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Writer's Digest March/April 2021 Issue Reveal

The March/April 2021 issue of Writer's Digest is showing up in mailboxes and will soon be available at retailers. Get a sneak peek of the new columns we're introducing with the expanded page count!
Writer's Digest March/April 2021 Cover featuring Carmen Maria Machado

Writer’s Digest gets bigger, better, and more personal in the March/April 2021 issue! We’re unveiling our new expanded look (92 pages!) and a collection of new columns aimed to ensure writers of all levels and genres learn something to help them with their craft. In this issue, our features span intimate topics from how to make the most of your writing habits to writing about your own life with no judgment to advice for writing the most personal of all fictional scenes: the sex scene. This issue includes:

New Column Alert: Level Up Your Writing (Life)—In this new two-page column by novelist Sharon Short (aka Jess Montgomery), she gives fiction and creative nonfiction writers of all levels—from just starting to already published—the tips and tools they need to take both their creative writing skills and personal attitudes and aspirations to the next, best level. By Sharon Short

New Column Alert: All About the Pitch—This two-page column by award-winning writing coach and editor Estelle Erasmus will feature a mini interview with an editor from a different publication each issue focusing on their advice for perfecting a pitch. Erasmus will then annotate an actual pitch (or two) in each issue that landed a writer a gig at that publication so you can see what worked. By Estelle Erasmus

New Column Alert: WD101—Written by a different contributor each issue, this new column will be true 101 helpful advice about writing business basics for both beginning writers just starting out, or established writers who need a refresher. This issue features Jeff Somers on how to set your freelancing rates. By Jeff Somers

New Column Alert: MFA Workbook—Previously “Writer’s Workbook,” this column will have a similar goal of providing practical writing exercises, but will now come from MFA candidates and professors who can showcase how their program has helped them—and can help our readers. In the inaugural article, Sophie Newman shares how experimenting with genres outside of the focus of her MFA studies at The Ohio State University expanded her writing skills and offers suggestions for how you can apply that premise to your own writing. By Sophie Newman

Expanded Column Alert: Now two pages, IndieLab will have more space to delve deeper into topics that are critical for self-published authors to understand. In this issue, hybrid author superstar L. Penelope breaks down the many distribution/sales options indie authors have to choose from and the benefits of each. By L. Penelope

+ The Art of Multi-Author Events—Author events have taken on a different style in the era of COVID-19 focusing on virtual events with more than one author. Jessica Strawser explains how this multi-author format offers a more intimate, personal experience for readers and how authors can make the most of it. By Jessica Strawser

+ The Words and the Bees—Writing sex scenes can be some of the most challenging and awkward writing authors can do, so much so there’s an annual award given for writing the worst sex scene in literary fiction. Griffin Suber analyzes what can go wrong and how to get right the most personal of all scenes a writer can include in their work. By Griffin Suber

+ No Judgment—When writing about one’s own life in either a memoir or personal essay, many writers focus on the hard times because they make for a better story. But that also opens up wounds of the past. William Kenower offers advice and instruction for preventing self-judgment of past decisions by separating yourself the author from yourself the character. By William Kenower

+ Four Authors on Writing Their Life Story—In this mini-roundup, Sharon McDonnell breaks down what makes four recent bestselling memoirs (including Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran and Heavy by Kiese Laymon) so successful and how you can learn from them. By Sharon McDonnell

+ Legal Considerations for Writing Memoirs—Attorney and former WD “Ask the Lawyer” columnist Amy Cook takes a deep dive into potential legal risks for memoirists, and offers suggestions for how to mitigate them. Topics include defamation, invasion of privacy, right of publicity, and more. By Amy Cook

+ The Time and Energy Game: Maximizing Your Inner ROI—How we spend our time and energy directly affects our drive, optimism, zest and that directly affects our writing. Elizabeth Sims offers tangible, easy-to-implement ways to minimize the time and energy you spend on tasks that take you away from the more fulfilling parts of your writing life. By Elizabeth Sims

+The WD Interview: Carmen Maria Machado—Short story writer and memoirist Carmen Maria Machado spoke with WD Managing Editor Cassandra Lipp about Her Body and Other Parties, In the Dream House, and more in this wide-ranging interview. By Cassandra Lipp

+ WD Self-Published Book Awards Announcement—Featuring a profile of the grand prize winner and a complete list of winners and finalists.

Plus, readers will find a profile of Adam Hargreaves, illustrator and son of the creator of the popular Mr. Men/Little Miss children’s book series as they celebrate their 50th anniversary and essayist Sari Botton shares her thoughts in the Writers on Writing column. This issue also includes the latest regular columns Publishing Insights, from Robert Lee Brewer, on hot writing markets, Take Two on screenwriting, Conference Scene, Poetic Asides, Meet the Agent, Funny You Should Ask, Breaking In, and more.

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5 Things I Learned About Writing From Watching Soap Operas

5 Things I Learned About Writing From Watching Soap Operas

Lessons in writing can come from various forms of art or entertainment. Author Alverne Ball shares 5 things he learned about writing from watching soap operas.

From Script

Writing from an Intimate Point of View and Adding Essential Elements to Solidify Your Screenplay (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, TV writer Kate Sargeant shares a first-hand look on her new digital series that was a life-changing experience. Plus an interview with filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve, a new installment from ‘Ask the Coach’ and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Collecting Advice but Never Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Collecting Advice (but Never Writing)

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's mistake is to collect writing advice at the expense of actually writing.

The Benefits of a Book Coach for Writers

The Benefits of Having a Book Coach for Writers

What is a book coach? How could they help authors? Award-winning author and writing instructor Mark Spencer answers these questions and more in this post about the benefits of having a book coach for writers.

Clare Chambers: On Starting Fresh and Switching Gears

Clare Chambers: On Starting Fresh and Switching Gears

Award-winning author Clare Chambers discusses the fear and excitement of switching genre gears in her new historical fiction novel, Small Pleasures.

Poetic Forms

Exquisite Corpse: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the exquisite corpse (or exquisite cadaver), a collaborative poem that would make a fun poetic game.

How Opening Ourselves to Other People Can Make Us Better Writers

How Opening Ourselves to Other People Can Make Us Better Writers

The writing process is both individual and communal, as receiving constructive feedback and outside encouragement helps our drafts become finished manuscripts. Author Peri Chickering discusses how opening ourselves up to others can make us better writers.

What Forensic Science’s Godmother Taught Me About Writing Mysteries

What Forensic Science’s Godmother Taught Me About Writing Mysteries

Stephanie Kane discusses the impact of Frances Glessner Lee, the godmother of forensic science, and her crime scene dioramas on writing mysteries.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Still Alive

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Still Alive

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, reveal that a character who was thought deceased is actually still among the living.