Signpost Scenes — A Kick in the Shins

If you read my last article on the Point of No Return Decision (Signpost Scene #5 in James Scott Bell’s Superstructure) you know that every Lead makes a HUGE decision that launches them into Act II. But what happens after that massive moment? For some weaker first drafts of a WIP, sometimes nothing. This is… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Tips For Writing A Helpful Critique

“Critique days” were met with both anxiety and excitement in my undergraduate creative writing courses. The whole class would sit in a circle and, one-by-one, we would each have our writing critiqued by both our peers and our instructors. Talk about nerve wracking. Sometimes the feedback would be helpful and encouraging. Other times, I would… Read more »

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 »