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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.

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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Tailer vs. Tailor vs. Taylor (Grammar Rules)

Tailer vs. Tailor vs. Taylor (Grammar Rules)

Let's look at the differences between tailer, tailor, and Taylor with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Advice on Writing Characters From a Psychologist

Advice on Writing Characters From a Psychologist

Go deeper into the minds of your characters where motivation lives with this advice on writing characters from psychologist and author Rebecca Alexander.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Truth Denial

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Truth Denial

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character (or characters) deny the objective truth.

4 Questions To Ask When Writing Romantic Scenes

4 Questions To Ask When Writing Romantic Scenes

Whether you’re writing a romance novel or simply a romantic moment in your story, M.M. Crane poses 4 questions to ask yourself when writing romantic scenes.

Ben Acker: On Writing Scary Stories for Middle-Grade Readers

Ben Acker: On Writing Scary Stories for Middle-Grade Readers

Ben Acker discusses the joy of reading scary stories growing up that led him to write his new middle-grade horror collection, Stories to Keep You Alive Despite Vampires.

How Freelance Writers Are Using TikTok to Find Success

How Freelance Writers Are Using TikTok to Find Success

TikTok is one of the hotter social media platforms, but it's more than just BookTok. Author C. Hope Clark shares how freelance writers are using TikTok to find success.

Shanterra McBride and Rosalind Wiseman: On Trusting Each Other in the Co-Writing Process

Shanterra McBride and Rosalind Wiseman: On Trusting Each Other in the Co-Writing Process

Authors Shanterra McBride and Rosalind Wiseman discuss the experience of going from friends to writing partner with their new nonfiction book, Courageous Discomfort.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 628

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 reflection poem.

Writer’s Digest Official Book Club Selection: The Weight of Blood

Writer’s Digest Official Book Club Selection: The Weight of Blood

The editors of Writer’s Digest are proud to announce the next book club selection, The Weight of Blood, by New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson.