The Top 20 Lessons From WD Mag in 2009: No. 20

Author:
Publish date:

Hey writers,

The 90th anniversary issue of WD is fast approaching (it’s our January 2010 installment, which ships to subscribers Nov. 24 and hits newsstands Dec. 15), and Editor Jessica Strawser and I are rapidly working to get everything out on time.

Which means another year of magazines is about to start. Being the type of person who has a hard time parting with anything (I still have a rather hearty collection of Pez dispensers, not to mention roughly everything I’ve ever written), I want to hang onto the 2009 series of WD magazines for as long as possible. When you work on them long enough, they become a bit like old pals—quotable and even sometimes annoyingly omnipresent, but you're always sad to see them go.

Thus, to give the 2009 WDs their due, I’m counting down to the January 2010 issue two times per week with my favorite 20 writing lessons from the year. Think simple, quotable passages of wisdom from Stephen King, Rick Steves and others, from the bestseller to the savvy newbie.

No. 20: Get Messy
“During the course of writing six novels, I realized that the days when the truth shone brightest were the days my pen flowed the freest and messiest across the pages. And I was rewarded with longer and longer satisfactory passages. It’s paradoxical that giving up control rewards you with what you seek most: concise, insightful work.”
—Elizabeth Sims, on how writing freely without initial self-editing can bring new life to your prose, in “Rough It Up,” from the January 2009 issue of WD.

After each installment of tips, you’ll receive a regular helping of writing prompts to spark new life into your work. And don’t forget to stop by next Monday, Oct. 5. New York Times bestseller Dianna Love will share some great insights about her creative process, and offer prompts and a couple of copies of her new book, Break Into Fiction.

--

WRITING PROMPT: Old Habits Die Hard
Feel free to take the following prompt home or post your response (500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below:

You decide to give up an old habit—in exchange for something that was originally promised to you years ago.

Kelly_1:15

Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.

capital_vs_capitol_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Dulan_1:14

On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.

Brandt_1:14

Gerald Brandt: Toeing the Line Between Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Science fiction author Gerald Brandt explains how this new series explores the genre boundary and how he came to find his newest book's focus.

plot_twist_story_prompts_moment_of_doubt_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Moment of Doubt

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character experience a moment of doubt.

dr_caitlin_oconnell_finding_connection_and_community_in_animal_rituals_author_spotlights

Caitlin O'Connell: Finding Connection and Community in Animal Rituals

In this post, Dr. Caitlin O'Connell shares what prompted her to write a book about finding connection and community in animal rituals, what surprised her in the writing process, and much more!

new_agent_alert_zeynep_sen_of_wordlink_literary_agency

New Agent Alert: Zeynep Sen of WordLink Literary Agency

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Zeynep Sen of WordLink Literary Agency) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

Henick_1:13

Mark Henick: On Memory, Healing, and Languishing Projects

Author Mark Henick shares how he was able to turn a successful TEDx talk into a memoir, even when the project didn't come as quickly as he expected.