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.


Author Jonathan Maberry

Writers Helping Writers: Interview With Jonathan Maberry

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest. Jonathan Maberry has no reason to fear being typecast by genre. The New York Times bestselling author and five-time Bram Stoker Award–winner has published books, short stories and articles in nearly every category imaginable, including science fiction, horror, fantasy, thriller, mystery, young...

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Preparing for Unknowns in Your Agent Search

If you’re on the cusp of trying to get a literary agent, or you’re trying to decide if you need one at all, or you’re right in the thick of your queries, or you have an agent but aren’t making forward progress together, enter our latest “Get an Agent” issue, the October 2016 Writer’s Digest. We...

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Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards: Behind the Scenes of a Writing Competition with Crime Judge Jeffrey Marks

Today, as part of our Behind the Scenes of a Writing Competition series, Crime judge Jeffrey Marks provides tips and techniques for a standout submission. Meet the Judge: Jeffrey Marks is a long-time mystery fan and freelancer. After numerous mystery author profiles, he chose to chronicle the short but full life of mystery writer...

Dustin Grinnell

Secrets of the Self-Employed: Tips for Freelance Writers

Here’s a guest post from Dustin Grinnell, who shares tips from a veteran contractor that apply to freelance writers as well. If you have a great idea and would like to contribute a guest post of your own, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com with the subject line: Guest Post Idea for No Rules....

TylerMoss

Freelance Writing Workshop: 8 Story Pitch Pet Peeves

Think of your story pitch like a cover letter. When approaching a new publication, your first freelance pitch is your introduction. It’s your chance to make a positive impression, to demonstrate intimate knowledge of the magazine, to prove you’re well suited to a 400- or 800- or 1,200-word article. Of course, there’s also the...

Matt Press

13 Copywriting Tips to Help You Write a Better Novel

Here’s a guest post that shares copywriting tips that can help with writing a novel by Matt Press, an experienced copywriter. If you have a great idea and would like to contribute a guest post of your own, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com with the subject line: Guest Post Idea for No Rules....

How to write strong dialogue, from the TV series Fargo.

3 Things Fargo (Season 2) Can Teach Us About Writing

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other Monday, I’ll bring you...

Karen Sargent

The Query Process: I Want Off This Ride!

Here’s a guest post about the wild ride of the query process from “pre-published” author Karen Sargent. If you have a great idea and would like to contribute a guest post of your own, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com with the subject line: Guest Post Idea for No Rules. ***** Eight seconds. That’s...

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How to Map Your Fantasy World

“I wisely started with a map, and made the story fit,” J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in a letter in 1954. The iconic map of Middle-Earth to which he’s referring, included in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, has become a hallowed piece of Tolkien ephemera, prints of which adorn the dorm rooms of...

Stranger-Than-Fiction Writing Habits of 18 Famous Writers

Sometimes the muse works in mysterious ways. These well-known writers prove that when it comes to writing, thinking outside the box—and in the case of Vladimir Nabokov’s “shoebox method,” quite literally so—can provide the richest inspiration. This infographic is courtesy of Natasha Smyth of Global English Editing. Visit them online at geediting.com or on Twitter @geediting. Baihley Grandison is the...

5 Steps to Surviving Your Copy Edit

You might think that editors who are also writers aren’t at all bothered by being edited. The truth? We understand the importance of being edited probably more than some other writers. We also know going in how key it is to choose our battles, and might feel more comfortable deferring to an edit or, conversely,...

Writing tips and writing techniques

4 Tips to Improve Your Writing Instantly

If the “Pro Tips & Techniques” theme of the September 2016 Writer’s Digest sounds a little vague, I’ll fess up: That’s by design. Our most reliable contributors have a way of occasionally pitching outstanding articles that just don’t happen to fit with any of our issue themes. And as I was reviewing a batch...

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5 Things Friday Night Lights Can Teach Us About Writing

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other Monday, I’ll bring you...

TylerMoss

Freelance Writing Workshop: Crafting the Perfect Pitch

Breaking into a new magazine or online publication as a freelancer can be a herculean pain. It takes convincing an editor who is (most likely) unfamiliar with you and your work that you can be trusted with an assignment, appropriately understand the tone of the publication, and have the writing and reporting chops to...

Tyler Moss

5 Tricks Fiction Writers Can Learn From Journalism

From George Orwell to Neil Gaiman, there’s a reason that many journalists have gone on to become successful novelists. Journalists are taught the skills necessary to capture stories from the world around them, expressing them in prose with a compelling narrative arc. Thanks to my own background in reporting and magazine writing, I’ve found...

Mary Bly

Love Between the Covers: Inside the World of Romance Writing

By day, Mary Bly is a tenured professor of Shakespearean literature. But millions of readers may know her better by her nom de plume—Eloisa James, bestselling author of more than 25 romance novels. Bly is one of the subjects of the new documentary Love Between the Covers (view trailer here)—a positive, stirring and ultimately...

DIY MFA by Gabriela Pereira

How to DIY Your MFA

This is a guest post by Gabriela Pereira—author, speaker, and self-proclaimed word nerd—whose new book DIY MFA: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, Build Your Community shows you how to recreate the Master of Fine Arts experience without going back to school. As the founder and instigator of DIYMFA.com, Gabriela’s mission is to empower...

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3 Things House Can Teach Us About Writing

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other Monday, I’ll bring you...

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DEADLINE JUNE 20: WD’s 85th Annual Writing Competition

This week is your last chance to enter the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition! With 501 winners, this competition showcases beginning to veteran writers in all genres.       Don’t miss your chance to win a grand prize package that includes:   $5,000 in cash An announcement of the winner on the cover of Writer’s...

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Write a Standout Chapter 1

We all know the importance of starting our stories strong: Without a beginning that draws the readers in (whether those readers are agents, editors or bookstore browsers), they may never make it to the middle. Enter the July/August 2016 Writer’s Digest: An entire issue devoted to helping you make your Chapter 1 shine. When...

Arlene F. Marks

5 Tips for Editing Dialogue

Here’s a guest post from Arlene F. Marks, author of From First Word to Last: The Craft of Writing Popular Fiction and The Accidental God, in which she shares her tips for editing dialogue. If you have a great idea and would like to contribute a guest post of your own, please send an...

Interview: Award-Winning Comedy Writer Kyle Dunnigan of “Inside Amy Schumer”

Emmy award–winning comedy writer Kyle Dunnigan is a writer/producer on “Inside Amy Schumer” who’s also written for FOX’s “Cedric the Entertainer Presents,” Comedy Central, MTV, and more. In addition, as an actor and standup comedian, he’s made appearances on “Reno 911!” “Conan,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” “Late Night with Seth Myers,” and in 2015’s major...

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5 Things The Path Can Teach Us About Writing

I think the general consensus among those writers who teach the craft is that you must read—and read widely—about the craft of writing, particularly those authors who write in your genre. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums, too. Specifically television. Every other Monday, I’ll bring you...

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Indie Authors: Build Your Platform at Local Libraries

BY TYLER MOSS A library is more than simply a brick-and-mortar place to borrow books. It’s a community hub. A repository for stories. A portal into the imagination. But this fall, libraries will evolve again and become something more—a vital partner to independent authors in search of a platform. October 8, 2016, is the...

Tanaz Bhathena

4 Ways to Take Criticism Like a Pro

Here’s a guest post from Tanaz Bhathena, who writes Middle Eastern and South Asian fiction. If you have a great idea and would like to contribute a guest post of your own, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com with the subject line: Guest Post Idea for No Rules. ***** Eight years ago, when I...