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.


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Weekly Round-Up: Characters and Collections

Every week our editors publish somewhere between 10 and 15 blog posts—but it can be hard to keep up amidst the busyness of everyday life. To make sure you never miss another post, we’ve created a new weekly round-up series. Each Saturday, find the previous week’s posts all in one place. Crafting Your Character...

Writer Jessica Allen

When Can You Call Yourself a “Real” Writer?

BY JESSICA ALLEN When can you call yourself a “real” writer?  A fellow scribe shares how a series of ordinary encounters transformed her point of view. When you grow up revering books, as I did, you grow up revering writers. I remember the first author I ever met: Patricia MacLachlan, who spoke at my junior...

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Weekly Round-Up: Get Organized, Get Your Idea, and Get Writing

Every week our editors publish somewhere between 10 and 15 blog posts—but it can be hard to keep up amidst the busyness of everyday life. To make sure you never miss another post, we’ve created a new weekly round-up series. Each Saturday, find the previous week’s posts all in one place. Make It Work...

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When Truth Is Stranger Than (Children’s) Fiction

BY JOY LANZENDORFER Some children’s books are so original they seem to have sprung from the author’s imagination alone. But no matter the genre, writers use personal experiences in their work. It may surprise you to learn these beloved children’s stories are actually inspired by real life. All are vital reminders that you never...

paula munier, beginnings, how to write beginnings

Brainstorming for Story Ideas

The best beginnings are based on strong story ideas that immediately set the book apart from all others of its ilk. If you have a bad feeling that your story idea is not compelling or unique enough to hook agents or editors, much less readers, then this post is just for you. Because all...

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Smart Ways to Get Organized and Be Productive

Take it from me: The moment it dawns on you that you’re failing at something is not a good time to start keeping track of your efforts. And the moment it sinks in that you’re succeeding? Well, that’s not a great time to get your act together either. Bad form though it may be...

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Weekly Round-Up: New Approaches for the New Year

Every week our editors publish somewhere between 10 and 15 blog posts—but it can be hard to keep up amidst the busyness of everyday life. To make sure you never miss another post, we’ve created a new weekly round-up series. Each Saturday, find the previous week’s posts all in one place. What Writers Need...

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Getting the Details Right: Depression

BY NAOMI ELSTER Misunderstandings about mental illness can lead to inaccurate writing and contribute to widespread misconceptions about those with a real affliction. While characters who suffer from depression are plentiful in fiction, a faulty portrayal of the disorder can weaken a writer’s work. Let’s debunk a few of the most common myths to...

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The Inspiring Power of Freewriting

As a writer, your constant companion is the blank page. Yet no matter how many times you face it and commit to penetrating its force field, you might still feel your hair blowing back and every fiber of your being resisting the task at hand. When you’re stuck, I believe the antidote is to...

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Good Writers and Good Friends: How to Get the Support You Need

Enlisting the support of your friends, family, and fellow writers is critical to your success. And it makes your writing life so much easier. From Writing with Quiet Hands by Paula Munier, here are some rules to live by to ensure that you’re getting the encouragement and assistance you need: To write with quiet...

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Weekly Round-Up: Looking Ahead

Every week our editors publish somewhere between 10 and 15 blog posts—but it can be hard to keep up amidst the busyness of everyday life. To make sure you never miss another post, we’ve created a new weekly round-up series. Each Saturday, find the previous week’s posts all in one place. Kickstart Your 2017...

Write Short Fiction

The Strategic Use of Short Fiction

The new world of self-publishing options calls to mind the golden age of the pulp magazines. During that era, roughly 1920–1950, writers could earn decent money pounding out stories and novellas for a penny a word. Later, the 1950s boom in mass-market paperbacks provided another source of lettuce for the enterprising author. Production and...

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Weekly Round-Up: Writing Resolutions and Strategies for 2017

Every week our editors publish somewhere between 10 and 15 blog posts—but it can be hard to keep up amidst the busyness of everyday life. To make sure you never miss another post, we’ve created a new weekly round-up series. Each Saturday, find the previous week’s posts all in one place. Craft and Creativity...

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#ThrowbackThursday: Kurt Vonnegut in WD in 1985

At Writer’s Digest, we’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with some of the world’s bestselling and most beloved authors. Back in 1985, one of those authors was Kurt Vonnegut. Over his 50-plus-year career, he published 14 novels—among the most notable, Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle and Breakfast of Champions—along with five plays, five works...

Debbie Macomber

Talking Rejection With Debbie Macomber

Occasionally, my favorite moments of an author interview are the ones that don’t entirely make it into print. With Debbie Macomber, the cover star of the January 2017 Writer’s Digest, the moment came when the conversation turned to rejection. Read any interview with Macomber, and you’ll see how relatable her early experiences with those...

hallie-ephron

Develop a Fascinating Premise for Your Mystery Novel

I used to think that I couldn’t write a mystery novel because I’m not very good at making things up. Where would I find ideas? Then I stumbled across a terrific idea at a yard sale. It was at a Victorian house with gingerbread-trimmed gables and leaded glass windows. I was peppering the homeowner (a...

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Weekly Round-Up: Find Some Inspiration

Every week our editors publish somewhere between 10 and 15 blog posts—but it can be hard to keep up amidst the busyness of everyday life. To make sure you never miss another post, we’ve created a new weekly round-up series. Each Saturday, find the previous week’s posts all in one place. Find Some Inspiration...

The Secrets of Story

7 Misconceptions About Revision

Rewriting is 90 percent of the writing process. If you don’t believe me, download The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as Taken from the Journal of the Whills. That’s what a first draft looks like. That’s what your first draft looks like to any reader who’s willing to be honest with you. That script improved...

Sound It Out

How Writers Can Find Inspiration in Music

BY SCOTT PRESTON We writers are all seeking the same thing, really: a spot next to the campfire. And we know that to get that spot, we need to develop a knack for recounting stories that have been told for thousands of years—stories of adventures and triumphs, of tragedies and lost loves, of found...

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Weekly Round-Up: Seasonal Writing

Every week our editors publish somewhere between 10 and 15 blog posts—but it can be hard to keep up amidst the busyness of everyday life. To make sure you never miss another post, we’ve created a new weekly round-up series. Each Saturday, find the previous week’s posts all in one place.  ‘Tis the Season…...

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Using Internal Dialogue to Achieve Multiple Effects

Internal dialogue is the inner voice of character. Which is, frankly, a very metaphysical subject. In most modern cultures—and, consequently, most modern literature—there’s a dichotomy within the self: there’s an I and a Me. I like my eyebrows. I have to be strict with myself when it comes to pecan pie. Internal dialogue is...

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#ThrowbackThursday: Old-School Ads in Writer’s Digest

Writer’s Digest has been around for nearly 97 years—which means that developments in technology and shifts in culture have, in many ways, wildly altered the litterateur landscape. (Some things, though, like pen, paper, and a good ol’ copy of White’s Elements of Style, never go out of fashion.) For this week’s blast from the past, we curated some of...