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Writer's Digest September/October 2020 Cover Reveal

Get a sneak peek of the September/October 2020 issue of Writer's Digest, featuring an interview with Beverly Jenkins and many other surprises.
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It's that time again! We reveal the cover of our September/October 2020 issue and this cover is extra special. 

I had the great privilege of interviewing novelist Beverly Jenkins for our WD interview. A superstar of the romance genre, her historical romances take place mostly during the Reconstruction era and offer allusions to real people and events often left out of history books. We talked about everything from the trips she takes with readers-turned-friends, to the importance of libraries, to writing love scenes, and much more. However, the pandemic prevented Jenkins from getting a new headshot so we enlisted the skill of cartoonist Bob Eckstein to draw a cover illustration of her likeness. The result is stunning and we offer our thanks to Eckstein for his help with this creative solution. I hope you love it as much as we do.

WD Sept Oct 2020 Cover

Brighter Days Ahead

Another bonus for this issue is it's double-sized! Our theme, “The Future Is …” is open-ended, allowing each of us to consider where our writing fits in this chaotic world. As we put this issue together, it was impossible to ignore the events happening around us. We saw writers struggling to make space for their writing (both emotionally and literally) so we thought it was important to look forward and to remember the power of the written word.

The first way this issue invites you to look to the future is with our annual agent roundup. Here we spotlight 20 agents who are actively open to submissions in a variety of genres. Perhaps your future lies in partnering with one of them. Then, novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Connie Schultz revisits an essay from a 1970 issue of WD called “What Is the Writer’s Social Responsibility?” and offers a contemporary take on the topic. Following Schultz’s moving piece, we were inspired to reconsider what we hope to achieve with our writing. Nina Amir’s article “The Future Is Yours to Create” offers questions for you to ponder as you reflect on your writing journey and personal goals. Our hope is that this collection of articles reminds you that each of us has a unique reason and purpose for writing.

The issue then addresses specific types of writing. David Corbett spoke with eight top crime fiction writers and asked them to predict how the genre will adapt in the face of ever-changing technological advances. How will writers keep readers in suspense? You’ll find out here and might discover an idea for your next novel, crime fiction or not. In the realm of YA writing, teen writer Lorena Koppel-Torres asks other writers in the genre to make smart, deliberate choices about the leading ladies in their stories. And finally, Susan Shapiro offers an unexpected piece of advice for future publishing success: switching genres. Lest you think we’re suggesting you jump on the bandwagon of next hot trend, I’ll tell you now, her approach is far more nuanced than that.

Finally, because this issue is all about the future, I want to take a moment to note what’s coming up. November/December will be our blockbuster 100th anniversary celebration. We’ve been planning this issue for more than a year and have a lot of surprises in store for you including the return of a few WD fan favorites, some retrospectives, the introduction of a new column, and not one but three WD interviews. We can’t wait to share it with you.

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.

Mark Anthony: On Destigmatizing Paranormal Communication

Mark Anthony: On Destigmatizing Paranormal Communication

Author Mark Anthony hopes to educate and normalize paranormal communication with his new spirituality book, The Afterlife Frequency.

Ways Animals Have Interacted With Writers Through the Centuries

Ways Animals Have Interacted With Writers Through the Centuries

Across the globe and spanning lifetimes, animals have always operated as more than simply animals within the stories they reside. Author Richard Girling discusses how animals have interacted with writers throughout the centuries.

Margaret Verble: On Combining Facts and Imagination in Historical Fiction.

Margaret Verble: On Combining Facts and Imagination in Historical Fiction.

Pulitzer Prize-finalist Margaret Verble discusses the process of writing her new historical fiction novel, When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 586

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a scary poem.