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October 2013

The essential resource for writers

Join thousands of successful writers when you subscribe to The Writer magazine. Each month The Writer is full of features you can use to improve your writing, including before-and-after examples of improved writing, more literary markets than ever before, practical solutions for writing problems, selected literary magazine profiles, tips from famous authors and hands-on advice.

Alicia Anstead

Years ago when my sister was visiting

By Alicia Anstead

When I eventually found the stone and wiped off the mud, one word gleamed at me: WRITE. At that moment, I had no idea about my sister’s mischief. All I knew was that a talisman seemed to have revealed itself to me with a clear directive.


Location, location, location

By Elfrieda Abbe

Novelist David Rhodes gives advice on how setting creates character, interiority and narrative.

The college try

By Harvey Rachlin

Don’t wait for the degree. Check out 15 ways undergrads can jumpstart a writing career.

Chapter One: Bill Cheng

By Megan Kaplon

A debut novelist reveals how he hooked his audience from the opening line.

Shrink tank

By Grace Bello

Pack a punch with your book summary. Learn how to pare down your story – and snag an agent – in 200 words.

In tune

By Kinney Littlefield

Screenwriter Callie Khouri shapes the complex characters of Nashville through story and song.



Curious surge

By Alicia Anstead

Push toward the wacky and outlandish. Set your inner writer free.

Writing Essentials

Type faster

By Jennifer Willis

In the twilight of his life, Jay Lake savors his time as a novelist.

Off the Cuff

Let’s get physical

By Sarah Zobel

A runner’s physical therapy inspires 10 fiction-writing tips.

Poet to Poet

Cracking open truth

By Robert Hirschfield

Senior poets use words to connect, explore and reflect.

Write Stuff

Make them tell stories

By Dale McGarrigle

With profiles of literary giants, a collection of interviews sheds light on the writing life.

Conference Insider

Crossing borders

By Hillary Casavant

The International Festival of Authors is a launch pad for new writers.

Literary Spotlight

Parental guidance

By Melissa Hart

Essays in Brain, Child tackle the ups and downs of raising a family.

Also in Every Issue

From the Editor

Take Note

When to scrap a story, the best go-to writing guides and products to organize your office.


Get “classy” with our MFA program guide.

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How I Write

Jonathan Maberry: “Don’t wait for the muse to whisper in your ear.”