The Writer

February 2022

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
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
in the balance

I’VE JUST EMERGED, BLEARY-EYED, from one of the most productive creative seasons of my life. My autumn felt positively jam-packed with fruitful writing sessions, and my hard drive now brims with drafts I can’t wait to revise further this winter. Writing those sentences admittedly feels insufferable – who in the year of our lord 2022 is finding more time to write these days, and in a pandemic to boot? But the truth is that all productivity has very real costs, and anyone who tells you differently is lying (your present employer included). What I gained on the page, I paid for in other aspects of my life. I wrote pages and pages this fall, but when I consider how many I read, I start feeling very hot and itchy under my collar. I…

1 min
on not finishing what we start

In our December issue, we asked readers if they agreed with Nancy Pearl’s “Rule of 50,” a guideline that recommends giving up on a book if it still brings the reader no joy or fresh insight after page 50. Many of you wrote in and agreed with the rule: “If your book doesn’t grab the reader in 50 pages, it’s not doing its job,” Lori Hahnel told us on Twitter. Others emphasized knowing when the moment isn’t right to read a particular title. “Some books take time for me; others I know to put down (and maybe pick back up at a later time),” tweeted Korie Beth Brown. In a letter, Susan Batten reminded readers that there’s nothing wrong with deciding a book isn’t for us: “Why is it that…

1 min
love notes

1. “Nothing beats the smell of old books…except you,” reads this sweet illustrated card. $4.50, 2. The library-inspired valentines from BookologyCo come printed in your choice of literary love quotes, including Dune’s “You know it’s love when you want to give joy and damn the consequences.” $5.50, 3. “You are the finest, loveliest, tenderest, and most beautiful person I have ever known – and even that is an understatement” is just one of the literary quotes on the love notes you’ll find at Literary Emporium. $3.38, 4. “In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine,” reads this quote from Maya Angelou on a postcard from Monday Moon Design. $10, 5. These cards from Willowcrest Press are hand-printed and…

5 min
romance writing academy

I HAVE NEVER WRITTEN A ROMANCE novel, or even an amorous short story, and so with some trepidation, I visited the Romance Writing Academy’s pleasing pink website at and logged onto a course titled “The Five Essential Building Blocks of the Romance Novel.” In an engaging video lecture about characterization, founder and instructor Jeanne De Vita explained that successful main characters in romance novels need powerful goals that have nothing to do with falling in love. In her quiz about world-building, I learned that authors of romance/paranormal hybrid novels often keep a “bible” of complicated details about, say, the rules of shape-shifting in their story or the specific conditions under which ghosts emerge in a protagonist’s newly purchased centuries-old house. De Vita’s mother, Sharon, was a career romance author who published…

1 min
calls for submissions

Volney Road Review: Poetry and prose Screenplays, plays, novel excerpts, poems, and fiction and nonfiction stories are welcome for consideration in Volney Road Review’s issue 4.2. Submit by Feb. 1. Lucky Jefferson:‘Gibberish‘ submissions This literary journal seeks poems, essays, flash fiction, art, and hybrid forms for its ninth issue, which has a “Gibberish” theme. Submit by Feb. 13. Run Amok Crime: Crime fiction Run Amok Crime is on the hunt for stories for its upcoming anthology, Jacked: An Anthology of Crime Stories. Submit stories of any length up to 10,000 words by Feb. 15. 3rd Wednesday: Poetry Submit up to three unpublished poems to 3rd Wednesday’s annual poetry contest. Poems that do not win will still be considered for publication in the journal with the author’s permission. Submit by Feb. 15. Fiction International: “Dream” fiction & nonfiction Fiction International’s…

5 min
jokes review

JOKES REVIEW EDITOR PETER CLARKE used to work as a reader for a different literary journal that published a great deal of highbrow content. “I really enjoyed it,” he says, “but we could never publish the pieces I was most interested in because they were just too weird – or maybe they weren’t even good, but they were completely original.” Now, he looks for submissions that are unique and edgy and slightly off the deep end. “Maybe it falls short of some literary merit, but it’s got a strong voice that calls to me,” Clarke says. “That’s what I want to publish.” No topic is off limits in this five-year-old digital and print publication, based in Northern California. On the website, editors list their preferences, including: “outsider art, urban legends, rants, rogue…