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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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writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Romance Writing Virtual Conference, 6 WDU Courses, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce the Romance Writing Virtual Conference, six WDU courses, and more!

Popular Fantasy Tropes for Writers

21 Popular Fantasy Tropes for Writers

Here are 21 examples of fantasy tropes for writers to consider and subvert when writing fantastical fiction.

Writing Goals and Intentions: 25 Prompts

Writing Goals and Intentions: 25 Prompts

Make this year your most successful writing year ever by considering the following questions to set your goals and intentions.

Is a Personal Essay Considered Journalism?

Is a Personal Essay Considered Journalism?

Journalist Alison Hill answers the question of whether or not the personal essay is considered journalism by defining the genre and offering examples. Plus, outlets for you to publish your own personal essay.

Forth vs. Fourth (Grammar Rules)

Forth vs. Fourth (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use forth vs. fourth in your writing with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Bad Place

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Bad Place

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, make the setting the antagonist.

Gaslighting in Romance: From Jane Eyre to the Present Day (and Why Writers Should Care)

Gaslighting in Romance: From Jane Eyre to the Present Day (and Why Writers Should Care)

Gaslighting can work its way into the backstory of a character, but it can also be misused. Here, author Emma Barry discusses gaslighting in romance.

Brad Taylor: On Real-Life Threats Inspiring Thriller Novels

Brad Taylor: On Real-Life Threats Inspiring Thriller Novels

Author and veteran Brad Taylor discusses the research that led to his new thriller novel, The Devil’s Ransom.

How Roleplaying Helps Our Writing—and Our Marriage

How Role-Playing Helps Our Writing—and Our Marriage

As co-writing partners who fully embody the stories they tell in their writing process, authors Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka share how role-playing helps their writing, and their marriage.