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.


MommyCanWrite

Look! Mommy Can Write! A Look Back at Women in Writing

Before our office moved further north of the city, we used to get visits by the most delightful retiree, a former Writer’s Digest editor who would occasionally come by to dig a clip out of the archives, tell us she enjoyed a recent issue, or just say hi. Her name? Well, on the masthead,...

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How to Submit to Literary Journals

You’ve revised your story more times than you can count and you’re ready for quick and easy publication. But what you may not realize is the submissions process should be taken as seriously as the story. Find Your Journals If you’re new to submissions, you may be unsure of where to find the journals. Try...

#WriterWednesday: Top 10 Tweets of the Week

Whether you’re battling self-doubt (“What if I never have a story/article idea as good as the last one EVER AGAIN?”) trudging your way through a first draft (or 50th) or cultivating motivation to sit at the keyboard, you’re not the only one. In honor of #WriterWednesday, we’ve culled our favorite tweets of the week to...

Freese-Headshot

4 Things True Detective (Season 1) 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 be bringing...

Tyler Moss

Freelance Writing Workshop: 5 Attributes of Highly Effective Freelancers

Writing is a religion unto itself, guided by passionate beliefs (have you ever witnessed a pantsers vs. plotters argument?) and sacred texts (The Elements of Style, On Writing). And like any organized religion, it can be broken down into subgroups. This is the first in a series of freelance writing-related posts from Writer’s Digest...

How a Fiction Anthology Is Made

I’m an avid reader of Writer Unboxed, which has been one of our 101 Best Websites for Writers for several years running now—and when I had the pleasure of moderating the WU panel at last year’s Writer’s Digest Conference, one of my personal highlights was the chance to chat at length afterward with regular...

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Land a Freelancing Gig with a Letter of Introduction

  “What’s one thing you wish you had included in your freelancing book but didn’t?” a student at The New School in New York City asked me not long ago. “Nothing,” I responded, naturally. “It’s all there.” But then I cut the sass and conceded: There was, in fact, one thing I left out...

ca. 2002 --- Pat Conroy and Cassandra King --- Image by © Erica Berger/Corbis

Pat Conroy Tribute: The Writer’s Digest Interview

Prolific author Pat Conroy passed away on March 4, 2015. We pay tribute to him by releasing an exclusive dual WD Interview from the May/June 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest, in which married novelists Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini and other contemporary Southern classics) and Cassandra King (best known for...

Rejection in Writer's Digest

A Proper Sendoff for “Reject a Hit”

It’s always hard to say goodbye to a dear friend. Even when you know it’s time for them to go. I first had the idea for what became WD’s Reject a Hit column back in 2010. We’d been combing through the crumbly, leather-bound Writer’s Digest magazine archives, which date back to 1920, in preparation for a...

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Why Your Story is Getting Rejected: Language

As a former reader for a literary journal, I first learned to watch for language. I looked for creative, rhythmic prose that engaged the senses and provided a clear voice. But it took time to recognize and appreciate these qualities, and even longer to apply them in my own work. Now, as an editor,...

Writing for Kids and Teens

The Best Tips on Writing for Kids and Teens

  What are the most common problems in picture book submissions? What are the most important differences between middle-grade and young adult stories? What makes for standout writing for young readers? Top literary agents who represent writing for kids and teens delve deeply into their best craft tips and industry insights to answer all of these questions...

Better Call Saul

5 Things Better Call Saul 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. They’ll also tell you to study fellow authors who write in your genre. And that’s solid advice. But I think there’s a lot you can learn about writing from other mediums,...

Tyler Moss

Write for Platforms of Yore

Friends, Romans, countrymen—lend me your ears. We come to bury Reject a Hit, the back-page humor column of WD. Since the March/April 2010 issue, RaH has treated readers to the satirical letters of imagined “curmudgeonly or fool-hearted” editors, as they bluntly dismissed the manuscripts of classic novels from Lolita and War & Peace to...

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Creating a Lasting Writing Practice

Today’s guest post comes from Paula Munier, senior literary agent and content strategist at Talcott Notch Literary Services, and author of Plot Perfect and Writing with Quiet Hands. Today she shares her methods for developing a rewarding and fruitful writing practice.   The word practice gets a bad rep. It reminds us of all...

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10 Lessons Learned Behind the Scenes of a Book Deal (Part 2)

A few short months ago, I wrote about my path to getting an agent and a publisher, and promised to share my experiences leading up to the publication of my debut novel, ALMOST MISSED YOU, due out in 2017 from St. Martin’s Press. You might think that as the editor of Writer’s Digest magazine—and given my earlier years...

JStrawserHS4-featured

10 Lessons Learned Behind the Scenes of a Book Deal

A few short months ago, I wrote about my path to getting an agent and a publisher, and promised to share my experiences leading up to the publication of my debut novel, ALMOST MISSED YOU, due out in 2017 from St. Martin’s Press. You might think that as the editor of Writer’s Digest magazine—and...

Comedy Writing Secrets

Comedy Writing Secrets: Triple the Funny

This guest post is by Mark Shatz, author of Comedy Writing Secrets 3rd Edition: The Best-Selling Guide to Writing Funny and Getting Paid for It. Mark A. Shatz is the author of KISSing Golf: The Keep It Simple (Stupid) Instructional Method, a humorous instructional book for beginning golfers. He is also an award-winning professor...

Robert Pipkin

How the 2015 October Platform Challenge Changed My Platform

The next few Fridays will feature guest posts on the There Are No Rules blog. If you’d like to join the party, pitch a guest blog post idea to robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com with the subject line: Guest Post Idea for No Rules. Simple as that, and we’ll get working on it together. Today’s guest post comes...

What You Can Do Now to Master the Business of Writing

Even without knowing you (yes, you! hello there), I can say that we put together the “Master the Business of Writing” package for the February 2016 Writer’s Digest with you in mind. Because whether you’re an aspiring author, a midlist novelist or a freelancer looking for bigger paychecks, this issue will meet you where...

Robert Lee Brewer

Improve Your Writing Platform (or Author Platform) in 30 Days

A few times now, I’ve run 30-day platform challenges for writers to help with the difficult task of creating a writing platform (also known as an author platform). I prefer the term writing platform, because I feel the word author locks a writer into only writing books. However, today’s publishing environment offers so many...

Fire Up Your Writing Brain

How to Brainstorm: Give Your Brain Free Rein

It’s a new year, and the perfect time to recommit yourself to your writing life. Whether you’re still working on your same project, or just opening a fresh notebook or Word document to start a new one, it can be intimidating when you hit a mental block. And that means it’s always a good...

Fiction Writing Master Class

Write Like Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is an absolute classic, particularly around this time of year. And even if you don’t want to write exactly like Dickens, there’s something—a technique, an idea, a theme, etc.—that every writer can pull from Dickens’ writing. The following is an excerpt from William Cane’s Fiction Writing Master Class, which...