Jess Zafarris

#5onFri: The Etymology (Word Origins) of Five Literary Terms

Anyone who’s been through a high school English course knows a host of literary terms, from “archetype” and “alliteration” to “satire” and “trope.” But do you know where these words come from? I’ve been writing about etymology —word origins—for about 10 years, first on my blog UselessEtymology.com, and now in a middle-grade nonfiction book Once Upon… Read more »

Additional Reading on the Theme of Man and the Natural World

I love a good story that explores the theme of man and the natural world. Maybe it’s because I’m a nature lover at heart. Or maybe it’s because I often draw on nature for inspiration for my poetry. Regardless, when a book’s jacket copy hints at a unique natural setting, a character’s fight for survival… Read more »

female sleuths

#5onFri: Five Female Sleuths to Track Down Now

As a feminist who grew up being teased for her intelligence and lack of athletic talent, I’m enthralled by tales of women using their brains and brawn. You can probably tell from this list that I find it particularly satisfying when women kick butt in eras when it was uncommon for women to do so…. Read more »

A Whole New World: Graphic Novels for Kids

Graphic novels are rising in popularity, across age groups. In September 2019 The New York Times announced, citing “reader interest and market strength,” that it would bring back its monthly “Graphic Books” best seller list, which includes fiction, nonfiction, kidlit, comics, and manga. Topping the list upon its October 2019 return is the Middle Grade… Read more »

Drawing Power

Trigger warning—contains memories of sexual abuse I’m reading Drawing Power, a new comics anthology (edited by Diane Noomin with an introduction by Roxanne Gay). Inspired by the #metoo movement, sixty-three comics artists, including Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Liana Finck, Ariel Schrag, Una, and Emil Ferris tell their stories of sexual harassment and abuse. I was excited when… Read more »

Deep Dive into Short Forms: Novelettes and Novellas

The novella is the comeback kid of literature. (Just ask The Atlantic Monthly and Forbes magazines.) And it’s brought a sidekick, the novelette, along for its return. Of course, I couldn’t be happier. I love novellas. Which comes as no surprise, I’m sure.  I bet you love novellas too but don’t realize it. Have you… Read more »

Rebecca Fish Ewan discusses The Lost Words

The Impact of Lost Words

My kids will be officially young adults in a few weeks, when my son turns eighteen. This threshold into adulthood has stirred up memories from their early childhood. How I sang nursery rhymes to my daughter and had to change the genders of all the heroes in her bedtime stories as I read. How my… Read more »

Deep Dive into Short Forms: Historical Poetry

My next few articles will act as a deep dive into specific short form works. We’ll examine a piece from each short form and dive deep into its inner workings to find the path to success in our own short form pieces. Last month at the Looking Glass Rock Writers Conference, I rediscovered mystery and… Read more »