WD Mag Wednesday

What do you want to see in Writer's Digest magazine?

Dear Promptly prompters, Apologies for the brief disappearing act in April—we’ve been working to finish our July/August issue, start our big September Big 10 issue, develop some exciting new stuff that we’ll hopefully be able to announce here soon, and stay dry in the everlasting Cincinnati monsoon that currently has me awaiting Kevin Costner...

Contest: You won't believe what came in the mail today…

Bring on the romance, horror, romantic horror, lit fiction, thrillers, sci-fi, uppers, downers, fantastical creatures (leprechauns?), cheating husbands, cowboys, cowgirls, astronauts, teachers, students and everything and anything in between—it’s time to once again open WD’s doors for the eclectically awesome submissions to our Your Story competition. For a shot at getting your work published...

What embarrassing moments made you a better writer?

Around the Writer’s Digest office, like everyone, we have our share of embarrassing moments-we’ll-never-speak-of-again-(after-this-blog)-that-taught-us-valuable-lessons-about-this-or-that. For instance, there are the general ones that educated us about the prevention of head-slapping by immediate research when brainstorming: the editor who had “Pittacus Lore” jotted down on a list of potential authors to interview, or the otherwise typically...

5 Ways to Break Into Writer's Digest Magazine

One thing I get asked a lot at conferences and via e-mail is how to write for WD—What’s the best way to break in? Aside from pitching a traditional feature article—and if you’re interested in doing so, check out our submission guidelines here, which I’m in the process of updating this week—there are five...

7 Places to Find Free Money for Your Writing

The new issue of Writer’s Digest has shipped to subscribers, and it’ll be on newsstands soon. It’s an interesting issue for us because in addition to our regular content (including the brilliantly concepted new Top Shelf and 5-Minute Memoir sections…), we tackle a subject in the feature package that’s often a source of confusion...

5-Minute Memoir: Want to have your essay on the writing life appear in WD magazine?

The Writer’s Digest Conference is officially over, and we’re back! (Check out Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents blog for a recap and some of my photos.) Today we’ve got news on something I’m nerdily thrilled about—the new recurring section in the InkWell department of Writer’s Digest magazine: 5-Minute Memoir. Subtitled “Tales From the...

Ferlinghetti: Great writing is anything that gives you a view of reality that you never had before. That's what great writers do

And now—digital drumroll—it’s time for the No. 1 entry in the Top 20 Tips From WD in 2010 series, the quips that branded themselves in my mind when we were creating these magazines throughout the year. Our parting words come from Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the legendary poet and City Lights founder I interviewed last year...

Staying True to Yourself in Publishing

As part of the fun and literary madness of our September 2010 Big 10 issue, we convinced memoirist extraordinaire Wade Rouse to send us a list of his Top 10 Ways to Stay True to Yourself in Publishing. A few of his (hilarious) points make up today’s installment of the Top 20 Tips From...

"As an agent, I turn down 'good enough' ideas every day. The distance between 'good enough' and 'great' may not be huge, but …"

Ever whipped up a half-hearted proposal, or penned a “just-OK” chapter? Here are a few words of advice from former agent Jennifer Lawler, the latest from Promptly’s Top 20 Tips From WD in 2010 series. (A regular prompt follows!) No. 7: Good Enough Vs. Great“After writing for a number of years, I’d occasionally find...

"Do you love every comment your critique partners have made? Do you have to make every change they've suggested?"

Critique groups. Sometimes a source of brilliant feedback, and sometimes, well, a source of literary torture. Once you get your material workshopped and head home, how do you sort through the ink-scrawled suggestions and find some clarity, or at least avoid a brutal internal battle? It’s the latest from Promptly’s Top 20 Tips From...

"Don't let your enthusiasm for your material turn your novel into the literary equivalent of three hours of vacation pictures."

Last Wednesday, I mentioned a newspaper editor I used to have who would whip out his copy hatchet and perform barbaric surgery on all the reporters’ drafts, sometimes reducing my co-workers to tears of frustration—but always producing a better story in the end. We’d grumble and vent about him, question his editing skills, question...

"Cut one word per sentence. This technique is pure magic."

Contrary to any and all writing rules, I have an occasional fondness for rambling, sometimes churning out prose a couple thousand words long, and, yes, even overusing nefarious adjectives and adverbs. So when it comes to cutting or doing serious edits to my longer work, often, I tremble. Still, I’ve gotten better since my...

Literary Pick-Me-Ups: 30 Writing Quotes

To me, they can be like poems—quick, insightful bursts of meaning or humor; encapsulations of small but powerful moments that might help you get through other small but taxing moments in a manuscript, in an article, off the page. Ah, the zen of writing quotes. At the end of this month, I’ll be bringing...

Four Tips for Nabbing Your Book a Blurb

A survey of the stack of books on my desk (which we’ll be giving away Friday), reveals the following: “That incredibly rare breed of book: a guide to grammar and style that is simultaneously smart, engaging and instructive.” —Author Elizabeth Little on It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences...