Writer's Digest

Writer's Digest

July/August 2021

Writer's Digest magazine is a comprehensive source of writing instruction for writers. Each issue provides advice and insider tips on writing and selling fiction, nonfiction, poetry and scripts.

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United States
Active Interest Media
USD 5.99
USD 14.99
8 Números

en este número

2 min.
poetic asides

POETIC FORM: TRENTA-SEI The trenta-sei is a 36-line form created by poet and translator John Ciardi. In fact, trenta-sei is Italian for 36. Here are the basic guidelines: • Six sestets (or six-line stanzas)• Each sestet has the following rhyme scheme: ababcc• Each line in the first stanza makes the first line in its corresponding stanza (so line one is the first line in the first stanza; line two is the first line in the second stanza; and so on) Robert Lee Brewer is senior editor of WD and the author of Smash Poetry Journal. Here is an example by a Poetic Asides reader: “Attention” by Jane Shlensky “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”—Simone Weil I’m easy now to entertain my isolation rich with light from brightest dawn to sunset’s stain, each phase of moon…

2 min.
editor’s letter

A Deeper Mark I have been excited about this issue since July of 2020 when the editorial staff sat down to discuss themes for the coming year. We settled on a dual theme: The Bravery Issue with a secondary theme of Writing for Change. The two seemed so connected to us—it shouldn’t take courage to write about the things that are important to you, but often those are the topics that take the most courage. After all, they’re the ones closest to your heart, the issues that most affect your life, and what you’re most invested in. And sometimes, it just takes courage to sit down and write in the face of naysayers and potential rejection. But as we sorted through the pitches, it became clear that the “Writing for Change” portion…

3 min.
killer car

Out of more than 200 entries, Writer’s Digest editors and readers chose this winner, submitted by Chris Puzak of Elkins Park, Pa. It was in there, waiting for me. “Give me 10 minutes,” I said to the police lieutenant. “Then dynamite the building and pave it over. That should buy you some time.” He nodded. He had just seen three of his men die, and the night was still young. “Everybody get back!” he shouted to the assembled officers. They looked nervous. I wanted to throw up, to leave, but I didn’t have a choice. I had to go in. It all started far away from here, at a car dealership in Florida. Crazy Floyd’s, I think the name was. A little girl was crushed by a self-driving car. People had speculated she had been trying…

13 min.
authoring change one book at a time

In a world desperately in need of change, you have an opportunity now to write a book that inspires personal, organizational, or global transformation. However, a well-crafted manuscript may not be enough to motivate your readers toward internal or external change. To author the change you want to see in the world, you can write a novel, a memoir, a parable, a biography, or a prescriptive nonfiction book. Historically, though, nonfiction has offered a powerful vehicle for change. With that in mind, consider the types of books that motivated you to change, started movements, or reached millions of readers. You may be experienced in one genre, like fiction, and feel inclined to write a change-inspiring novel. Before you begin writing, consider stretching your writing skills by switching genres so your message is…

4 min.
funnyyou shouldask

Dear FYSA, Help! I just got my first edit back from my publisher, and I’m in a flop-sweat panic. Not only is there markup EVERYWHERE—my editor also asked me for a structural revision that I hate. Didn’t they buy my book in the first place?? Does my prose suck? Do I have to restructure my third act? What do I dooooo? Sincerely, Made My Own Beditor Hello, Beditor! Several years ago, in the dead of winter, some friends and I snow-shoed from Northern Minnesota into Ontario, Canada. For me, it was, at the time, the accumulation of a lifelong dream—to this day, I do not have the words to describe the way the cold smelled—and the night we finally made it to the lodge, I was fairly exploding with this impossible combination of exhaustion, accomplishment,…

8 min.
the art of feedback-giving for writers

I would estimate, conservatively, that two insightful peer criticisms I received in my workshop course last fall saved me two to three months of wrestling with the novel manuscript I plan to use as my MFA thesis. Without external feedback (and not for lack of trying), it takes me about a month between writing and revising to come to clear-minded conclusions about the state of a draft on my own. Two to three months is a lot of acceleration for the relatively short amount of time it takes to write a feedback letter. That level of progress was only possible, however, because all the writers involved were conscientious about their role in creating and maintaining a respectful and supportive feedback-giving environment. Writing well and giving good feedback are two different maneuvers; they…