Culture & Literature
The Writer

The Writer August 2019

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

in this issue

2 min.
sharing the spotlight

When we write creative nonfiction about our lives, we immediately take center stage in the narrative. We must feel confident and comfortable in that role. After all, it’s our experiences, our memories, our confessions that propel the story forward; shyness need not apply here. Yet the problem with being “onstage on the page” is that it can be far too easy to forget your audience when you’re standing up there, blinded by the bright lights. When a narrative is so author-centric that it fails to provide any takeaway for the reader, the writer transforms from the star in the spotlight to the bore who cornered you at a party. Without room to contribute to the conversation, the audience fidgets, loses interest, and looks for any excuse to leave. Because that’s the secret…

1 min.
2019 summer flash contest

Gone in a flash Our summer flash contest asks for your best piece of writing (fiction or nonfiction) in less than 1,000 words. But the word count isn’t the only thing that’s short – writers have just six weeks to enter their work to be considered. Submit your best short-short stories and essays by Aug. 15 for your chance to win. Never miss a post from The Writer Our weekly newsletter showcases the best of writermag.com – including exclusive digital-only content you can’t find in print. Don’t miss a writing beat: Sign up for our e-newsletter today, and you’ll always be in the know. Let us know what you think Help us make The Writer better: We’re hosting a reader survey to find out what you most want to read in our pages. Find the…

8 min.
what i wish i’d known

“When it comes to memoir, we want to catch the author in a lie. When we read fiction, we want to catch the author telling the truth.”—Tayari Jones I wish I’d known a writer can fix anything but a blank page. I wish I’d known the best writing comes from the gut and not from the head. I wish I’d known that, to find your voice, you have to write every day, read every day, and get out of your comfort zone. Find a different route to the market. Find a different market. Walk a new street. Visit a new city. I wish I’d known that all those people who say you have to write a million words before you can call yourself a writer are wrong. It’s closer to 2 or 3 million…

1 min.
memory jogs

Write about… • The first snowfall you can remember• A memorable birthday dinner or cake• A moment when you realized your parents were human, not gods• One of the first times you stood up for yourself• Your favorite (or least-favorite) Independence Day• The worst road trip of your life• A time when you received an unexpected gift• The first time you ate a dish or cuisine you never ate at home• A fight with one of your friends• Your favorite memory involving water (lakes, oceans, pools, sprinklers…)• A toy you fiercely wanted• Your most memorable first day of school• An album you were obsessed with• An outfit you loved but your family (or friends) hated• An especially bad haircut• A time you got lost (or felt lost)• A vivid memory involving…

1 min.
summer reading for the memoirist

“In a memoir, feelings are more important than facts, and to write honestly, I have to confront my demons.”—Isabel Allende The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr Legendary memoirist Mary Karr – author of best-selling books The Liars’ Club, Cherry, and Lit – shares what she’s learned in 30-plus years of teaching and writing the form with her signature wit and brutal honesty. Writing the Memoir by Judith Barrington Originally published in 1997 and now in its second edition, award-winning memoirist Judith Barrington’s book is a classic for a reason: From legal issues and ethics to voice and memory selection, Barrington covers it all – and provides a wealth of helpful writing prompts in the process. Let it Bleed: How to Write a Rockin’ Memoir by Pamela Des Barres Pamela Des Barres, best-selling author of I’m…

6 min.
1,000 words

I get lost in the writing weeds regularly. I have a lot of ideas, and that creates a certain amount of paralysis. I’ve tried many different techniques to shake this paralysis, but there’s really only one tried and true solution for me: I go look at some pieces of visual art. I do this for a few reasons: First, it usually gets me out of the house; second, it gives me a reprieve from thinking too much about what’s happening in the story I’m trying to write; third, it allows me to immerse myself in the story of what’s happening in the painting. What I’m referring to is the magic of ekphrasis. ••• Aside from the fact that I’ve just this morning learned I’ve been mispronouncing the thing my whole life (it’s EK-phrasis, not…