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185 Writing Quotes From Writer's Digest Magazine in 2021

Here are 185 quotes from writers, editors, agents, and other publishing professionals taken directly from Writer's Digest issues published in 2021.

The nice thing about the turn from one year to the next is that it's an opportunity to slow down and consider what happened before even as we look forward to what is yet to come. As someone who is constantly moving on to the next project, I admit that I've traditionally been bad about focusing more on the road ahead and less on the road behind.

(Subscribe to future issues of Writer's Digest here.)

So I recently took some time to re-read all the Writer's Digest magazine issues of 2021, and it was an incredible experience. There's so much advice packed into each issue, but reading them all at once just compounds the advice and reminds me of lessons I'd already learned earlier in the year.

Anyway, I wanted to share my experience a little bit by highlighting some quotes from writers, editors, agents, and other publishing professionals. When you get a moment, try reading through all the issues as well and look forward to more great advice in 2022!

Writer's Digest cover January/February 2021

January/February 2021: New Year, New Perspectives

"Empty space is helpful." —Yangsze Choo from "Yangsze Choo: Memories of Malaya"

"If you don't quit, you will succeed." —Don Vaughan from "The Seven Pillars of Freelance Success"

"While I continue to write with specific ideas in mind, I am accepting that it's not always possible to know what will stick with my readers." —Peace Adzo Medie from "Discovering the Humor in My Novel"

Rachel Menard

"There is no rule that says you have to stop promoting your book because everyone else has, or it didn't have a strong first week of sales, or it only got two reviews. None of that matters." —Rachel Menard from "IndieLab"

"Give us your characters, the conflict, and sink it with a great line that makes me want to read more." —Zabé Ellor from "Meet the Agent"

"I wish I'd written more and worried less."  —Meg LaTorre from "Breaking In"

Nancy Johnson

"Our work can open hearts and minds, build empathy, and spark meaningful conversations. What we create on the page can change the world." —Nancy Johnson from "Breaking In"

"Don't live or write in a bubble. My creativity is fueled when I talk with other creative people." —Melissa Croce from "Breaking In"

"Without enough scene variation, your writing can feel sluggish, even when the actual scene is describing important character epiphanies or intense battle sequences." —Diana M. Pho from "A New View"

"All the experts agree that the best deals to be found outside of the U.S. are in the German and U.K. markets, and Europe in general, where book buying is still a booming business." —Jordan Rosenfeld from "Foreign Rights Sales"

"Agents spend about 90 percent of their time pitching." —Sam Hiyate from "Foreign Rights Sales"

"When you see your cover in a foreign language, it's so exciting to see what they came up with. I was dancing on the ceiling." —Stacey Marie Brown from "Foreign Rights Sales"

"Translations are a delicate art." —Griffin Suber from "Finding the Words"

"Part of the attraction of freelance work is the freedom—the ability to be your own boss, make your own hours, and fire clients at will. But when you have a client that makes up 40, 50, or 60 percent of your income, how can you possibly ever say no to that client?" —Jeff Somers from "Losing the Big One"

"The first sentence has to have a solid punch." —Steve Berry from "Twisty Business"

"Setting is crucial in providing those heart-stopping moments that come when a reader leaves the safety of her own home and enters the book." —Sam Boush from "Twisty Business"

"Nobody is perfect, in fiction or real life, and people with problems tend to be more interesting to read and write about." —Alice Feeney from "Twisty Business"

"These people aren't trying to save the world, or prevent an assassination, or win a war. They're fighting for their careers, their marriages, their kids, their lives. These are predicaments we can all relate to, stakes we can imagine as our own, triumphs we can share." —Chris Pavone from "Twisty Business"

"Figure out what your characters love and need and want, and then methodically take it all away from them." —Blake Crouch from "Twisty Business"

"I love it when an author plants a question in my mind and keeps me guessing about the answer. ... As a writer, I try to lead my readers through the narrative with the same sense of intrigue." —Ruth Ware from "Twisty Business"

"A good twist should never leave the readers feeling tricked." —Simon Gervais from "Twisty Business"

Megan Miranda

"A satisfying ending is not only about that final moment, but the journey to get there." —Megan Miranda from "Twisty Business"

"Twenty years of rejection and misery and isolation was a terrible experience. But on the positive side of that, I came out focused on the writing, thinking that the writing was what mattered." —Viet Thanh Nguyen from "The WD Interview: Viet Thanh Nguyen"

"I can never say it enough, but the query can be broken down into: the hook, the book, and the cook." —Barbara Poelle from "Funny You Should Ask"

"Don't rush the inciting incident." —Jeanne Veillette Bowerman from "Take Two"

"If you have a seemingly brilliant idea for a book, knowing that there is an audience for it and who that audience is can not only provide motivation for you to continue writing, but it can also help you organize your book." —Amy Jones from "Notes From the Margins"

"I've had so many people tell me over the years that I didn't have the qualities needed to be a writer. All of my writer friends and I have one thing in common: We didn't listen to the naysayers. We kept writing. And eventually we have all been published." —Devi S. Laskar from "Four Reasons Why This Can Be Your Year to Find Publishing Success"

"Believing in your own voice and your own story is incredibly important for finding success as a writer." —Robert Lee Brewer from "Four Reasons Why This Can Be Your Year to Find Publishing Success"

"Your readers are out there. You just have to believe and work like hell and never, ever give up. Especially not on yourself. You have to be your story's greatest champion." —Jennifer Givhan from "Four Reasons Why This Can Be Your Year to Find Publishing Success"

"Whether you consider yourself a newbie or seasoned writing professional, it's important to note that relationships should always have a reciprocal element." —Kristy Stevenson from "Building Community"

(Get the January/February 2021 issue of Writer's Digest here.)

Writer's Digest cover March/April 2021

March/April 2021: Getting Personal

"In terms of writing the story, for me it's about having fun with the topic." —Adam Hargreaves from "Mr. Successful"

"Being a columnist gives you smooth sailing on the choppy seas of freelance journalism." —Frank Hyman from "Columns: The Pillars of Every Periodical"

"I stared at the headline on my computer screen, my face flush with embarrassment. It was still dark outside in the predawn of March 29, 2013, the day when my dreams of becoming a well-known writer came true. Indeed, by the time the sun came up, my work had reached millions. And I couldn't stop crying." —Barbara Neal Varma from "Anonymous Fame"

"The more I suffered through writing about my experiences—re-triggering myself at every turn—the more I realized that, at least at the moment, I don't want to tell some of those stories. I've always felt as if I was compelled to. Now I'm fairly certain I'm not." —Sari Botton from "Writers on Writing"

"Know the market, know which books are compatible or comparable with yours, and state the case convincingly for 'why' yours." —Lisa DiMona from "Meet the Agent"

"I like to imagine my inner critics as mini-ogres, with sour faces, crossed arms, and goofy hats labeled 'fear,' 'doubt,' and 'meanness.'" —Sharon Short from "Character Motivation"

"With my self-published books, I use an aggregator to simply my record keeping and my life." —L. Penelope from "IndieLab"

"Here's a quick thought experiment: You're offered two writing jobs. Job A pays a dollar a word. Job B pays ten cents a word. Which should you take? Whatever answer you gave is wrong, because you don't have enough information." —Jeff Somers from "The Matrix: How to Determine Your Worth as a Freelancer"

"There's a difference between being a great writer and a great storyteller. Reading helps with both, but craft books and methodology will really help with the latter." —Ciannon Smart from "Breaking In"

"Historical fiction requires extensive research, and the support of a copy editor is heaven." —Denny S. Bryce from "Breaking In"

"Be nice to yourself. Celebrate the writing you do. But if you're stuck or can't write, who cares? Take breaks to pay attention to the things around you—that's part of the work. You'll write when it's time. You're still a writer, even if you're not writing." —Lisa Summe from "Breaking In"

"Everything that happens to us, every failure and success, every kiss we give or receive, every meal we eat, every trip we take, is potential material." —William Kenower from "Author vs. Character"

"Isn't writing your memoir just like writing an extended version of your diary? Actually, it isn't." —Sharon McDonnell from "Writing Your Memoir"

"Defamation is an umbrella term for libel (written defamation) and slander (oral). Defamation is a false statement of fact that injures a person's reputation." —Amy Cook from "About Us"

"Sex is generally a private encounter. We're literally naked and we're doing things we don't generally do with an audience. In some cultures, we're even taught to not talk about it or even not do it. Those are the practical reasons why it's such a hard thing to write about." —Elizabeth Benedict from "The Words and the Bees"

"Physical order can promote mental and spiritual order. An uncluttered space is an invitation, like a fresh notebook." —Elizabeth Sims from "The Time and Energy Game"

"In the virtual space, fun matters more than ever." —Jessica Strawser from "The Art of the Multi-Author Event"

"I decided I wanted to do events with an eclectic group of writers I like and admire, from mega-bestselling commercial authors to literary superstars. I knew they'd be a draw for my audience and that we'd have lots to talk about. And we did." —Christina Baker Kline from "The Art of the Multi-Author Event"

"A reader may come to hear or see one author and then end up trying out books by all the other authors. I think that happens a lot." —David Bell from "The Art of the Multi-Author Event"

"Every genre offers different ways of untangling bits of the human experience. Horror is good at figuring out, what are we afraid of? And a good horror story, regardless of how it does it, gets at the heart of some fear or anxiety that we have, or that people have." —Carmen Maria Machado from "The WD Interview: Carmen Maria Machado"

"Trends, generally speaking, are usually ignited in two specific beats on a publishing timeline: When a novel is shopped and at point of publication." —Barbara Poelle from "Funny You Should Ask"

"There are two kinds of readers: the ones who read a book all the way through, and the ones who are always in the middle of several." —Sophie Newman from "On Changing Genres"

"The number-one flaw in any screenplay is an uninteresting and passive protagonist." —Jeanne Veillette Bowerman from "Take Two"

"There's a story in everyone; your job is to figure out how to make it meaningful to someone else." —Robert Lee Brewer from "Six Personal Essay Markets for Writers"

(Get the March/April 2021 issue of Writer's Digest here.)

Writer's Digest cover May/June 2021

May/June 2021: Sparking Curiosity

"Writing mentors can have much to offer, but often their greatest gift is years of professional experience." —Don Vaughan from "The Value of Experience: How Mentors Help Writers"

"I couldn't get my hands on enough books about how other writers became successful; I was hungry to know their process. As a young writer, I spent a lot of time in the 808 section of the library." —Donna Gephart from "The Value of Experience: How Mentors Help Writers"

"Often I see better ways of working. As with any serious craft, you should never stop learning." —Mark Bowden from "The Value of Experience: How Mentors Help Writers"

"Beginning writers are often looking for a secret that will make them rich and famous. That usually means chasing the market and imitating another author. In that case, I don't know how to help. My advice always starts with: 'Be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else." —David Morrell from "The Value of Experience: How Mentors Help Writers"

"Although there is no universally accepted joke periodic table, humor writing has structure and formula that anyone can master." —Mark Shatz from "To Write Funny, You Must Think Funny"

"While I enjoyed my Sunday Funday beer buzz, I was also hyperaware of the fact that I had just spent four hours in a pub. Talking about how I don't have time to write. In those four hours, the sunny afternoon turned into haunting dusk as I went from sober to buzzed. For the first time, drinking seemed pointless. Alcohol felt like an unnecessary hurdle that I kept putting in my way." —Tawny Lara from "How Sobriety Made Me a Better Writer"

"One of the things I love most about writing historical fiction is the initial sensation when my curiosity is piqued, when I stumble across a person or event in history and immediately feel an urge to delve into the historical record." —Chanel Cleeton from "Writers on Writing"

"From my experience in writing in all sorts of settings (about all sorts of settings), I've concluded that a good setting for creative writing must be functional, healthful, and inspiring." —Sharon Short from "Setting"

"One of the many uses of metadata is in helping readers, customers, or information seekers of any kind find what they are looking for." —L. Penelope from "Minding Your Metadata"

"It's usually OK to use a portion of someone else's work for educational purposes or news reporting, as long as you're taking the smallest amount necessary to make your point. Writers get into trouble when their entire work is based on someone else's copyrighted work." —Amy Cook from "Fair Use"

"Keep it short—if you can't summarize your book in one paragraph, you may not quite know yourself what it's about." —Markus Hoffman from "Meet the Agent"

"Find the people who cheer you on, lift you up, help you grow, and provide a safe space to vent. My writing friends have been essential to my success." —Mia P. Manansala from "Breaking In"

"Read a lot, both in your genre and out of it." —Brandie June from "Breaking In"

"Figure out the heart of the story after your first draft." —Brenda Peynado from "Breaking In"

"There is good procrastination and bad procrastination." —Michael La Ronn from "The Curiously Effective Way to Beat Procrastination"

"Leaving something up to the imagination invites participation from the reader and defies topes of a too-perfect conclusion." —Jordan Rosenfeld from "Open Endings"

"When thinking about how to nest your character motivations, one thing to consider is how permanent those motivations should be." —Jeff Somers from "The Russian Nesting Doll Theory of Motivation"

"I am usually three-quarters of way into a book before I know the ending." —Chris Bohjalian from "The WD Interview: Chris Bohjalian"

"A book review is not a summary. It's not a report. It's a conversation." —Sam Risak from "The Benefits of Writing Book Reviews"

"Liking is not the point. It's whether the book is successful or not." —Katherine Coldiron from "The Benefits of Writing Book Reviews"

"If you want to participate in the big conversation of literary criticism, you should be an avid consumer of reviews. It should be part of your oxygen." —Tom Zoellner from "The Benefits of Writing Book Reviews"

"Reviewing makes me read deeply and think about the writers' choices." —Liz Harmer from "The Benefits of Writing Book Reviews"

"I often use theme as my North Star to guide me back to the essence of my story." —Sadie Dean from "How Do I (Quickly) Write a Screenplay?"

(Get the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest here.)

Writer's Digest cover July/August 2021

July/August 2021: Writing for Change

"I don't want to romanticize being a writer, but sometimes it truly feels as though getting to work on this book felt like an act of reclamation." —Kat Chow from "Appease the Spirit"

"No one can chart a writer's individual journey. Each writer must do that respectively." —Audrey Wick from "Writing After Trauma"

"If you can handle criticism and learn from it, your work will improve." —Alison Hill from "Rejection With a Suggestion"

"Writing for social justice, one has the charge to not only inspire compassion, but action, and, hopefully, change." —Catherine Coleman Flowers from "Listening and Writing for Social Justice"

"Stay current on what's happening in the world and not only on your small portion of it." —Tricia Skinner from "Meet the Agent"

"I find description to be one of the most challenging writing craft tools because it often leads me to second guess what I've written." —Sharon Short from "Description"

"Let's face it, books are judged by their covers." —Whitney Hill from "Success by Design"

"I was suddenly hit with three terms that seemed interchangeable: pitch, query, and proposal." —Amy Jones from "Pitch vs. Query vs. Proposal"

"I learned that I can fail and still have the strength to try again." —Elizabeth Gonzalez James from "Breaking In"

"I was enthusiastic about taking feedback from my agent and my editor and doing the work to get my novel into shape." —Sarah Zachrich Jeng from "Breaking In"

"Be honest and don't worry about what other people think." —David Poses from "Breaking In"

"Reaching that point—the edge—and moving past it might well result in a spectacular crash. That, or just maybe a soaring flight to the heights of success, which is what we all hunger for." —Elizabeth Sims from "The Quest for the Edge"

"Honesty matters when you are telling lies." —Syed Masood from "Tightrope Writer"

"Remember that the most effective characters are complicated and may have conflicting views about social justice issues." —David Heska Wanbli Weiden from "Writing to Change the World"

"Inspiration represents the first step to getting readers to do something different. Your book must help readers see new possibilities and get excited about pursuing these aspirations." —Nina Amir from "Authoring Change, One Book at a Time"

"This is about having an openness to follow the story wherever it takes you—which should be the journalists' credo anyway." —Tyler Moss from "Writing Through the Lens of Social Justice"

"Dialogue in writing should always be used strategically. It should convey character details and plot details, not pleasantries and mundane chatter." —Jordan Rosenfeld from "Get Emotional With Your Characters"

"You don't have to write every day." —Jasmine Guillory from "The WD Interview: Jasmine Guillory"

"I started with a sound. I gathered my notebook, sat in the middle of my bed late at night, and listened." —Deborah Hall from "Whale of a Poem"

"In the moment, writing can feel like a lonely, even isolating activity. But the distance between the lonely act of writing and identity of 'being a writer' is the distance between the place where you write and the place where you share what you wrote." —Mary Mangual from "The Art of Feedback-Giving for Writers"

"A writing partner is a person who will collaborate with you, sharing all responsibilities from idea conception, research, outlining, writing, and re-writing to selling your screenplay." —Sadie Dean from "Do I Need a Writing Partner?"

(Get the July/August 2021 issue of Writer's Digest here.)

Writer's Digest cover September/October 2021

September/October 2021: Standout Storytelling

"Sometimes a story sings to you. It says, 'I'm next. I want you. You want me. I've got the idea. I can do it! Give me a chance!'" —Jane Yolen from "The Queen of Kidlit"

"Most freelance writers wouldn't have a career without sources—the experts and real-life individuals that make a story come alive." —Dinsa Sachan from "How to Tackle Tricky Source Situations"

"I'm always surprised at how many people are willing to share their time, experience, and expertise with me." —Elizabeth Gardner from "How to Tackle Tricky Source Situations"

"Whether you're a newbie or a grizzled veteran, a fan of fiction or teller of truths, the reminder to trust the process can be a calming notion to revisit now and again." —Paul Nicolaus from "Like a Good Pair of Jeans, This Writing Advice Only Gets Better With Time"

"As writers, this is part of the work we do, finding ways to express that which may feel impossible to express." —Anna-Marie McLemore from "Speaking in Magic"

"Find a passion other than writing that gives you contentment." —Priya Doraswamy from "Meet the Agent"

"If you master pacing, readers will walk, jog, trot, or run alongside you for the duration of your story and not wander off your story's path out of exhaustion or boredom." —Sharon Short from "Pacing"

"Reviews are key to getting the word out about your book and building up social proof both before and after launch." —Whitney Hill from "Read All About It"

"Just as good fences make good neighbors, good contracts make good working relationships." —Amy Cook from "Contract Tips and Handling Conflict"

"Learn not to take rejection personally, no matter how much it stings." —Alda P. Dobbs from "Breaking In"

"'When in doubt, zone out.' Taking a breather from your writing can work wonders." —Sifton Tracey Anipare from "Breaking In"

"Failures can lead to the biggest opportunities." —Meredith Westgate from "Breaking In"

"Don't give up, ask questions, learn the industry, attend conferences, join support groups, and understand the business the best you can." —Analieze Cervantes from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Try not to compare yourself to other writers—every writer has a unique path to publication." —Jennifer Chen Tran from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Get comfortable in that liminal waiting space, because the wheels of publishing turn slowly." —Erin Clyburn from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Trust your instincts if something doesn't feel like a perfect fit." —Margaret Danko from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Think of what you want your book description to read when a reader picks your book up on the shelf or sees it online and write that." —Jon Michael Darga from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"You will best write what you feel passionate about writing." —Naomi Davis from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Follow submission guidelines. ... Querying is hard enough without disqualifying yourself because of something as simple as following instructions." —Chelsea Hensley from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Just don't bore me. Please." —Kima Jones from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"It's important for writers to be well-read, have a sense of which books similar to your own have resonated with readers and why, and how your book is different." —Jody Kahn from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"I see a lot of nicely written and constructed stories that are tough sells on a conceptual level, so it's worth meditating deeply on that before putting pen to page." —Kirby Kim from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Be kind! To agents and to yourself." —Aida Lilly from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Take the time to polish the opening pages to really hook the reader. ... The majority of your novel might be brilliant, but if the first 10 pages aren't working. I'll never know." —Jennifer March Soloway from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"It's OK to slow down." —Lee O'Brien from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Send your query email to yourself first to see what it looks like!" —Crystal Orazu from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Write what's natural to you." —Jas Perry from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"The purpose of a query letter is to explain what your book is about—without going into too much detail or giving too much away." —Zeynep Sen from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"No one knows your work better than you." —Stephanie Sinclair from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Invest in your structure." —Monika Woods from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Don't write in total isolation; join a cohort of writers with whom you feel comfortable sharing your work and whose opinions you trust." —Jade Wong-Baxter from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"Consider that the person you are sending your work to has read about six dozen emails that day, and who knows how many queries." —Ayla Zuraw-Friedland from "The 2021 Writer's Digest Annual Literary Agent Roundup"

"To reveal backstory effectively, you need to first assess which aspects should be revealed. Then you need to determine how best to share that information." —Jane K. Cleland from "The Art of Revealing Backstory"

"Just because you may have thought up an exhaustive backstory for each character doesn't mean you have to tell it all to us." —Neil Nyren from "The Art of Revealing Backstory"

"The way to create suspense is to ask—or imply—a question ... and then not answer it until later." —Lee Child from "The Art of Revealing Backstory"

"Nothing is worse than over-explaining." —Meredith Anthony from "The Art of Revealing Backstory"

"Avoid the backstory dump at all costs. Readers will see it for what it is: laziness and a writer's being unprepared." —David Baldacci from "The Art of Revealing Backstory"

"Too much backstory at the start of a novel can be lethal." —Hallie Ephron from "The Art of Revealing Backstory"

"Sprinkling in backstory is a great way to intrigue, tease, and surprise readers." —Kate White from "The Art of Revealing Backstory"

"Every adventure has a price of admission." —Sam Boush from "How to Plot a Sci-Fi Novel"

"Character is revealed through action, and the best way to give your character lots of things to do is in the hunt for what they desire most in the world." —Ken Liu from "How to Plot a Sci-Fi Novel"

"On some level, we all have wants or needs that may not be fulfilled and having that be a primary vector in the plot can be a very strong tool to get readers drawn into it—even if we don't approve of the specific want or need, we recognize that feeling." —Aliette de Bodard from "How to Plot a Sci-Fi Novel"

"To cross the threshold into the second act, I plot epic revelations, after which my characters begin to understand the extraordinary magnitude of what is happening, what they're up against, and the epic stakes for which they're playing." —Douglas E. Richards from "How to Plot a Sci-Fi Novel"

"The way I do it is if I start to get bored and/or stuck when I'm writing, I just make something (mostly bad) happen to the protagonist." —John Scalzi from "How to Plot a Sci-Fi Novel"

"I try to think of my book as a series of escalating episodes instead of three acts, which makes the boundaries a bit more porous. Instead of crossing the threshold, I'm simply moving onto the next episode." —Victoria "V.E." Schwab from "How to Plot a Sci-Fi Novel"

"Protagonists gotta protag for the reader to hook onto them and want to follow them, and making choices, even small ones, personal ones, reveal them to us and give them agency, even in chaotic big plot circumstances." —Tobias Buckell from "How to Plot a Sci-Fi Novel"

"After the fun of the second act, it's time to buckle down and drive your characters toward the conclusion of the story. At this point, they should either choose or be forced into a course of action that ultimately leads to the book's climax." —Andy Weir from "How to Plot a Sci-Fi Novel"

"Having written several novels and novellas, I can honestly say that there is a sense of liberation that comes from not having to think about story structure in the most traditional sense." —Ran Walker from "10 Reasons to Write a 100-Word Story"

"In a memoir as detective novel, the search for the heart of the story is the story." —Lilly Dancyger from "Memoir as Detective Novel"

"I get so many questions about mentors and for me, it's: Look sideways. My mentors have been homies." —Elizabeth Acevedo from "The WD Interview: Elizabeth Acevedo"

"In the months leading up to publication, we are planning and researching and doing our best to create the most successful outing for your novel." —Barbara Poelle from "Funny You Should Ask"

"Think about all the roles you play in a day and how differently you reveal yourself, to whom, and in what situations." —Janet Pocorobba from "Stalking the Self: Finding a Point of View in Memoir"

"To help manage line count, skim your screenplay pages for orphans, which is one lone word that wraps to the next line of the paragraph." —Sadie Dean from "Less Is More on the Page"

"Once again, I was reminded that the business of publishing is always adapting and changing and that you have to adapt and change along with it." —Deb Caletti from "The Story of Getting a Book Published"

(Get the September/October 2021 issue of Writer's Digest here.)

Writer's Digest cover November/December 2021

November/December 2021: Magical Writing

"Riffing off of mythology in a unique way is not as hard as people think." —R. F. Kuang from "Wrath of the Gods"

"In my experience, writers tend to be a helpful bunch, but if they're overly accommodating, they run the risk of derailing their careers." —Elaine Klonicki from "Healthy Helping"

"But this time, jealousy had put a new but valuable friendship at risk." —Lillian Yates Duggan from "The Green-Eyed Monster and Me"

"You would think, after almost 30 years of consuming and producing fantasy, I would have a functional beyond-the-dictionary definition of magic, but I totally didn't." —Alix E. Harrow from "Writers on Writing"

"Get straight into the plot." —Rebecca Scherer from "Meet the Agent"

"Revision is most likely where you'll find your true opening." —Sharon Short from "Set the Hook With Great Beginnings"

"The more I researched crowdfunding, the more excited I became." —Christopher Stollar from "How to Crowdfund Your Book"

"Passive income is magic: You do nothing and get paid." —Jeff Somers from "Royalties: The Long Tail"

"If there was even a slight opening, I put everything I had into it." —Juhea Kim from "Breaking In"

"Find critique partners who have strengths in areas that aren't yours." —Julie Tieu from "Breaking In"

"Be less superstitious. Writers are neurotic. Submit, pitch, and try to engage in less magical thinking about it all. If your work isn't picked up by one editor, move on to the next without spiraling." —Rax King from "Breaking In"

"I sometimes wonder how many great novels are sitting in dusty drawers, half-finished, abandoned, perhaps forgotten." —Grant Faulkner from "The Alchemy Required to Finish a Novel"

"You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it." —Octavia E. Butler from "The Alchemy Required to Finish a Novel"

"A writer of fiction is an engineer, designer, and manufacturer, all in one. The best are magicians, too, grabbing readers and drawing us into their characters' triumphs and tribulations." —Elizabeth Sims from "Behind the Scenes"

"Foreshadowing operates behind a veil, hard to discern and easy to miss, yet satisfyingly evident once whatever has been foreshadowed comes to pass." —Jane K. Cleland from "Foreshadowing: A Literary Workhorse"

"I believe that every writer who sets out to tell a story engages in the dirty task of world-building, no matter what genre or mode they work in." —Tobias Buckell from "Building Worlds to Build Better Stories"

"Tropes can be powerful connections, a kind of shared understanding between reader and author from which to build." —Sarah J. Sover from "Trope: My Favorite Dirty Word"

"The amazing thing about blending genres is that when done cleverly, it can ease the readers of one genre into the waters of another." —Dan Stout from "Trope: My Favorite Dirty Word"

"Being a contrarian and a redneck, when someone tells me I can't do something, my first reaction is 'Oh yeah? Hold my beer.' Then I go do it." —John G. Hartness from "Trope: My Favorite Dirty Word"

"A large part of being a good writer, in general, is reading a lot and writing a lot." —Ran Walker from "Beyond the Twilight Zone"

"I always look for mood first. I want to know how I'm going to make the reader feel." —Maggie Stiefvater from "The WD Interview: Maggie Stiefvater"

"Sometimes the hardest part of writing is coming to the page." —Sahalie Angell Martin from "How Surrealism Can Bring a Spark to Your Writing"

"To write a great ending, do your due diligence in crafting sound first and second acts that set up your third act resolution." —Sadie Dean from "Writing Memorable Cinematic Endings"

(Get the November/December 2021 issue of Writer's Digest here.)

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Last Chance to Nominate Your Favorite Writing Websites, Our Historical Fiction Virtual Conference, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce the deadline to nominate your favorite writing websites, our Historical Fiction Virtual Conference, and more!

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

4 Tips for Writing a Modern Retelling

From having reverence for the original to making it your own, author Nikki Payne shares four tips for writing a modern retelling.

Faint vs. Feint (Grammar Rules)

Faint vs. Feint (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use faint vs. feint in your writing with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples. Plus, we answer whether it's "faint of heart" or "feint of heart."

6 Books to Cozy Up With This Winter | Book Recommendations

6 Books to Cozy Up With This Winter

Here are 6 book recommendation perfect for winter reading.

12 Things to Consider When Writing Fight Scenes in Fiction (FightWrite™)

12 Things to Consider When Writing Fight Scenes in Fiction (FightWrite™)

Trained fighter and author Carla Hoch shares 12 things all writers should consider when attempting to write effective fight scenes in fiction.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unreal Character

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unreal Character

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character turn out to be less than they seem.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 15th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.

Valeria Ruelas: On Teaching Tarot, Brujeria, and Witchcraft

Valeria Ruelas: On Teaching Tarot, Brujeria, and Witchcraft

Author Valeria Ruelas discusses the process of writing her new book, The Mexican Witch Lifestyle.

What Is the Hook, the Book, and Cook Query Pitching Technique for Writers?

What Is the Hook, the Book, and the Cook Query Pitching Technique for Writers?

Find out what "the hook, the book, and the cook" are in relation to writing query letters and pitching books to literary agents and book editors. This post answers the question of what each one is and how to successfully assemble the pieces.