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The WriterThe Writer

The Writer December 2018

Since 1887 The Writer has provided the motivation, writing techniques, expert tips and compelling author insights that turn good writing into great writing. We’ll help you become a better writer, find markets for your work, understand the business of writing, follow industry news and trends, reach your goals, and more!

United States
Madavor Media, LLC
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12 Issues


access_time2 min.
past, present, & yet to come

The Writer has the distinction of being the oldest continuously published magazine for writers in the U.S.; in fact, we’re one of the oldest continuously published magazines in America, period. And we’ve seen quite a few changes since founders William H. Hills and Robert Luce banded together in 1887 to launch their “monthly magazine to interest and help all literary workers.” For starters, a one-year subscription cost just one dollar back in the 1880s, though, granted, each issue was only about 18 pages long. Over the years, we gradually added more pages, more color, and more female contributors, although it’s worth noting our first female editor-in-chief, Margaret Gordon, took the helm in 1920. This month brings a few more changes to the title: We’re proud to unveil a brand-new look for…

access_time6 min.
girls like me

Grandma Sullivan told me when I was 8 years old that I couldn’t sing: “Peanut, you can’t carry a tune.” It was my brother’s 10th birthday, and she’d made his favorite angel food cake with the powdered cocoa frosting, the lightest chocolate frosting ever, whipped high with the prettiest peaks. Grandma didn’t whisper or make a big deal; she simply leaned over and told me from that point forward to just mouth the words to “Happy Birthday.” She wanted to save me some future embarrassment. I looked around the table. Everyone was still singing. I wanted to sing too. But even though I was a little girl, I figured why start crying and ruin it for everyone. Maybe Grandma was right: Just pretend to sing. I turned 50 this year. Anyone who tells…

access_time1 min.
writers on writing

Ayobami Adebayo’s debut novel, Stay With Me, was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and received widespread praise, including from literary critic Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times, who called it a “stunning debut novel” that “has a remarkable emotional resonance and depth of field.” Ayobami was born in Lagos, Nigeria, a place that also serves as the setting of her novel, which follows a newlywed couple struggling with infertility. The novel has been published in numerous countries and translated into German, Swedish, Italian, Polish, Turkish, and Hebrew. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNED ABOUT WRITING? Writing is rewriting, and there’s nothing wrong with going through several drafts before having a satisfactory version. In fact, although it can be tedious, rewriting could also be illuminating, even pleasurable. AND…

access_time3 min.
holiday gift guide for writers

TRIM THE TREE WITH PRIDE Whether you need a Yankee Swap gift or a stocking stuffer for your favorite Jane Austen devotee, this ornament filled with clippings from Pride and Prejudice is certain to delight. And fear not, book lovers: Each orb is filled with clippings from otherwise unsalvageable books destined for the dump, so no books were harmed in the making of this ornament. $14.99, amazon.com WARM HANDS, HOT STORY A room of one’s own can get pretty chilly in the winter months. These literary-inspired writing gloves will warm a wordsmith’s hands while still freeing fingers to type. And with a wide range of designs from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to Dracula, it’s easy to find a pair that suits your scribe’s chosen genre. $26, storiarts.com FOR THE FICTION WRITER IN YOUR LIFE This set of…

access_time5 min.
clean copy

We’re all aware of the wellness trend toward clean eating. Gwyneth Paltrow has even promoted the benefits of clean sleeping. But long before these fads came into vogue, there existed a literary virtue known as clean copy. As both a writer and an editor, I’ve been in a position to see each side of the clean-copy coin. As a freelance writer, I have reaped the benefits of being a contributor who produces error-free prose, including a string of new placements and continuing assignments. On the other hand, I’ve personally experienced the editorial frustrations of struggling with raw copy from writers who apparently hadn’t bothered to look at what the magazine publishes – or even to have proofread their own work. Not only is this time consuming for the copy editor and/or proofreader…

access_time6 min.
‘freelance success’ 101

I suspect that some readers skip over this column. The name “Freelance Success” suggests a certain level of experience is required: I mean, how can you have “success” at an endeavor you’ve just started? Here’s the secret. If you get paid for writing something, you’re successful. Even if you’ve decided to pursue freelance writing as a full-time career, you’re successful, because for so many this is a hopeless pipe dream, like teaching our current president the concept of compassion. The only barrier to entry is your willingness to succeed. A writer friend of mine once remarked that freelancing is like swimming in the middle of the ocean: It’s simultaneously liberating and frightening. I agree – with a slight amendment. To start freelancing, you need a raft. So, newcomers, this column is for you.…