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  • There Are No Rules

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.


3 Secrets of the Greats: Structure Your Story for Ultimate Reader Addiction — April 11 Webinar

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Every story needs a great plot. A lot’s been said about the subject — from advice on composing a great ending to having a three-act structure framework. But there’s more to plot and structure — a lot more. So the good news is that we have writer & editor A. Victoria Mixon teaching a brand new live webinar called “3 Secrets of the Greats: Structure Your Story for Ultimate Reader Addiction.” It happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, April 11, and lasts 90 minutes.

In this brand new live webinar, independent editor A. Victoria Mixon teaches the missing three pieces to the puzzle of storytelling structure. You can learn to take your reader on that fabulous rollercoaster ride they crave, creating Ultimate Reader Addiction to your stories, every single time. Read more

Agent Regina Brooks Teaches “Writing Great Books for Young Adults” — April 4 Webinar With Critique

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Young adult fiction is a vibrant and growing section of the book writing world. YA is the genre that has the most breakout writers every month, allowing new voices to reach the marketplace all the time. But with more opportunity comes more competition — and agents & editors see tons of submissions each month that get rejected because they don’t stand out. That’s why we have literary agent Regina Brooks teaching the webinar, “Writing Great Books for Young Adults” at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, April 4, 2013. It lasts 90 minutes. Read more

Agents Barbara Poelle and Holly Root Cover It All With Their “How to Write a Successful Novel: The Craft, Techniques, and Strategies” Webinar on March 28

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If you don’t know who Barbara Poelle and Holly Root are, I’ll tell you. They are both awesome literary agents who both sell a lot of books and also are extremely good at teaching writers how to improve their work. Basically, they’re super-cool and super-smart. And now, somehow, the planets have aligned and they are teaching an intensive new webinar together while offering critiques for all registrants.

The cover-all 90-minute webinar is called “How to Write a Successful Novel: The Craft, Techniques, and Strategies,” and it happens at 1 p.m., Thursday, March 28, 2013. Every registrant will get feedback from the agents on their query letter and first page. Read more

Creating Emotional Frustration in Your Characters

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint

Using emotion to create strong, emotional characters and move a plot is critical for any writer in any type of genre. Knowing what kind of emotion to use and how to use it … Read more

5 Unexpected Lessons From Inside the Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Ask any writer—at any level—what writing program he or she would most like to get a glimpse inside of, and chances are the answer will be the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The first … Read more

Story Physics: How to Craft Your Best Fiction — New March 21 Webinar With “Storyfixer” Larry Brooks (With Synopsis Critique!)

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We all know that writers want to take their novel (or screenplay) to the next level. That’s why we have “The StoryFixer” Larry Brooks teaching the all-new webinar “From Good to Great: How to Apply the Principles of Story Physics to Craft the Best Fiction of Your Life” at 1 p.m., Thursday, March 21, 2013. It lasts 90 minutes. (All registrants will get a one-page synopsis critiqued by instructor Larry Brooks!) Read more

Your Book, Your Rules: Advice from an Agent (Guest Blog)

Who better to ask for advice on how to keep an agent’s attention than an agent? Carlie Webber of CK Webber Associates maintains an excellent blog on all kinds of writing and … Read more

To Plan or To Plunge? A New Way of Looking at the Outlining Debate

Few questions inherent to the writing process spark as much passionate back and forth among writers as this: To outline, or not to outline? In my years as editor of Writer’s Digest … Read more

Rejection Letter Bingo

From the March/April 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest, here’s Rejection Letter Bingo. Print it out and play along. But hurry—I’m getting close!     —Zachary Petit is an award-winning journalist, and the senior … Read more

Get Your First 500 Words Critiqued by Agent Roseanne Wells: March 14 Webinar on “The Essentials of Characters, Plot & Setting”

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A lot of WD’s webinars are focused on a particular element or genre. Sometimes they’re on writing something specific like a picture book, while other times they’re intensives on query letters or synopses. But this week it’s time to get back to basics. It’s time to talk about the crucial and essential story elements of character, plot and setting. To accomplish this, we have literary agent and instructor extraordinaire Roseanne Wells (Jennifer De Chiara Literary) teaching the all-new webinar, “The Three Essential Building Blocks of Your Novel: Who, What, and Where,” on Thursday, March 14, 2013. The webinar starts at 1 p.m., EST and lasts 90 minutes. And there’s more: Each registrant gets the first 500 pages of their novel critiqued by Roseanne! Read more

Submission Letters: How Much Is Too Much?

As a writer, I always thought I had the submission cover letter down pat. But managing a literary magazine truly opened my eyes to the staggering breadth of what many writers consider … Read more

3 Surprising Lessons About Publishing Today

With the newsstand release of every new edition of Writer’s Digest magazine, I typically share a few of the best tips relating to the issue’s cover theme here. But in compiling our … Read more

The Real Oscar Winner: Great Storytelling

Even before Quentin Tarantino proclaimed in his Academy Award acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay (Django Unchained) that this would “be the writers’ year,” it was impossible not to notice all the … Read more

Agent Kate McKean’s Feb. 28 Webinar With Synopsis Critique: “Find, Fix, and Finesse Your Plot into a Winning Idea”

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Plot and structure are so important to a story. Heck, that’s the key word to all this: story. A plot and structure is essentially your story’s framework. Many whole books have been written on plot because it’s such a tricky complicated thing. How can you keep people turning the pages? How can you affect their emotions and get them to continue reading? Plot factors in huge.

Luckily for us, we’ve got literary agent and instructor extraordinaire Kate McKean of Howard Morhaim Literary to teach “Find, Fix and Finesse Your Plot into a Winning Idea” — a brand new webinar at 1 p.m., Thursday, Fe. 28, 2013. It lasts 90 minutes and comes with an awesome critique of your entire synopsis! Read more

Bug-Out Bags for Writers

As we all know from watching shows like Doomsday Preppers, you’ve got to be ready to get out of dodge fast if things hit the fan. So what should a writer have … Read more

Writer’s Digest Announces New Self-Publishing Conference

New One-Day Event Focuses on the Art and Business of Savvy Self-Publishing NEW YORK – February 12, 2013 – As options for self-publishing increase, barriers to becoming a published author have become … Read more

Writing Gender-Specific Dialogue

On Writing Romance

Writing dialogue to suit the gender of your characters is important in any genre, but it becomes even more essential in romance writing. In a romance novel, characters of opposite sexes are … Read more

“Perfect Your Query Pitch” — Feb. 14, 2013 Webinar All About Constructing a Dynamite Pitch

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When you want to sell your book, you’ll need to send agents and editors a great query letter to pique their interest in your work. And the most important part of the query letter is the pitch — where you describe your novel or memoir’s story. To explain more about how to craft a dynamite pitch and get agents & editors to say YES, we’ve listed “The Book Doctors” Arielle Eckstut & David Henry Sterry to teach “The Art of The Pitch: Perfect Your Number One Tool to Attracting Agents, Publishers, and Readers.” The webinar lasts 90 minutes and happens at 1 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. Read more

“How to Make a Career of E-Books” — New Webinar by James Scott Bell, Feb. 7, 2013

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It’s no secret that one of the biggest stories of the past few years is the rise of e-books and the potential money to be made selling them. It seems like each week we hear about some author — either an established one or a new scribe — who recently made a mint selling e-books. With all this in mind, we wanted to design/offer a brand new webinar all about how to make money off e-books and navigate today’s complicated digital waters. We’ve enlisted storytelling master James Scott Bell to teach the 90-minute webinar, “How to Make a Career Out of eBooks,” at 1 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2013. Read more

Jodi Picoult: Top 10 Writers I Admire, and Why

It’s time for another writerly list. If you liked Erik Larson’s Top 10 Essentials to a Writer’s Life and Sherman Alexie’s Top 10 Pieces of Writing Advice I’ve Been Given (Or That I’ll Pretend … Read more

WD’s February 2013 Bundled Collection is “Writing for Children & Young Adults” (at 83% Off!)

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Writer’s Digest’s new Premium Collections are a pretty cool deal. What happens is that a bunch of our products and/or services are bundled together and sold at a ridiculous discount. For February 2013, the “Writing for Children & Young Adult” collection is 10 awesome products bundled together and sold at 83% off. Each collection has a limited number — and is sold for a limited time — so check out this amazing premium collection (and get your book for kids published!) before it sells out. Read more

Agent Jennifer Laughran Teaches the Webinar “Catching and Keeping an Agent” (and Critiques Registrants’ Queries!) on November 21, 2013

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This week, literary agent Jennifer Laughran (Andrea Brown Literary) is going to provide a ton of instruction in her brand new webinar for WD. The webinar’s instruction is about both the process of finding & pitching agents as well as what to do after you have an agent. But to round out the presentation, Jennifer is critiquing the query letter of all registants. Virtually no topic of the publication path will go unaddressed.

Jennifer will teach “Beyond the Query: Catching and Keeping an Agent” at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, March 7, 2013. The webinar lasts 90 minutes, and each registrant gets their query critiqued by Jennifer. Read more

“Your Story’s First Pages: How to Engage Readers” — Jan. 24, 2013 Webinar With Critique by Agent Kathleen Ortiz

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It’s no secret that the first several pages of your manuscript are of the highest importance. The truth is that agents and editors size up your writing within a minute at the most. If you don’t have their attention on Page 1, they stop reading. It’s that simple. Because it’s imperative that your work starts strong and avoids overused techniques or cliches, we’ve enlisted literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary to help. Kathleen is teaching “Your Story’s First Pages: How to Engage the Reader” – a new webinar (with a critique of your first 500 words!) on Jan. 24, 2013. Read on to learn more. Read more

Happy Birthday to the Last Writer You’d Ever Expect to Plot a Murder

And now, for your Friday moment of writerly Zen, a curiosity found in the June 1922 issue of Writer’s Digest: “I have always adored detective stories; I have always thought they must … Read more

Famous First Lines Reveal How to Start a Novel

On this day in 1873, writer and politician Edward Bulwer-Lytton died. One thing he left behind: The first line from his novel Paul Clifford: “It was a dark and stormy night …” … Read more

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