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Writer's Digest September/October 2021 Cover Reveal

Get a sneak peek of the Sept/Oct 2021 issue of Writer's Digest featuring our Annual Literary Agent Roundup and an interview with National Book Award-winner Elizabeth Acevedo.
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Standout Storytelling is the lifeblood of most creative writing, from short stories and poetry to novels and memoirs, and it’s the theme of our September/October 2021 issue. We’ve curated a selection of features and articles to inform and inspire writers of all types on their quest to write better and share their stories.

Writer's Digest September/October 2021 Cover Reveal

Purchase the PDF of this issue from the Writer's Digest Shop. 

+ Annual Agent Roundup: Each fall, in one of our most popular recurring features, we highlight a collection of literary agents looking for standout stories and writers to sign. Here, we feature 20+ agents, the kind of books they want, and the best ways to query them. By Cassandra Lipp

+ The Art of Revealing Backstory: Every character in your novel has a backstory. But choosing how to reveal that backstory can make or break the way readers see the main story. Agatha Award-winning author Jane K. Cleland offers advice for using backstory to propel your page-turner forward. By Jane K. Cleland

+ How to Plot a Sci-Fi Novel: Sci-fi author Sam Boush talked with international bestsellers Aliette de Bodard, Andy Weir, Christina Dalcher, Douglas E. Richards, John Scalzi, Karen Lord, Ken Liu, Mary Robinette Kowal, Mike Chen, Pierce Brown, Tobias Buckell, and V.E. Schwab on how to plot a science fiction novel. By Sam Boush

+ Memoir as Detective Novel: The hardest part of writing a memoir is finding the right part of the story to focus on. Memoirist and contributing editor Lilly Dancyger offers advice for treating your memoir research and writing like a detective novel to the benefit of both you and your reader. By Lilly Dancyger

+ 10 Reasons to Write 100-Word Stories: Short stories, flash, and micro-fiction are seeing a marked increase in popularity in both traditional and self-publishing spaces. Inaugural Indie Author of the Year-award winner Ran Walker shares 10 reasons why writing 100-word micro-fiction stories can help all writers boost their creativity and become better storytellers. By Ran Walker

+ The WD Interview: Elizabeth Acevedo: Multiple award-winning and bestselling young adult novelist of The Poet X, With the Fire on High, and Clap When You Land Elizabeth Acevedo talks with WD about writing books in verse, using to pen her first novel, and much more in this wide-ranging interview. By Amy Jones

+ Writers on Writing: Anna-Marie McLemore, author of Dark and Deepest Red and When the Moon Was Ours, shares their thoughts on incorporating magical elements into their stories. By Anna-Marie McLemore

+ The Winner of the WD Short Short Story Awards: Congratulations to Jaclyn Lubinski for winning the 21st WD Short Short Story Awards! Here we print her story, “The Night Moon Cries” and the full list of finalists. (You can also read the story now!)

This issue also includes articles on how self-published authors can get book-review traction for their writing, how to avoid contractual disagreements with publishers, and a special bonus interview with children’s author Jane Yolen, author of more than 400 books.

Plus the latest columns: Publishing Insights from Robert Lee Brewer on hot writing markets, Take Two on screenwriting with the new editor of Script, Sadie Dean, Conference Scene, Level Up Your Writing (Life), All About the Pitch, Meet the Agent, Funny You Should Ask, Breaking In, and more.

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writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: 6 New WDU Courses, An Upcoming Webinar, a Competition Deadline, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce 6 new WDU Courses, an upcoming webinar, a competition deadline, and more!

Working With a Nonfiction Book Publisher Throughout the Process

Working With a Nonfiction Book Publisher Throughout the Process

A publisher accepting your manuscript is just the beginning, not the end. Author Rick Lauber discusses how to work with a nonfiction book publisher from query letter to release date and beyond.

From Script

Writing Empowered Superheroes in CWs Supergirl and Understanding Animation From the Trenches (From Script)

In this week’s round-up brought to us by Script Magazine, story editor Katiedid “Did” Langrock speaks with Reckless Creatives podcast. Plus, one-on-one interview with CWs Supergirl actress turned scribe Azie Tesfai about her groundbreaking episode and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: The Characterless Character

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: The Characterless Character

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 writing mistake is writing a characterless character.

When Is My Novel Ready to Read: 7 Self-Editing Processes for Writers

When Is My Novel Ready to Read: 7 Self-Editing Processes for Writers

Fiction editor and author Kris Spisak ties together her seven processes for self-editing novels, including editorial road-mapping, character differentiation analysis, reverse editing, and more.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Unold Crwca: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn unold crwca, a Welsh quatrain form.

5 Things for Writers to Keep in Mind When Writing About Spies

5 Things for Writers to Keep in Mind When Writing About Spies

A spy thriller requires more than a compelling story and clever plot twists—the characters need to feel real. Author Stephanie Marie Thornton offers 5 tips for constructing believable spy characters.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Team Up

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Team Up

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's time for a little unexpected team work.

Taylor Anderson: On Creating Realism in the Weird

Taylor Anderson: On Creating Realism in the Weird

New York Times bestselling author Taylor Anderson discusses the process of writing his new science fiction novel, Purgatory's Shore.