WD Magazine

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 …” The sentence went on to serve as the literary posterchild for bad story starters, and it also became the...

How to Start a Novel Right: 5 Great Tips

It’s said that in life, there are two types of people: those who look at the glass as half empty, and those who see it as half full. But for those of us who’ve set the goal of starting a novel, I think it really comes down to how we view...

Writing challenge! Can you write an opening sentence to a story incorporating these 3 words? (Winners will be published in WD)

Looking for a little Friday procrastination in the form of a writing challenge? Close that Excel spreadsheet you’re working on, minimize your boss’ emails or postpone your daily chores (come on, nobody would rather change a litter box than write, right?). Take five: It’s time for our Your Story contest. Basically,...

Flowchart: How Do I Publish a Book?

One of the questions we get asked the most at Writer’s Digest: How do I publish a book? Well, we decided to finally answer it in this flowchart from our November/December 2012 issue, which is on newsstands now. Hope you get a kick out of it. Happy Friday.   Want more?...

Inspiration for Writers: How to Be More Creative

Ideas are everywhere. It’s what we do with them that matters. The latest issue of Writer’s Digest is dubbed The Big Idea Issue—and we’ve filled it with clever tips and simple strategies to help you find more inspiration for your writing, develop your most creative ideas into great stories, beat writer’s...

Sherman Alexie’s Top 10 Pieces of Advice for Writers

National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie’s birthday is Sunday, and his new title Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories was released this week. To celebrate the short-story writer (War Dances), poet (The Business of Fancydancing) and novelist (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian), here’s some advice Alexie shared with us in...

How to Get the Most Out of a Writing Conference

In only a few weeks, our staff will be venturing west for the Writer’s Digest Conference in Los Angeles, set for Oct. 19-21. On tap this year, writers can expect keynotes by Aimee Bender and Steven James, sessions taught by authors Elizabeth Sims, James Scott Bell, Rob Eagar, Nina Amir and...

Happy Birthday, Stephen King!

Today is Stephen King’s 65th birthday. To honor the man who is perhaps the most well-known living writer, here’s a linkfest of all things King. Don’t forget to have an It cupcake or two today. Stephen King’s Best Quotes: 13 of the author’s classic quips on the craft of writing. An Interview With...

Can Your Day Job Lead to Better Writing?

For some writers, a day job is a means to an end—and something they dream of one day quitting to pursue a dream of writing full time. (So much so that here at WD, we get the “When do you think I should quit?” question from our readers all the time....

Top 10 Essentials to a Writer’s Life

This week, I finished Erik Larson’s latest narrative nonfiction, In the Garden of Beasts, which is still dominating The New York Times bestseller list. Excellent read. A few years back, I got in touch with Larson (who also wrote the spectacular Devil in the White City) to see if he would...

Snippets From a 1966 Interview With Helen Gurley Brown

Helen Gurley Brown, author and longtime editor of Cosmopolitan, died at age 90 yesterday. Her bestselling nonfiction book, Sex and the Single Girl, which took her career to the next level in 1962, was eventually adopted for the big screen in 1964; it starred Natalie Wood, Tony Curtis, Lauren Bacall and...

Making the Most of Your Writing Time: Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everyone who commented on my post about ways to Make Your Writing Time Matter. Sure, finding time to write (and to write well) can be a frustrating struggle, but it’s encouraging to know that we all face these challenges—and that as part of a generous community of writers willing...

Remembering Gore Vidal: 10 Quotes on Writing

The legendary Gore Vidal died yesterday at age 86. Here, we remember him with some stirring quotes from an interview we printed in 1975, showcasing him at his most “prolific, elegant and acerbic” (as The New York Times aptly described him earlier today). Rest in peace, Gore. * “You can improve...

Make Your Writing Time Matter

Who hasn’t daydreamed about what we could produce if only we had more time? More time to write; more time to feel inspired; more time to read; more time to devote to all those things-besides-writing that writers these days are expected to do (platform building, anyone?). There’s no question that time...

Remembering Nora Ephron: Before all the Hollywood Success

Nora Ephron died yesterday at 71. In her career, she worked as a journalist before reinventing the modern romantic comedy (Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally) while writing everything from novels and essays to stage plays. WD is saddened by her passing, and our thoughts go out to her sister...

How to Break the Rules of Writing

Here at Writer’s Digest (and despite the There Are No Rules moniker of this blog), we talk a lot about doing things by the book—from understanding grammatical and structural writing rules, to following submission guidelines, to otherwise conducting yourself like a pro. And that’s why we had so much fun putting...

Ask a Literary Agent Anything: Here’s Your Chance!

Is there a question you’ve always secretly wished you could ask a literary agent? Maybe you want privileged information … or maybe you want real, tell-it-to-me-straight advice. Maybe something’s been bugging you for a while, but you’re too afraid of sounding like an amateur if you speak up … or you’re...