My Best Posts From 2010 - Writer's Digest

My Best Posts From 2010

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Here's the very best advice I offered here at NO RULES in 2010. This can serve as a handy guide, or share this link with writers who might be new to NO RULES. (What a good Christmas gift, right?)

Above: my cat Zelda. She approves of this list. Plus I don't think I posted one cat photo all year. I think there's a law that every blog needs to use at least one cat photo each year (if not each month).

Craft & Technique

The Biggest Bad Advice About Story Openings

Story Openings: What Constitutes Significant/Meaningful Action?

Your No. 1 Challenge If You're Writing a Memoir

Getting Published

How to Ensure 75% of Agents Will Request Your Material

The Ultimate Guide to Novel Queries

Your Self-Help Book Should Not Be a Thinly Disguised Memoir

7 Free-to-Enter National Writing Competitions That Impact Your Career

Marketing & Promotion

The Most Important Marketing Acronym: WIIFM

Why Don't Publishers Market & Promote the Books They Publish?

Authors: Build Your E-mail List—NOW


Why Start a Website or Blog If You Have Nothing to Promote?

What Should Fiction Writers Blog About?

Should You Hire Someone to Design Your Website?

Social Media

When or Why Social Media Fails to Sell Books

Should You Create a Facebook Fan Page? (And If So, When?)


The No. 1 Most Important Factor for Writers Considering the Self-Pub Option

The Best 101 on Self-Publishing + Resources

Self-Publishing and Online Publishing Will Not Ruin Your Chances at a Traditional Deal

The Writing Life

Your Excuses About Writing Are Vitally Important

The Secret to Writing & Publishing That Should Be Taped to Your Wall

Industry Trends

The 3 Best Takeaways for Writers From BookExpo America

Best Resources for Successful Writers of the Future


I also started a Back to Basics series in 2010. Click here to see all entries in the category. I cover 101 questions like how to get published, how to start blogging, what your rights are as a writer, and why you might be getting rejected.

Want more? Check out The Secrets to Publishing Success (Jane's 2009 Tough Love Guide)


10 Epic Quotes From Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Here are 10 epic quotes from Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The story of a group of rabbits who escape an impending danger to find a new home, Watership Down is filled with moments of survival, faith, friendship, fear, and hope.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Quintilla Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the quintilla.


Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fight or Flight

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's fighting time.


Vintage WD: 10 Rules for Suspense Fiction

John Grisham once admitted that this article from 1973 helped him write his thrillers. In it, author Brian Garfield shares his go-to advice for creating great suspense fiction.


The Chaotically Seductive Path to Persuasive Copy

In this article, author, writing coach, and copywriter David Pennington teaches you the simple secrets of excellent copywriting.

Grinnell_Literary Techniques

Using Literary Techniques in Narrative Journalism

In this article, author Dustin Grinnell examines Jon Franklin’s award-winning article Mrs. Kelly’s Monster to help writers master the use of literary techniques in narrative journalism.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 545

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a cleaning poem.


New Agent Alert: Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.


5 Tips for Writing Scary Stories and Horror Novels

Bestselling and award-winning author Simone St. James shares five tips for writing scary stories and horror novels that readers will love to fear.