Wednesday, July 13, 2005

August Issue of Writers Digest

The August issue of Writers Digest Magazine is filled with resources for every level or writer.

Author, Miriam Sagan, shows you how to use alternate sources to find poetic inspiration. She says:

"Take a page of prose that interests you. It can be anything—from the dense, imagistic writing of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude to a passage from a Virginia Woolf novel to a manual on a home renovation technique. Now, break it into poetry. Take out anything that doesn’t interest you. Prune out small words such as ‘the’ and ‘a,’ and look for surprises, metaphors and unexpected combinations. The result may be a complete poem (be sure to credit the original) or simply an exercise to stretch your imagination. Adding your own lines of response can make it into an entirely different poem."
Writer's Digest's InkWell section poses a thought-provoking question each month. This month's question:

In the August issue of WD, we discuss how to kill off characters in your
fiction. Which literary character(s) do you feel deserved to live? Or maybe you
think thereÂ’s one who shouloffered been offed in Chapter 1 but makes it to the end.

To be part of the WD monthly Conversation, e-mail your brief response (up to 50 words) to with "Dearly Departed" as the subject line.

Is the western alive and well in 21st Century America? Author, Loren Estleman, responds:

"Yes, and the audience is there. For one thing, we have increasingly
sophisticated readers. TheyÂ’re less inclined to accept that old chivalric
code of the fast-draw contest and want to know more about the grittiness of
the actual West. And if youÂ’re asking me if thereÂ’s a market for it, think
about writers such as Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry, Jane Smiley and
Barbara Kingsolver. All of these people are writing historical Westerns now,
but theyÂ’re painting on a much broader canvas.

There are also greater repercussions now to the actual points of action than weÂ’ve seen in the past. These days, writers arenÂ’t just dealing with the fact that somebody
was shot down in the street. They’re also dealing with the family—the characters left behind.

The modern Western is more rooted in humanity than it was in the past. This was always true of the great Westerns. But when so many people tried to imitate them, it became like a 10th carbon copy—it just got worse and worse. Unfortunately, the Western has always been judged by its more mediocre work."

Each month Writers Digest offers its readers a "writing prompt." Here is the prompt for August.

YouÂ’ve been given a one-year deadline and a $1 million signing bonus to write a
300-page novel. ItÂ’s the day before the deadline and youÂ’ve written one page.
What are you going to tell your editor? Write an elaborate excuse thatÂ’s so
clever and believable that it becomes the plot of your novel.
This issue holds so much information that I can't begin to share it all with you. If you are not yet a subscriber to a writers magazine (like Writers Digest or The Writer) you should seriously consider becoming one. These magazines do not simply teach, they inspire and motive a writer to excellence.

If you would like a discounted subscription, see me -- and, no, I don't get any perks for getting new subscriptions.

Louise Bergmann DuMont
Facilitator, NJCWG
Director, A Reason To Write Conference - October 8, 2005

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