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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Ruth Hogan: On Infusing Personal Interests in Fiction

Ruth Hogan: On Infusing Personal Interests in Fiction

Author Ruth Hogan discusses the process of learning a new skill in writing her new novel, The Moon, The Stars and Madame Burova.

Do You Find an Editor or Agent First?

Do You Find an Editor or Agent First?

It's a common question asked by writers looking to get their first book published: Do you find an editor or agent first? The answer depends on each writer's situation.

writer's digest wd presents

WDU Presents: 7 New WDU Courses, a Chance at Publication, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce seven new WDU courses, a chance at publication, and more!

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

Editor is a very broad term in the publishing industry that can mean a variety of things. Tiffany Yates Martin reveals what a professional editor is and why writers should consider using one.

From Script

How to Find the Right Reader for Feedback, Writing Female Characters and Tapping into Emotionally Authentic Characters (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script Magazine, read film reviews from Tom Stemple, part three of writing female characters, interviews with Free Guy scribes Zak Penn and Matt Lieberman, The Eyes of Tammy Faye screenwriter Abe Sylvia, and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

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 chasing trends in writing and publishing.

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Author Dawn Secord shares her journey toward self-publishing a picture book featuring her Irish Setter named Bling.

Poetic Forms

Crown of Sonnets: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the crown of sonnets, a form that brings together seven sonnets in a special way.

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (and as a Person)

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (And as a Person)

Reflective writing—or journaling—is a helpful practice in helping understand ourselves, and by extensions, the stories we intend to write. Author Jeanne Baker Guy offers 25 ways reflective writing can help you grow as a writer (and as a person).