from several best-selling authors...

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Jan 13 Agent One-on-One Boot Camp (With Critique): Crafting Queries, Opening Pages, Synopses, and Nonfiction That Get Noticed

When your submission materials arrive in an agent's inbox, they land among hundreds of others. Authors who get rejected tend to fall in one of two categories when submitting materials: they try too hard, or not enough. This Writer's Digest One-on-One Agent Boot Camp, taught by the literary agents of Kimberley Cameron & Associates,...

7 Tips for Revising a Novel

I spent my December revising a noir/crime novel and I also had a productive discussion with two other writers this weekend about the revision process. Both occurrences brought to mind some tips you may find useful. Mind you these are rather simple pieces of advice, and everyone has their own process that works for...

Register Now for “The High-Concept Novel” Bootcamp

The idea is paramount. If you can build your story around a unique and compelling idea, your odds of selling it increase dramatically. Too many perfectly good projects never sell because their premise is too predictable, commonplace, or over-published. Whether you’re writing a novel or a short story, a screenplay or a memoir, you...

An Insider’s Guide: Odd Jobs of the Masters

The history of writing is full of authors striving to succeed in a hyper-competitive publishing world, contending with agents, editors, publishers, critics, and sometimes the greatest challenge of all—overnight success. David Comfort’s new book, An Insider’s Guide to Publishing, looks at every facet of this journey, and reveals an extraordinary amount of literary hijinks,...

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How to Find the Right Agent for Your Book & Career — Dec. 10 Webinar by Agent Kate McKean (With Query Critique!)

From industry standard terms and commission rates, to communication guidelines and a general list of duties, this webinar by literary agent Kate McKean (Howard Morhaim Literary) will de-mystify the role a literary agent can play in your writing career. You’ll finally understand how agents are paid and what services they actually provide. You’ll get...

How to Become a Kick-Ass Writer

If you haven’t yet read, met, or followed the career of Chuck Wendig, you’re in for a treat. I’ve had the great pleasure of following Chuck’s blog at terribleminds.com for a couple of years now, and the writing advice he offers is some of the best—as well as some of the grittiest, most honest,...

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Write a Page Turner: An Agent’s Secrets to Creating Stories that Readers Can’t Put Down — One-on-One Nov. 15 Boot Camp (With 2,000-Word Critque)

As I write this, there are only 27 seats left (out of 60 total) for the forthcoming Agent One-on-One Boot Camp that starts this Friday, November 15, 2013. So I'll get right to the point. Literary agents Paula Munier and Rachael Dugas (of Talcott Notch Literary) are teaching a brand new boot camp called...

Tighten the Tension in Your Novel

“Your novel is lacking tension.” “I understand the reason for this scene, but my mind kept wandering while I was reading.” “This chapter is missing a hook … I’m just not interested.” You might have received this or similar feedback from your writing buddy, critique group, or even an agent or editor … but...

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Create Characters Agents & Editors Love For Middle Grade and YA Novels: Nov. 14 Webinar by Cheryl Klein (of Harry Potter Editing Fame)

Readers may buy novels for their storylines—the facts that they can learn from the flap copy or an Internet blurb. But readers love books for their characters, because compelling characters bring feeling and meaning to what would otherwise be a mere list of events (also known as the plot). And if you’re trying to...

It Happens to the Best of Us: Therapy for Bad Reviews

One of the most entertaining links I stumbled upon this week was a Biblioklept compilation of 1-star reviews on Amazon for the classic Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Here are a few choice excerpts: “The only people who like this book are english teachers who derive a feeling of moral superiority from forcing others to read this...

Writing a Screenplay: Using Structure to Develop Your Ideas

The following is a guest blog post by Fred Perry. Fred won first place in the screenplay category in the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. He has also received script requests, optioned three features, and won eight screenplay competitions. Today, he’ll tell you how to start a screenplay and share his story of...

The Secret to Writing Better: Looking Up

I’m always surprised and humbled by the gracious notes I receive from readers about my Editor’s Letters—but no letter in recent memory has drawn as much of a response as the one in our latest, November/December 2013 Writer’s Digest (on newsstands and in libraries now, and available for instant download), which is devoted to...

So, What Exactly Is “Steampunk”?

You may already know all about this exciting subgenre, but maybe you’ve just heard the term in passing and you’re still not 100% sure what the heck it means, or maybe this style of fiction hasn’t even shown up on your radar yet. It likely has, but you may not realize it. Best-selling author...

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Get an Agent For Your Middle Grade Novel: Secrets for Query Letters & First Pages Revealed — Oct. 31 Webinar with Critique

It might seem as though getting a children’s book published is easy—just look at JK Rowling! In reality, however, children’s books (and middle grade books in particular) are among the most challenging works of literature to craft. Nailing the narrative voice of middle grade, and finding the right balance of character, heart, and plot...

The Horror Genre: On Writing Horror and Avoiding Clichés

“The three types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights...