Culture & Literature
The Writer

The Writer October 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
Read More
R 119,02
R 561,07
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
the haunting season

I read multiple genres all year long, mixing poetry and nonfiction with novels and short stories as I please. The lone exception is October, when I read one genre and one genre alone: Horror. I want books that go bump in the night, leave me terrified to sleep with the lights off, convince me that someone’s lurking in the linen closet. I want prose powerful enough to raise goosebumps on my arm. I want stories that linger long after I’ve closed the covers (or buried under them). Scary movies, horror books, creepy TV shows, I love them all. But when I confess this love to others, I often get the same shuddering reaction: “Oh, I can’t do stuff like that. Too scary.” Which, of course, is a pretty understandable response, right? Who would…

1 min.
the writer contests

Fall into fiction Our annual fall fiction contest is just around the corner. Submit your best short story in 2,000 words or less for your chance to win $1,000 and publication in our magazine. Something wicked this way comes… …On the web, that is. Join us at writermag.com for festive Halloween- and horror-themed content, featuring haunting writing prompts, tips from the archive crypt, advice from horror masters, and more. Literary award season begins Join us on our blog as we share the shortlist for the Carnegie Book Awards, the Man Booker Prize, and other prestigious literary prizes. Will your favorites make the list? STAY IN TOUCH Put our free e-mail newsletter to work: Check out our weekly newsletter, which offers highlights from our website and the magazine and directs you to more articles about craft from The…

8 min.
idea generating machine

I ONCE WROTE TO LIVE. Now I walk to write to live. Those extra words entered my life after my head exploded from a ruptured brain aneurysm. Fourteen hospitalizations, 10 ambulance rides, and four brain surgeries followed. Such an experience – compressed into four nightmare years – forces a complete life reboot. How does New You practice Old Craft? I started on the road. Initially, that pathway involved circles – small round ones – traveled with a walker. White knuckles clasped icy aluminum handlebars. My legs wobbled and trembled as my toes and heels, stuffed inside rubber-soled hospital socks, gripped the wood floor. Behind me trailed a physical therapist, her strong hands clutching the gait belt that encircled my waist. Every morning and afternoon, we exercised like this at the rehabilitation hospital where I relearned how…

1 min.
ask the writer

This comma goes by many names, including the serial comma and the Harvard comma, and is an issue of quite a bit of anxiety for some. (For the purposes of this response, I’ll call it the serial comma.) It’s the comma that comes before the final item in a list of three or more: I packed a deck of cards, pretzels, and three novels. See that comma before “and” toward the end of the sentence? That’s the serial comma. And why so much debate? As long as the sentence is clear, you can use it or not use it at your discretion. As always, there are notable exceptions. If you’re following a style guide, look up the particulars. Chicago Manual of Style advocates for its use, while AP Stylebook recommends skipping it…

1 min.
lord of the bling

1. WALLETS FOR HOBBITS These lovely custom-made leather wallets feature cover designs from the entire Lord of the Rings series, including The Hobbit. $58, etsy.com 2. FROM THE KITCHEN OF SAMWISE GAMGEE “Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew” instructs the fine print of this tuber-themed wall art. $15, amazon.com 3. PRECIOUSSS POP DOLL Guard your jewelry box with this half-adorable, half-terrifying Gollum doll. $9, amazon.com 4. ONE MOLESKINE TO RULE THEM ALL Pen your own epic fantasy with this limited-edition LOTR Moleskine. $20, barnesandnoble.com 5. SECOND COFFEE, SECOND BREAKFAST Woo your beloved with a mug that understands life without second breakfast isn’t a life worth living. $12, amazon.com 6. GREETINGS FROM GANDALF Ever had an unwanted visitor interrupt a writing session? Now Gandalf’s got your back. $33, amazon.com…

6 min.
the doctor is out

Every once in a while, I make the colossal mistake of reading my old diaries. I do it in a circumspect manner: I squint one eye closed, lift the lid of whatever Banker’s Box I’ve chosen with one index finger, turn my head so that I get just a glimpse of the books lined up relatively neatly in their box. I flip through with one hand, still holding the box lid aloft with one finger of the other hand, and choose something with both eyes closed. Then I let the lid float back into place, dislodging dust so that I have to really squinch shut both eyes. I crack open the diary the exact same way: one eye shut; paging through delicately; holding my breath as if I’m about to smell the stinky…