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.


CraftingDynamicDialogue

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...

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: What to Get a Writer

Use our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide to pin down a present for the wordsmith in your life. The following is a smattering of our favorite literary miscellanea these days. 1. Literary-Themed Scarves Let words bring you warmth—literally. These infinity scarves from Storiarts wrap you in passages from classics such as Jane Eyre, Les Miserables...

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Write Your Manifesto

When you are clear about who you are as a writer—meaning you know what you write and for whom—you can create more coherently and productively. The tricky part is that people evolve. Life stages and life events will inevitably shape you. The words you read and write will transform you. And the company you...

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What Is Your Character’s Cornerstone?

If you’re not watching the excellent HBO series Westworld, you should. Not only is the show a study in deft plotting and complex themes, but it’s a delicious, entertaining mystery that continues to surprise me week after week. (The season 1 finale is tonight at 9:00 EST, but it’s worth a binge-fest.) For the unitiated, here’s a...

Weekly Round-up: Author Insights and Challenge Winners

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.  Author Insights Anxiety...

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Answers to Your Novel Writing Questions

I’ve interviewed enough authors over the years to know this: Even the most successful among them can remember with vivid clarity the tentative tingling of first sitting down to write a novel and feeling as if they had no idea what they were doing. In fact, some of them still experience that odd mingling...

emotion, fiction, stakes

How to Create Moral Stakes in Your Fiction

We experience life as feelings. Yet, so much fiction is written to minimize feelings or leave them out altogether. It’s as if emotions are not a fit subject or writing about them is too simplistic. Even fiction that celebrates feelings, romance for instance, can sometimes work with only a limited and familiar emotional palette....

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5 Things Breaking Bad 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 week, I’ll bring you...

Weekly Round-up: First Things First

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.  Happy Thanksgiving! We’re...

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Cause and Effect: Telling Your Story in the Right Order

A game of billiards begins with the cue ball striking the racked balls, which then scatter across the pool table. After that the players take turns trying to clear the table by pocketing another ball (either stripes or solids), all while keeping the cue ball out of the pockets. We all understand that the...

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An Audience of One: A Story for Thanksgiving

By Kris Radish The lone woman looked terrified. She sat with her shoulders hunched and her face down as if she were trying to turn her body into a tent where she could hide. I remember standing off to one side and looking at her—really looking at her. She was clearly uncomfortable being in...

Weekly Round-up: Make the Most of Your Writing Life

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.  Tips and Tricks...

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Want To Earn More Money at Your Job? Be a Good Writer

You don’t have to be a writer to benefit from solid writing skills—For proof, just check out the results of this study from the folks at Grammarly: This infographic is courtesy of Grammarly. Visit them online at grammarly.com. Baihley Grandison is the assistant editor of Writer’s Digest and a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @baihleyg, where she mostly tweets about writing...

Page Proofs

What No One Tells You About Page Proofs, Blurb Requests and More

We’ve all heard the middle of a manuscript referred to as “the muddle in the middle”—a nod to the challenge in sustaining momentum between the opening hook and the exciting conclusion. What you don’t hear as often is that the “muddle in the middle” applies just as aptly to the publishing process itself. For the past year I’ve...

Build a Writing Community

Energize Your Life With a Supportive Writing Community

By Caroline Leavitt When you are writing well, you have a multitude of characters around you, but then you come up for air—too often with a pesky plot problem at hand—and sometimes you realize it’s you and your empty apartment. You might be lucky to have a spouse or friend who understands and is...

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How to Review Your Plot: Using Your Notes and Outline at Revision

You’re nearing the finish line and feel like you need a final push forward to reach completion. You’ve slogged your way through the long, seemingly interminable middle, and your energy has flagged. Writers often experience self-doubt in this stage (worrying that it won’t come together well), and some have issues with finishing things. Your...

Weekly Round-up: People, Places, and Thinks

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.  Events Our first...

The Power of Setting

3 Ways to Portray Place on the Page

  By Noah Lederman The most skilled authors know drawing upon their settings can add a breath of reality to their imagined story worlds. Here are three unexpected lessons about depicting place on the page. Sometimes a setting is so central to a story that it’s almost a character unto itself—a fully crafted, fictional...

#ThrowbackThursday: Charles M. Schulz of “Peanuts” in 1965 WD Yearbook

It’s always cool to discover old issues of Writer’s Digest featuring now-famous authors talking about their early years. It’s even more exciting to find authors sharing their longtime love of WD—like this interview with “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz (with a comic he created just for WD!). For the best of present-day Writer’s Digest, check out...

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Enter the WD Your Story Contest For a Chance to Be Published

In every issue of WD, we run a column called Your Story—a place readers can share their most creative responses (in the form of a 700-word short story or a 25-word first liner, depending on the contest) to an editor-selected picture or sentence prompt. It’s free to enter, and the winning entry(s) get published in Writer’s Digest (So, win-win!). Think...

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4 Ways to Write a Compelling Character

Where do fictional characters come from, and, more important, how do you build one from scratch? For some writers, characters whisper in their ears or appear in their dreams; for others, building a character requires as much effort and forethought as constructing a house. Though the method will vary for every writer, there’s no...

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Use Mind Mapping to Plan Your Next Writing Project

Seeking a creative boost for your next writing project? Try mind mapping, which harnesses the power of brainstorming and free association to develop an idea or concept. Whether you’re planning a novel, an article, an instructional course, a blog post, or a product or service related to your author brand, the time you spend...