Colum McCann: Literary treaty

Find out how this best-seller and National Book Award winner thinks about craft.

Gene Perret, comedy veteran

This comedy writer for the stars says jokes aren’t magic. They’re hard work.

Wil Haygood: How I Write

“Book editors expect you to dance a little bit. They expect you to climb the darkest side of the mountain at midnight.”

Dream big and be persistent

Don’t be intimidated by today’s publishing environment. The key is the same as it’s always been: dream big and never give up.

Lin-Manuel Miranda: Use your space

Lin-Manuel Miranda is the Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist of “In the Heights.” He’s an actor and composer, who identifies as a writer.

Wake up wanting to work

Do you want to tell the story of your life?

The play’s the thing

Listening to someone else is challenging. Listening to myself required a new skill set of awareness and belief.

Mary Gordon: Dropped by an angel

In The Writer Interview, Mary Gordon talks with editor Alicia Anstead about crafting scenes and dissects a paragraph from her book “The Liar’s Wife.”

Beverly Jenkins: How I Write

“I revise as I go. It’s a slower process, but the manuscript is tight by the time I send it to my editor.”

Le rire mécanique

How can you make ‘em laugh?

Celebrating nature in writing

We hope you enjoy this issue’s stories about playwriting, role-playing, magical realism, the woes and wonders of a good editor, tips from paperback writers and much more about the life and craft of writers.

The old house of poetry

Eliot said: “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” We hope this issue finds you sitting with writers whose work engages you and pushes you far. And again farther.

Becoming fearless

Bravery may not always be easy. But it certainly forces us to prevail in the presence of danger and fear, which nearly every writer confronts.

Finding inspiration in everything

Whether on a beach watching the sunrise, around the table in the writers’ room, at your work space in the midst of family chaos or alone in your cave, inspiration is the invaluable element of all writing.

Your role in shaping the next generation

Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, librarians, friends and community leaders all play a role in literacy. And so do writers. That last group – the writers – is the topic for this issue. If you’ve written a children’s book, middle grade book or YA book – or if you want to – you’ve come to the right place.

A good way to end a year

While we were putting this issue together, we were thinking of the ways in which you as a writer might be assessing the last 12 months. What did you accomplish? What made you proud? How did your writing move to the next step, stage or discovery?

When you’re a writer, life can slip into strangeness

Making a work your own is what drives us, whether we’re employed by a corporate organization or slaving away at a desk in a living room in the Florida swamps.

What makes you squirm as a writer or editor?

To survive as creative people, we take risks. We stay up late. We teeter between worlds. Nearly every writer in this issue refers to the persistence you must have to be a writer.

Glen Duncan: Divided nature

Novelist Glen Duncan brings his vampire and werewolf stories to their final resting place.

Not long ago, I was sitting in the rush line

As I waited for the lights to come up, it struck me – not for the first time – that stories are utterly ubiquitous in the world.

Monica Wood: Up in Mexico

Monica Wood talks about writing novels, researching personal stories and growing up in Mexico, Maine, the setting of her memoir.

A new year is upon us

While we can’t say exactly what tomorrow will bring, we can do lots to point our compasses toward the brightest stars.

Proximity to accomplishment

Do you ever forget the first writing teacher who steered you toward a career?

Nancy K. Miller: How I Write

“I wanted to smoke in a left Bank café,” Miller says. “I wanted to be sophisticated and daring, nothing like my nice-Jewish-girl self and her nice Jewish parents from whom I longed to escape.” What she found in Paris, however, was a deeper connection to her parents – and a sense that liberté may lie elsewhere.

Making novels

Get tweety

Attending a writers’ conference or book festival? Share the experience through Twitter.

A Capitol Poet

Poet Richard Blanco shared the stage with President Barack Obama on inauguration day. He’s hoping poetry will find its way from the Capitol steps back into daily life.

Nina Revoyr: How I Write

“The first draft is like throwing a hunk of clay onto the wheel. It’s literally getting down the raw material, and revision is my way of going back to shape something from that.”