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I used to read this religiously, but I really felt that it was getting worse in terms of format and content in the last few years. It is very dated in the content and not quite up to speed with the changes online, not enough done with promoting self-publishing, very anti-kindle, doesn't move with the times and for the amount you pay £3.50[last time I saw] the content doesn't deserve the price it charges.
There is so much out there in terms of events, new authors, changes in publishers, authors to interview etc, but it doesn't take full advantage of this.
Sad as it use to be good and you remember the community who wins and writes in and how their books are doing but its not worth it anymore.
I used to buy this magazine because I wanted to be a writer. Unfortunately, it didn't take me long to realise that most of the information was freely available on the Internet, and many times it was much better information.
That said, I do occasionally skim through the articles mentioned on the cover if any attract my attention, but I don't often buy the magazine. Mostly, I'd agree with other reviewers - this is a magazine for short story writers, and I'm not one of those.
I feel this magazine caters more for beginners than for those who've been writing for a while. If you have just finished a creative writing course and want to know where to start next, then this magazine will likely have some helpful advice to offer.
However, if you don't write short stories, or if you are past the level of beginner, you are likely to be better off going to the Internet for help.
(Isn't it worrying that at the bottom of the page the list of magazines "similar to Writers Forum" includes the Beano, the Dandy, and Tweenies? I would just like to say that Writers Forum is definitely at a higher level than these!)
I've bought loads of copies of Writers' Forum in the past and, before giving this some serious thought, I believed that on the whole it was a great magazine, especially because there are some brilliant short stories inside and lots of useful contact information for aspiring writers.
But it is sadly short on integrity, which is a quality I believe a true writer must have. Writers' Forum gives advice to writers on not being ripped off, yet advertises exortionate writing courses run by establishments of little reputation and it advertises people charging the earth just to proofread your work.
I did enter one of their short story competitions a while back, and although I did not win, they sent back a "critique" where they gave ratings for individual aspects of my story. I feel that this is a saving grace for them because they are making lots of money; not just for the high cost of the magazine - around £3.50 - and advertising revenue, but also the entry fees for their competitions. They are essentially profiting from the dreams and hopes of aspiring writers; therefore, it is right that they give something back. However, I was thrilled when I received the critique. I didn't believe I would win anyway, so just to have that really lifted my spirits and gave me some get-up-and-go.
I have to admit I really enjoy reading this magazine. I love the huge letters' page, filled with aspiring writers' trials and tribulations and talented writers' comments on various aspects of the writing profession and the magazine itself. I find it helps to have a reminder that there are other people doing the same job as yourself, just like any career-specific journal.
It's a magazine that I don't throw away. I like to read through old copies to refresh my memory of the different companies available, and for any ideas that I might find useful for my writing.
But on the whole, I'd advise aspiring writers to check that it's worth the expense, and to disregard any of the advertisements.
This magazine is basically quite bad - there used to be a longer review here but it has been largely removed to a more profitable platform. Apologies for any inconvenience.
The interesting and potentially useful articles are undermined by the constant emphasis on how no one will ever want to publish your work. The language used is generally extremely simple as well. While I'm aware of the value of plain English, I suspect this in deference to the people actually reading the magazine.
All in all, Writer's Forum is a magazine with some useful information hidden in unengaging articles, full of dishonest pieces that skew the reader's perception of the publishing market in favour of a largely corrupt industry. The design is poor, even the advertisements look cheap and poorly produced, and the whole thing looks slapdash. You can't trust it, and in fact you can barely read it. Avoid.
Recently, I realised that I should probably be numbered with those who spot trains, collect stamps and play Warhammer; in other words, I seem to have developed a bit of an obsession. I collect magazines about writing. Included in this growing collection are the most recent eight issues of Writers’ Forum (hereafter referred to as WF). Although I have avidly read each issue of this monthly magazine, until a couple of months ago my actual output of written words has been, well, almost non-existent. I’ve obviously been operating under the common delusion that the mere ownership of something is enough to secure the desired rewards. Much in the same way that I irrationally think the possession of a gym membership and a lycra top will make me fitter. However, WF makes it pretty clear in its mission statement on the inside page of every issue, that the aim is to provide “…encouragement and inspiration to those who want to write and see their work published.” Ah. So that means the actual work is down to me then? OK. So, as yet another wave of enthusiasm to become a published writer washes over me, I’ve decided to have a re-read of my WF issues to see if “encouragement and inspiration” are indeed forthcoming, and to decide what I think about the quality and usefulness of the magazine. WHO IS IT FOR? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Well, no prizes for guessing that this magazine is aimed at writers – but specifically what kind? A glimpse at the contents page reveals helpfully that it is, “For writers of short stories, magazine features, novels, plays, film scripts and poetry.” That would seem to include the majority of writers, and as a wannabe feature/short story
writer certainly includes me. On the website, which I also investigated, WF cites itself as a “major resource for writers from beginners to established authors”. So it should help me then, being an absolute one. Beginner that is. HOW IS IT PACKAGED? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ WF is a glossy mag. The paper is good quality and the front covers are brightly coloured, clearly presented and attractive. When buying magazines, I expect the standard of packaging to be reflected in the contents and a quick flick through WF does look promising. Some pages are predominantly text, reflecting a degree of substance to the magazine, and some are busier with short articles, news items, fillers, adverts and the odd cartoon. There are plenty of illustrative photographs, and the overall impression is of a vibrant entertaining read. WHAT’S IN IT? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ As with all established magazines, WF has a consistent basic format, yet each issue provides plenty of new articles on a range of topics. I feel a comfortable familiarity with the publication but it is sufficiently varied to maintain my interest. From my experience of WF, the magazine appears to incorporate four main themes; the short regular spots, published new work from the readers of WF, features on the craft of writing and its practitioners, and articles on the business side of being a writer. The Regular Spots Essential to all magazines, there are plenty of these distributed throughout each issue. They include: Editorial (by John Jenkins) Writers’ Circle (a two-page spread of readers’ letters – the star letter wins a writer’s reference tit
le) Writers’ Forum Diary (includes dates for upcoming national festivals, book signings and competitions) Crossword Competition (the prize is a copy of the OUP “Guide to Style”) Writers’ Web Directory (listings of useful websites for writers) Notice Board (mainly adverts relating to courses and services for writers) Writers’ Forum Book Choice (reviews of books on the craft and publication of your writing) Writers’ Fiction In each issue there are at least two original stories, and several poems, written by the winners and runners-up of the monthly competitions. These are some of the pages I turn to first. I find the standard of writing high and inspirational, and because there is no specified subject matter, the variety of work published makes it all the more interesting. The monthly short-story competition costs £10 (£6 for subscribers) to enter and this includes a critique of the story which will be sent to you if you are unsuccessful. Winners receive £150 - £250. The poetry competition costs £5 per poem and winners receive £25 - £100. Writing and Writers For me, a particularly encouraging aspect of WF is its monthly focus on young writers. As well as running competitions, the magazine features all aspects of young talent. Budding journalists, poets and fiction writers are interviewed. For example, in the December 2003 issue there is an article about 16-year-old triplets who have designed a website to encourage other young writers. I am always fascinated to hear how successful authors started their writing careers and how they maintain their success and work rate. WF publishes interviews with a variety of writers and recently has featured Pa
tricia Scanlan and Carmen Posadas. One of the best interviews I read was in November’s edition with Margaret Atwood. She discusses the relationship between science and fiction, with particular reference to her novel, Oryx and Crake. As a writer with a scientific background, I found this especially pertinent. Other contributors to the latest issues of WF provide advice on all aspects of the craft of writing, including comedy, teen fiction, dialogue, and writing for trade publications. The July and December issues list all the articles published in the preceding six months, and you can order back copies where available, or photocopies of individual articles for a small fee. Everything is there, from “Interviews Made Easy” to “How to Write Good Sex Scenes” (steady on, there!). The Business of Writing Suited to authors who have already been published or those intending to make writing more than a hobby, articles in this strand focus on subjects like impressing editors, approaching and dealing with agents, marketing your book, and copyright. Information technology is a topic featured every month and recent articles have included advice on printer purchase, and how to build your web page. WHERE IS IT SOLD? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ The magazine is published as part of Writers International Ltd (which also produces World Wide Writers, a quarterly fiction magazine). Eleven monthly issues, costing £3 each, are produced annually (December and January share one issue) and are available from WH Smith and other leading newsagents. Publication date is generally one week before the actual month of issue. Subscription is now £30 per annum, payable in one lump
sum via cheque or credit card. A form can be used from the magazine, or one can be downloaded from the website at: www.writers-forum.com . WHY SHOULD I BUY IT? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ There’s no doubt that WF lives up to its claim to be an inspiration and encouragement to all writers. It is well produced, has a sound format and provides a huge variety of articles on all aspects of writing. However, whilst I would certainly recommend it and will continue to buy it myself, I can’t finish this review without mentioning its more famous competitor in the field, Writers’ News/Writing Magazine. I have to say, I find the latter slightly better – more issues, better value for money, comparable features but more newsy. This is reflected in its popularity; WF regularly produces 25,000 copies, while Writers’ News has a print run of about 37,000. For these reasons, I’ve deducted a star from the rating for WF. And what’s happened to my enthusiasm after reading through the magazines again? Well, this time I’ve actually stopped making excuses, summoned a bit of confidence and have had a go at writing. The results are some consumer reviews, a health article to be published in a (very small!) local paper and some short stories that I intend submitting to a couple of magazines. So I guess WF does live up to it’s aim after all. Now, where’s my lycra top and gym membership card? Copyright: Sally3 2004
This bi-monthly publication is aimed at the short story writer, although it would still be useful to anybody who likes to write or has aspirations of one day hitting the jackpot. Some editions may prove more useful than others. I find that it doesn't always have anything it that I can't get from a good instructional book like, (Teach Yourself for example). The choice of what is of value and what is not is very much a personal one. I would suggest that rather than subscribing, it's a good idea to look at each edition before you buy it and see what it has to offer you. In general this is a good, plain speaking publication and is ideal for those who want to improve their writing skills.
Writers’ forum is a bi-monthly magazine published by Writers International Ltd. It’s the main market rival to the more popular Writers Magazine. Where it differs from its rival is it's target audience, which is mainly writers of short stories. In every issue there are features and articles about how to improve your writing technique, hints and tips about writing for a certain genre – this month it is erotic fiction. There is a master class feature, which runs for more than one issue; currently this is explaining how to build good characters for a novel or short story. While it is aimed at the fiction writer, the magazine does contain a poetry section that includes how, and where to enter poetry competitions for prizes. There is also a section called market intelligence, which features magazines and what kind of articles and stories they currently require. Another good feature in the magazine is it’s technology and web pages, where it explains how writers can get the most use out of their pc, it also contains a list of websites each month that are helpful or interesting to writers. Writers’ Forum also contains information on writing courses, both full, and part time. I think it’s good value for money as it’s packed with lots of information, and if you are interested in writing there’s plenty of tips here that will help you. You can find out more about the magazine at it’s website www.worldwidewriters.com