I’ve been subscribed to quite a few writing magazines here in the UK for a while now and I have to say, the quality is pretty poor. The articles are hardly ever in depth and the advice given seems very superficial. It’s like eating candyfloss when what you want is meat, veg, rice and a yorkie pud to go with it. I realise I’m painting a broad and negative picture here, but this is my own feeling and to be honest, it’s probably me having grown out of the advice that these magazines seem to hand out. The articles appear to rehash the same type of thing over and over and instead of feeling anticipation about when the next magazine is due, I feel meh.
However, there are two magazines I swear by. One UK magazine and one US magazine.
The UK magazine is of course Mslexia. Yes, it’s for women writers, but I can guarantee you that no matter what your sex, there is advice and inspiration for you. I re-read my copy of Mslexia a few times and have got a folder that I stick it in to keep it from being tossed in the rubbish bin by accident. I mark up the articles I like and I can refer to them. The prompts are clever, the advice is solid and the interviews are interesting, often amusing, but always worthy of a mull-over. I also have the Mslexia diary and I love it because it’s packed full of prompts and quotes. I bought copies for my friends Kaz and Sarah too and I know they are using them…right girls? The Mslexia website is also a fantastic resource with articles and blogs on what’s going on, writing resources, competitions etc.
The US magazine I’m talking about is Writer’s Digest. I’ve never seen it before till about…three or four months ago. I peripherally knew about it from Chuck’s website and the various links he has on it from there. So when I saw it in the WH Smith’s here in Selfridges, I grabbed it and read it. And I’ve been going back each month to buy a copy. I am now considering an electronic subscription, even though I think e-subscriptions = the devil. I’m considering the e-sub because Smith’s didn’t get the previous month’s copy. By e-subbing, I get each magazine as it comes live. That has to be a winning situation. So, onto the content of WD.
The issue I got yesterday was: May/June 2010
There is an in depth article about writing Romance (Romancing the Publishing Industry)
An very interesting article, from my point of view, on writing for the YA Market (YA Today) with commentators ranging from Stephen Fraser (agent), Aimee Friedman (editor), Wendy Loggia (executive editor) George Nicholson (agent), Anica Mrose Rissi (senior editor). What impressed me is that the article took up six pages and the advice is sound, intelligent and common sense. And pertinent to new and more experienced writers.
On page 41 an article entitled He Said, She Said – Understanding differences can improve your writing in any genre. I read this one during my commute this morning and you know what, it was an eyeopener. Because I’m writing for boys in Djinn, I’ve been called up by my very excellent critique group on being overly descriptive on things that Nicholas observes. Boys don’t think or act that way, not generally. This article confirms it.
Then, an article I think most writers definitely need: 101 best websites for writers. There is a tranche of sites on offer, from sites offering Creative inspiration to Writing Advice, General Resources, Online Writing Communities, Genres/Niches, Publishing / Marketing Resources. I think the £3.25 I spent on buying this mag yesterday has paid for itself already. Just by leafing through the first handful of pages.
And I ask the question: why are the UK magazines not of this high calibre? I’ve subscribed to various ones over the past say two or three years now and I don’t think a single issue has ever contained as much down-on-the-ground information that is pertinent to me as a both a reader and writer. Both Mslexia and Writer’s Digest offer advice on a professional level too, i.e. items on tax, writing as a business etc.
So, if you are thinking of subscribing to any magazines, these two are, in my opinion, the best that is currently out there.