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.


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...

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...

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...

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...

Fiction Writing

How to Write Suspense Like Stephen King

Aside from the fact that no less an authority than William Faulkner recommends reading widely in different styles and genres, there’s still another compelling reason why you might want to study Stephen King’s novels no matter what kind of writing you do. King is the number one horror writer in America, but you don’t...

4 Tips from the WD Novel Writing Conference: Day 3 (Plus a Giveaway!)

Attendees spent their final day at the inaugural Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference focusing on both the craft and business of novel writing. Topics ranged from writing an attention-grabbing query letter to revising a manuscript with targeted, proven techniques. The event ended with an inspiring closing keynote from New York Times bestselling writer Christopher Rice. Here are some highlights:...

television, writing

6 Things American Horror Story 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...

4 Tips from the WD Novel Writing Conference: Day 2

Saturday’s sessions and networking events at the Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference proved helpful, inspiring, energizing and, in the case of the Halloween-themed cocktail party, downright spooky. Here are some of our favorite tips and highlights:  “Your POV determines how close or ‘intimate’ the reader is to your character.” —Jordan Rosenfeld     “The...

Weekly Round-Up: Last Chance for Halloween and NaNoWriMo

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.  It’s the end...

5 Tips from the WD Novel Writing Conference: Day 1

The inaugural Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference, which kicked off today, is a chance for attendees to immerse themselves in the craft of novel writing: plot, characters, setting, point of view, and more. In sessions that ranged from hooking readers with a strong beginning to modulating your novel’s pace, today’s speakers shared a multitude of...

#ThrowbackThursday: Stan Lee on the Cover of Writer’s Digest in 1947

Nowadays, you can’t watch a Marvel movie without a cameo by Stan Lee: As co-creator of The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, X-Men, Avengers and more, he’s as much of a Marvel celeb as any comic-book character. We featured him in Writer’s Digest in 1947—long before the invention of The Fantastic Four in 1961 propelled Lee to major fame—while was was working as...

Jodi Picoult on writing

4 Great Essays From Jodi Picoult on Writing

Yesterday, I took a detour north of our Cincinnati office to see Jodi Picoult speak at a luncheon event hosted by Thurber House literary center in Columbus. I’ve long been a fan of Picoult’s work, and her latest, Small Great Things, just debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times bestsellers list. I...

paula munier, beginnings, how to write beginnings

Strong Beginnings: A Trick to Editing Your Novel

The best beginnings possess a magical quality that grabs readers from the first word and never lets them go. But beginnings aren’t just the door into a fiction world. They are the gateway to the realm of publishing—one that could shut as quickly as it opens. Nail a beginning and you can potentially land...

18 Words You Didn’t Know You Needed

While the English language possesses incredible breadth, it nowhere near encompasses the span of expression. Sometimes, we just don’t have the words—for example, being able to define the phenomena of “hearing a joke so poorly told and unfunny you couldn’t help but laugh,” or “the urge to pinch something that is irresistibly cute.” That’s where these fantastic non-English words come...

What if Publishers Rejected Dracula? (Happy Halloween)

About a year ago, we retired “Reject A Hit,” the fan-favorite humor column that donned the back page of Writer’s Digest for five long years, in which writers assumed the position of a fake agent or publisher respectfully (or at times, not-so-respectfully) declining such classic novels as Moby-Dick, Great Expectations and The Hobbit. While...

television, writing

6 Things Friends Can Teach Us About Writing (Part 2)

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...

Friday Reads: Chart Your Course with Author in Progress

Let me set the scene: You’re sitting at home, perhaps in your office or at your kitchen table, maybe sipping some coffee or tea. You’d like to start writing your novel … but instead you’re staring at the cursor on your laptop screen as it blinks back at you. You’re suddenly possessed of a singular, creeping dread:...

#ThrowbackThursday: Writer’s Digest October 1922

Some 90-odd years ago, Writer’s Digest was still providing valuable tips and insight on the writing craft. We dove back into our archives—a full bookcase of hardbound antiques that would make any writer/booklover swoon—to give you a glimpse at some of our favorite bits from the October 1922 issue. For the best of present-day Writer’s Digest, check...