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The Writer

The Writer July 2020

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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!

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United States
Madavor Media, LLC
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
from the editor

Finding the words I don’t know about you, but “emotional roller coaster” doesn’t begin to describe my mental state this spring. Any mood ring I wore would look like a strobe light, flashing and changing to a different color by the minute. Fury! Desolation! Hopelessness! Disgust! Determination! Fury again! Hopefulness! Shock! Dismay! Fury again! The smallest of things caused seismic emotional shifts: A new headline? Despair. Finding toilet paper on shelves? Joy. A press conference? Revulsion. Seeing family members flaunt breaking shelter-in-place orders? Rage. And how grateful, how utterly relieved I am to have language to describe these feelings as I struggle to process them. Because emotions are rarely just one thing, you know? That rage I felt wasn’t just anger but also hurt, disbelief, betrayal, and fear. And every day, I list…

1 min.
this month on writermag.com

Announcing The Writer’s Critique Service Want professional feedback on your writing? We can help! Whether you’re working on a novel, a short story, an essay, or a memoir, our critique service will help you identify where your draft sparkles and where it needs a bit more polishing. Learn more about this brand-new service at writermag.com/critique-service. A flash on the horizon Our annual Summer Flash Contest is almost here! Submit your best work of flash fiction or nonfiction for your chance to win $1,000 and publication in our magazine. The catch? We’re only accepting work under 1,000 words. This contest will go live in the next few weeks, so watch writermag.com/contests for more information. Heat up your writing practice Summer’s the perfect time to break out of your tried-and-true genre and play around with something new.…

3 min.
essential questions for revision

Congratulations: You made it through the draft of your story or novel! Then you put it aside for a few weeks or months, to give yourself some distance before revising. Great. Now you’ve taken it back out, read it through, and made some notes, and you’re ready to dig in on revisions – real revisions, not just surface changes. Excellent! Here are some questions to ask yourself, the answers to which will guide your way. Why did I write this? No, really – what fundamental, underlying questions, tensions, fears, or emotions did you wish to explore when you set out to write this story? What others arose in you along the way? I’m not asking about the plot or what problems your characters face – I’m asking what brought you to…

2 min.
hear, hear audiobooks with full casts

The Testaments BY MARGARET ATWOOD The audiobook version of The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, features Ann Dowd playing Aunt Lydia, the same character she portrays in The Handmaid’s Tale series on Hulu. Other cast members include Mae Whitman, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Atwood. Daisy Jones & The Six BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestselling novel Daisy Jones & The Six is a no-brainer for a full-cast audiobook: The book is told entirely in dialogue, as a mock oral history of a now-split ‘70s rock band. Jennifer Beals, Judy Greer, and Benjamin Bratt are just a few of the cast members. World War Z BY MAX BROOKS Max Brooks’ World War Z – yes, the inspiration for the film starring Brad Pitt – is another mock oral history, this time told from…

2 min.

Even outside famed improv theater troupes like The Second City, The Groundlings, or the Upright Citizens Brigade, actors use improvisational exercises and games to expand their understanding of a character or to loosen up before a performance. But why should actors have all the fun? In Improv for Writers, Jorjeana Marie – a playwright, screenwriter, voiceover actress, and improv instructor – shows how writers can also use improv exercises to improve their craft. “Improvisation is a baring of the soul. The good news is that I’m going to share it with you in a way that doesn’t require your going onstage and doing cartwheels, pantomiming making waffles, or pretending you’re a pickle manufacturer,” Marie promises. Instead, Marie offers dozens of spins on improv games both classic and new to spur a writer’s…

6 min.
clearing the clutter

Friends, it has been some spring. As I write to you, we’re in the thick of self-isolation for coronavirus in many states: the state I live in, California, is in week four. My husband, like so many others, is working from home. And creatives everywhere, I think, are struggling with what kind of work we should be producing. We are all wondering if we shouldn’t be doing more, if this thing we’ve been told by a lot of people is a leisure activity “counts” in this time of great global need. I have already mentioned in a post at my website that I believe our work matters at a time like this: we need to be able to express, through art, how we’re feeling and what we’re doing more than ever.…