Defining Kidlit

What’s the difference between writing for kids and writing for adults? You may assume it’s something like using simpler words for kids, or ‘dumbing down’ the story, but that’s not the case. Kids can handle challenging words and concepts. Kids do have different needs and expectations, though. There’s a great DIY MFA post here with… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Benefits of Tough Feedback

The first time I heard, “there’s nothing about the main character that makes me care about her,” it felt like someone punched me in the throat. Yes, a bit of a dramatic response, but right then and there that’s how I felt. I sat for days afterward wondering what was wrong with me. Had four… Read more »

Six Key Elements of Historical Narrative

Some may argue that fantasy offers the most wide-open landscape for storytelling. But with 5,000 years of recorded human history spanning many civilizations both extant and extinct, empires that have come and gone, innumerable people both famous and infamous, and seven continents (well, maybe Antarctica isn’t quite so rich a source), the worlds and characters… Read more »

The Comics World of Julia Wertz

I came late to The Fart Party, only discovering the wonderfully funny work of Julia Wertz long after her diary comics zines [RE1] of that title had been published as a collection in The Museum of Mistakes. I found this hilarious book in a comics store in Ashland, Oregon, and bartered for it with my… Read more »

Ask the Editor: Getting Conflicting Critique

Dear Editor, I’ve been working on my current manuscript for a while now. It’s special to me, and I want it to be the best it can, so I’ve had it read by an editor and gotten feedback from other writers and even an agent. I’ve murdered it so much at this point. Like I… Read more »

Practical Magic: Voice in Character Creation

You’ve done it. Developed a writing voice distinctly your own. Readers can clearly hear YOU in your articles, essays, and poems. Congrats! But what about your fiction? If you’re like me, the trick of bringing that voice to fiction, and writing believable characters—with their own voices—is not so clear. In my first article on voice,… Read more »

Signpost Scenes — Doorway of No Return #1

Here we go again! Week #5 of James Scott Bell’s 14 signpost scenes, and I promise that you’re in for a big one. Why? Because signpost #5, otherwise known as The Doorway of No Return #1 (The Point of No Return, abbreviated PONR), is one of the three massive, explosive, impossible-to-write-a-story-without plot points. If you’re… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Steps to Craft Your Creative Narrative

People love a good story, because telling stories is how we share our experiences with others. A well-formed story explains the complex simply so that it will stick with the reader or listener. For a creative, telling the narrative of how and why your creations come about, will not only focus yourself but also inspire… Read more »

The Opposite is Possible Theory of Character Development

Here’s a secret writing exercise I only recently learned: If you want characters to feel real for the reader, you have to hint they have the potential to be the opposite of what they appear. Wait, what? The opposite of what the character seems . . . wouldn’t that mean the character is acting out… Read more »