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The WriterThe Writer

The Writer September 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_time1 min.
from the editor

Confession: Sometimes I ask family members for permission before I start a particularly delicious novel. I’d like to think I’m a marginally responsible human being. I meet deadlines. I pay bills on time. I try to return favors, listen closely, and be a supportive partner, friend, and coworker. But all of that goes right out the window when I’m reading a novel. I’m instantly sucked into a vortex of the novelist’s making; reality need not apply here. Go ahead, ask me the same question six times. It’s not that I’m ignoring you; it’s that I’m trapped in novel-land and haven’t heard a word you’ve said. Invite me to dinner and I’ll politely decline – Sorry, Patricia, but I’ve got a date with Jane Austen tonight. And suggest I come to bed?…

access_time9 min.
feet in two boats

“I’ve always known what I'm meant to do. The path of my life has been about discovering what I need to do to support myself as a writer.”—Ottessa Moshfegh IN THE HANDS of every writer lie two facts – one, the sheer certainty that in the writer’s head exists a peapod in lieu of a brain, and second, the firm conviction that they are the sharpest mind who ever picked up a pen. This balancing act boggles the mind, especially when the writer throws in another ball to juggle – that of the day job. At the dawn of the internet era, I was a sprightly twentysomething girl-woman wandering the aisles of the New Delhi World Book Fair held in Pragati Maidan. One of the world’s largest book fairs, it hosted crowds who…

access_time2 min.
writers on writing

J. Ryan Stradal is a Los Angeles-based writer. His debut novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, released in 2015, was a New York Times bestseller and won awards including the American Booksellers Association Indies Choice Book of the Year Award and the 2016 Midwest Booksellers Choice Award; it was also named the year’s top novel by the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association. His short-form writing and journalism have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Granta, The Guardian, and numerous others. Stradal has also written for television networks such as VH1, MTV, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNED ABOUT WRITING? This sounds terribly simple, but proceeding from a place of asking questions as opposed to stating arguments; letting what I don’t know guide me…

access_time1 min.
time & place

“A novel is a work of poetry. In order to write it, one must have tranquility of spirit and of impression.”—Fyodor Dostoevsky DATE YOUR NOVEL Obviously, this oversized chalkboard calendar is ideal for busy freelancers juggling multiple assignments. But we think it’s also the perfect tool for a novelist plotting out the timeline of a murder, cat-and-mouse chase, or whirlwind romance. $69, wayfair.com WORD POWER Words are a writer’s weapon, and your armory is only as strong as your current vocabulary. Increase your arsenal with this educational word-a-day calendar. $14.99, calendars.com INSPIRATION + ORGANIZATION Why stick with a plain-Jane planner when you could have a notebook, workbook, calendar, and coloring book in one? Designed especially for writers, this planner spans two years and includes illustrations, writing advice, and more than 300 quotes for wordsmiths. $11, barnesandnoble.com ANALOG ARRANGEMENT Battle deadlines and…

access_time7 min.
the writer speaks

“You want to know what I think and feel? Read my book!” Writers have long been perceived as introverts. It’s a helpful trait for someone who typically spends many hours alone in a room, dreaming, researching, planning, writing, and rewriting. Even those who prefer writing in cafes often don’t want to interact with people beyond saying yes to another cup of coffee. The people are a backdrop, the white-noise hum of humanity against which our interior dramas make their way to the page. There are exceptions, of course, those who can switch from hermit creator to talk show darling with – seemingly – little effort. But often, says Meghan Tifft in her The Atlantic article, “An Introverted Writer’s Lament,” “We bully ourselves into it. We dose ourselves with beta blockers. We…

access_time5 min.
what a writer should do

Last year, I wrote a column for this magazine about the question I dread being asked: “What do you do?” It’s an innocuous question that requires me to frame a rewarding, complicated job so that I’m viewed as contributing member of society and not a lump with an eccentric hobby. Inherent in my answer is a fear that I didn’t explain. It lurks as soon the word “writer” leaves my lips. If I’m unlucky, someone in the listening party nods solemnly, straightens up, and announces with brio a phrase that makes me want to dive behind the host’s couch. “You know what you should do…” Do masons get told to build fireplaces because the housing market is a sure thing? (“You know, all those HGTV shows have beautiful fireplaces. You could…