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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.


How to Write and Sell Your Fantasy & Science Fiction — Nov. 10 Boot Camp (w/Critiques) Taught by Fuse Literary

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There has never been a better time to be a Sci-Fi / Fantasy author. With television shows like Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones and Outlander each in turn becoming massive pop culture phenomena, and Marvel’s superhero films dominating the box office, SF/F has gone mainstream like never before. The SF/F literary marketplace has also become more open to a variety of stories and points of view.

The SF/F agents of Fuse Literary (formerly Foreword Literary) will help you perfect your new Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Horror masterpiece in this online boot camp titled “How to Write and Sell Your Fantasy & Science Fiction.” It starts on Nov. 10, and all registrants will get individualized agent critiques as well as have the chance to ask the agent instructors any questions they wish. Read more

You’re Not Alone: NaNoWriMo Experts Share Their Stories & Experiences

We are only hours away from the month of November, which means many writers will be participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Whether you’re a veteran or a rookie at NaNoWriMo, tackling … Read more

Cats, Wives and Videotape: Survey Reveals What Really Distracts NaNoWriMo Participants

"Gray tabby Lucy" by Andrei P on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/andreipapaz/)

BY WILL LITTLE The starting gun is set to go off for the race to 50,000 words. At an average of 1,667 words a day, NaNoWriMo participants don’t have time to waste if … Read more

4 Ways to Write a Killer Plot Twist

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When I started reading Gone Girl, I’ll admit I had high expectations. “It’s incredible,” one friend told me after recommending it and praising it profusely. “You just won’t even believe what happens … Read more

What Halloween Can Teach Us About Character Development

This is the first year my 3-year-old has really gotten Halloween, so we’ve spent October seeking out any excuse for him to wear his costume and spend the day yelling “Boo!” As … Read more

Use Word Choice to Set the Mood

No matter what the genre, a good writer needs to set the mood for readers. Whether it’s a creaky old house or the tense moments leading up to a final confrontation, atmosphere … Read more

Make Your Children’s Book Shine and Stand Out Above the Rest — Oct. 30 Webinar (With Critique) by Agent Danielle Smith

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You’re sending your children’s book manuscript off for its very first round of submissions, but you hesitate. Everyone questions their work and often wonder if it’s “finished.” After dozens and possibly hundreds of revisions when do you say enough is enough? When your hard work is ready to put into the hands of an agent, editor, or reader you want it to shine from the first to the last line. So how do you best accomplish this?

In this new live webinar called “Make Your Children’s Book Shine and Stand Out Above the Rest,” instructor and literary agent Danielle Smith (Red Fox Literary) will show you how to put the finishing touches on a manuscript and enable you to feel confident when sending it out to agents & editors. In addition to sharing her own tips and tricks, Danielle will examine pages from recently published picture and chapter books to show you examples of those spots that can often make or break your manuscript in the eyes of readers. It all happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, and lasts 90 minutes. All attendees get a critique. Read more

They’re So Good, It’s Scary: 13 Quotes From Horror, Thriller and Suspense Writers

“When I write, I try to think back to what I was afraid of or what was scary to me, and try to put those feelings into books.” Read more

The Art and Craft of Wasting Time in 20 Quotes

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Writers are notorious procrastinators, and the trend is not limited to hobbyists or young, aspiring authors. We talk a lot about procrastination indirectly—setting personal deadlines, how to schedule writing time around life … Read more

10 Writing Techniques from Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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October conjures up images of crackling fires, shivering leaves, the grinning teeth of a jack-o-lantern … and, if you’re a fan of classic horror, that iconic, fanged master of the night, Count … Read more

The 2015 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market Is Out — Here Are 8 Reasons to Buy It (and Naturally I’m Giving Away Books!)

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The 2015 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market is out and available in major bookstores! What better way to celebrate its release than a giveaway contest? The CWIM a great resource guide for writers of picture books and novels for kids (young adult, middle grade) as well as illustrators. The new 2015 edition of the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market is updated and packed with info. Now in its 27th 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.

THE GIVEAWAY!!! Comment on this post and just say anything nice about any element of Writer’s Digest you enjoy — from a blog post to a class or a book or anything else. In two weeks, I will pick 3 winners randomly to win a copy of the book! It’s that easy. Read more

3 Ways to Increase Your Daily Word Count While Away From Your Computer

While I’ll be cheering on NaNoWriMo participants from the sidelines this year rather than joining the race, I am forever looking for ways to expand my own daily word count—not just in … Read more

15 Oscar Wilde Quotes About Reading, Writing and Books

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Poet, playwright and novelist Oscar Wilde was born October 16, 1854 in Dublin. While his most famous works, The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest, live on, Wilde … Read more

When Do You Officially Consider Yourself a Writer?

At the opening session of the recent Writer’s Digest Conference in New York, bestselling author Dani Shapiro, led off her keynote address with what seemed to be a very simple question: “How … Read more

10 Tips for Fiction Writers from the 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market

The 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market, now in its 34th year, is hot off the presses, and today I’m sharing ten pieces of advice from the contributors to this year’s edition. NSSWM features articles on fiction craft, getting published, and marketing and promotion, as well as more than 400 pages of listings for novel and short story writers, including literary agents, book publishers, magazines, and contests that are interested in your work. This year’s edition also features access to an exclusive webinar from best-selling author Cheryl St.John, on exploring emotional high points in fiction. Read more

Tips and Inspiration to Write a Book in a Month

One of the things I love about working at Writer’s Digest is the excitement each time a new issue hits newsstands. And it’s especially true with the November/December 2014 Writer’s Digest–because this … Read more

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: … Read more

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

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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 works – no matter what your genre – in this entertaining and informative online event. It’s all part of the 2014 “Plot Perfect” Agent One-on-One Boot Camp starting Oct. 24. In addition to the tutelage and instruction, every attendee gets a critique of their plot framework from the agent instructors. Seats for the event are limited, and WD boot camps frequently sell out, so consider signing up sooner rather than later.

Following are the details of what happens during the event… Read more

“Find an Agent and Get Published” — WD Premium Collection is 11 Great Items Bundled Together at 80% Off

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Are you ready to get your book on the shelves? Whether you’re just starting to write your novel or have dozens of submissions under your belt, this new “Find an Agent and Get Published” collection includes everything you need to successfully get your work into the market. Learn how the publishing industry has changed and how you need to format and submit your proposal in order to build a solid reputation. Get insight from experienced agents on common mistakes writers make and how to craft an irresistible query letter. If you’re serious about having a long-term, prosperous career as a writer, you need to develop the business-savvy skills necessary to land an agent and get published. And the 11-item kit is yours for 80% off. (Not too shabby!) Read more

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 … Read more

Writing What You Don’t Know: Tips for Telling Another Person’s Story

BY AMY PARKER “Write what you know,” the adage goes. But when my heart pulled me way outside my knowledge base to help Rwandan Frederick Ndabaramiye write his unbelievable story, I knew … Read more

Take Action: How I Overcame Writer’s Block

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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 … Read more

The 5 Attributes of a Successful Ghostwriter

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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 … Read more

The 2015 Guide to Literary Agents is Out! Here are 47 Reasons to Buy It (and a Giveaway Contest!)

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The new 2015 edition of the Guide to Literary Agents is out, all updated and packed with info. I realize there are other places you can turn to for information on agents, but the Guide to Literary Agents has always prided itself as being the biggest (we list almost every agent) and the most thorough (guidelines, sales, agent by agent breakdowns, etc.). That’s why it’s been around for 24 years and that’s why it’s sold more than 320,000 copies. It works—and if you keep reading, I’ll prove it to you below with proof from 47 people.

THE GIVEAWAY!!! Comment on this post and just say anything nice about any element of Writer’s Digest you enjoy — from a blog post to a class or a book or anything else. In two weeks (Sept. 25, 2014), I will pick 3 winners randomly to win a copy of the book! It’s that easy. (UPDATE: Parkhillonline, dymphna st james, and sonicshrew won.) Read more

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 … Read more

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