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.


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...

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...

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....

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...

#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...

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...

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...

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....

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....

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...

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. ...

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....

#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...

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...

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...

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.)...

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. ...

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...

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...

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,...