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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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5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

Short story writing can be a gateway to writing your novel—but they’re also fun and worthy stories in their own right. Here, author Dallas Woodburn shares 5 ways to use short stories to grow as a writer.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Physician, cartoonist, and author Shirlene Obuobi discusses the writerly advice that led to writing her new coming-of-age novel, On Rotation.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Kimo Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the kimo.

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

Tattoos and their artists can reveal interesting details about your characters and offer historical context. Here, author June Gervais shares 8 things writers should know about tattoos.

Tyler Moss | Reporting Through Lens of Social Justice

Writing Through the Lens of Social Justice

WD Editor-at-Large Tyler Moss makes the case for reporting on issues of social justice in freelance writing—no matter the topic in this article from the July/August 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave clues for people to find them.

Sharon Maas: On Books Finding the Right Time

Sharon Maas: On Books Finding the Right Time

Author Sharon Maas discusses the 20-year process of writing and publishing her new historical fiction novel, The Girl from Jonestown.

6 Steps to Becoming a Good Literary Citizen

6 Steps to Becoming a Good Literary Citizen

While the writing process may be an independent venture, the literary community at large is full of writers who need and want your support as much as you need and want theirs. Here, author Aileen Weintraub shares 6 steps in becoming a good literary citizen.