Ultimately, Content Matters More Than Craft

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The Writer's Book of Wisdom by Steven Taylor Goldsberry

Witness the success of The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks. This former New York Times No. 1 bestseller is so badly written, so poorly plotted, so rife with wooden characters that it's laughable.

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Ah, but there's a catch here. How do you explain its success?

The key is the book's irresistible frame: An old man in a nursing home goes to an upper floor to visit another patient, a woman his age. He introduces himslf to her each time because she has Alzheimer's and can't remember him. Then he sits down and reads to her from a notebook that he writes in during the night. The story he reads is their story—from the time they met and because young lovers until now. You see, this woman who can no longer remember his name or their history is his wife.

That story of theirs is rendered in prose that would be considered mediocre in middle school, but never mind. The frame really touched readers' hearts. People still talk about it.

Do pay the utmost attention to your craft. Never let anyone accuse you of shoddy workmanship. But, above all, find a good story to tell.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not accepting feedback on your writing.

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Here are the top creativity websites as identified in the 23rd Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Proest Dalgron: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn proest dalgron, a Welsh quatrain form.

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

In this post, we look at what a palindrome is when it comes to writing, including several examples of palindromes.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

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

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

Children's author Christine Evans shares how repetition is good for growing readers and gives you the tools to write your story's perfect refrain.

From Our Readers

Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World: From Our Readers (Comment for a Chance at Publication)

This post announces our latest From Our Readers ask: Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World. Comment for a chance at publication in a future issue of Writer's Digest.

About Us: How to Handle Your Story That Involves Other People

About Us: How to Handle Your Story That Involves Other People

Your story belongs to you but will involve other people. Where do your rights end and theirs begin?

Identifying Your Book's Target Audience

Identifying Your Book's Target Audience

Editor-in-chief Amy Jones navigates how to know your target audience, and how knowing will make your writing stronger.