Looking to brush up your writing skills or learn a new trick or two? You've come to the right place! Check back weekly for helpful tips and articles that make your writing better. 


The year 2022 was a banner year for retellings of classic stories, fairy tales, and myths, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Recent and upcoming examples include Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Daughter of Doctor Moreau (a riff on The Island of Doctor Moreau), Nghi Vo’s The Chosen and the Beautiful (a...

Writing in the Public Domain (Part I)

January 30, 2023
by Carina Bissett

When to Listen to your Beta Readers and When to Go Rogue

October 24, 2021
by Nandi Taylor

So you’ve written a book, and you’re no amateur; you know the best writers get other eyes on their work, that art is not created in a vacuum. You’ve enlisted the help of beta readers, maybe friends or people in your writing circle, who will give you that valuable feedback you need. But when you finally get your work back, their comments leave you scratching your head.

What do they mean...

Tips for Critiquing

October 8, 2021
by J.M. Frey

Working as a sensitivity reader or a beta reader for a writer friend is one of the greatest joys of being part of the writing community. You get to read a new story before anyone else and you have the privilege of helping your writer friend turn their just-pulled-from-the-cave-wall stone into a highly polished, beautifully cut, sparkling diamond. 

Obviously there are no hard-and-...

Narrative Voice: How to Make Voice do the Heavy Lifting

September 23, 2021
by J.M. Frey

At this point you should have your story's mold and sand to fill it. Now you are ready to create your narrative lens, and the way you shape it provides more than just a point of view.  You can use voice to convey many things in a story. For example, it's an especially good way to impart vital information, helping you avoid the dreaded infodump. 

Character Background ...

Narrative Voice: Vocabulary Choice and Tone (Part Two)

August 24, 2021
by J.M. Frey

This is the second part of our discussion on narrative vocabulary and tone.  To get the full context, start here: Narrative Voice: Vocabulary Choice and Tone (Part One) Part One focuses on vocabulary choice and ways to shed light on your characters' inner thoughts and world view through the language they use.

What is “Tone”? 

Compared to vocabulary choice, tone is...

Narrative Voice: Vocabulary Choice and Tone (Part One)

August 10, 2021
by J.M. Frey

If your characters are the lens through which the reader experiences your story, and you the writer are the glassmaker, then vocabulary makes up the grains of sand which create the glass.  Likewise, tone is the mold into which you pour your hot glass to set the lens.

Some grains will be hard, rough, imperfect; and, poured into a straight-edged mold, would make a wonderful lens for...

Narrative Voice: Point of View and Tenses

July 28, 2021
by J.M. Frey

Now that you’ve decided who is going to be telling your reader your story, let’s take a closer look at the technical aspects of how that story is going to be conveyed, and what the impacts of these technical choices may be on a reader’s experience.

Point of View (who is telling your story) 

The Point-of-View (POV) is the perspective lens through which your reader...

Archetypal Story Structures; or, Doing It By the Booker (Part Two)

July 11, 2021
by Ashley Tenn

In our last post, we took a look at Christopher Booker's 7 Basic Plots and covered the Journey and Return, Quest, and Rebirth archetypes. We'll cover the final four structures here.  

Conquering the Beast

Also known as "Overcoming the Monster", this story structure focuses on an underdog who must face a great threat or evil. The format is extremely ...

Archetypal Story Structures; or, Doing It By the Booker (Part One)

June 26, 2021
by Ashley Tenn

Stories are organized around a sequence of events that contain plot drivers that influence what happens in that section. Throughout time, storytellers have drawn upon common story structures that have evolved within their culture.

In Western literature, traditional storytelling formats are largely inherited from classical, or Greco-Roman structures, which...

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