Writer's Digest May/June 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.

United States
Active Interest Media
USD 5.99
USD 14.99
8 Números

en este número

2 min.
from our readers

“I saw a PBS short on historical places in New York City. One of them was a mansion in Harlem—a place far removed from the Astors and Vanderbilts of that era. I became curious about who had lived there and why it was still standing as all around it had been developed into multi-family housing. As a writer of historical fiction, I often find myself down rabbit holes. As it turns out, this mansion housed some very prominent people, including George Washington. As I researched further, I found the topic for my next book.” —Eileen Donovan “In high school, I read a book by Geoffrey Ashe called The Discovery of King Arthur. It is the most compelling explanation I’ve read about who the historical person behind the legendary King Arthur was. For…

2 min.
a spark of curiosity

Raise your hand if you subscribed to WD in June of 1973. If you did, you’ll know where we got the inspiration for this issue (and the cute, tiny cat drawings). It was the first “Issue of Curiosity” and when we spotted it while digging through the WD archives for our 100th anniversary last year, the idea of curiosity struck us as a particularly compelling theme. After all, all writers are curious. Whether we’re examining the events of our own lives, or researching a topic for a nonfiction piece, or want to tell a story of an imaginary person, the curiosity behind the questions of how and why something happened or could happen is what drives writers to put pen to paper. That sentiment is echoed throughout this issue. Most often, the…

2 min.

Originally from Florida, CHANEL CLEETON (ChanelCleeton.com) grew up on stories of her family’s exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Richmond, The American International University in London, and a master’s degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Next Year in Havana, When We Left Cuba, and The Last Train to Key West. Her new book, The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba, comes out in May. ESTELLE ERASMUS, an award-winning journalist and writing coach, has…

8 min.
the value of experience: how mentors help writers

In The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury (HarperCollins, 2005), biographer Sam Weller explores at length the legendary fantasy writer’s evolution as a storyteller. It began in earnest after a teenaged Bradbury joined the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society, many of whose members would go on to form the foundation of the genre’s golden age. Bradbury was a neophyte writer struggling to find his voice, and a handful of members, recognizing the budding scribe’s innate talent, agreed to mentor him. Many authors influenced Bradbury as he honed his craft, but the individuals most prominent in his future success as a writer were Robert Heinlein, who helped Bradbury make his first professional magazine sale; short-story master Henry Kuttner, who encouraged Bradbury to stop mimicking his favorite authors, eschew the purple prose,…

6 min.
to write funny, you must think funny

“I can’t write humor because I’m not funny.” The main obstacle to writing humor is the self-assigned label of not being funny. The assessment might be accurate, which would explain why you only have 13 Instagram followers. But the core assumption is wrong. Being funny is a necessity for performing comedy—it’s impossible to fake funny in front of an audience. It’s more accurate to proclaim, “I can’t do comedy because I’m not funny.” Humor writing has a different requisite—creativity. Imagination drives funny, and just about everyone has an imagination. Otherwise, no writer would attempt to write a novel. So, anyone can learn the fundamentals of humor writing. Let’s use a simple brainstorming exercise to illustrate the first step in humor conception. Consider the possible uses of two round barstool cushions. Other than stool cushions,…

3 min.
how sobriety made me a better writer

My last drink was on November 29, 2015. I joined co-workers for after-work drinks at Fanelli’s pub in SoHo. Among typical work-related chats, we also talked about how we moved to New York City to pursue our creative passions. We didn’t have enough time to write or audition or dance or paint because we didn’t have time in our packed schedules with day jobs and trying to stay sane as election year approached and other human-related strife. Several pints later, we parted ways to walk to our respective trains. While I enjoyed my Sunday Funday beer buzz, I was also hyperaware of the fact I had just spent four hours in a pub. Talking about how I don’t have time to write. In those four hours, the sunny afternoon turned into…