Fantasy Writers

Audio Cinema

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    Joelle Stone


    Heh, thanks! I’ll try and find Audacity and maybe play around with it a little.



    Brian Stansell


    Hi Joelle,

    Here is the official site if you want to download it: “www.audacityteam.org”
    Also check out their page: “www.audacityteam.org/download/online-safety-when-downloading/”
    These days, one cannot be too careful.
    Don’t let Goggle or any other search engine send you to anywhere else, if you decide you want to download it. Audacity works on both Windows, Linux, and Apple/Mac PCs.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    Joelle Stone


    Aha, thanks! Unfortunately, I’m on a Chromebook, so I don’t think it’s going to work on mine. Nuts. XD Maybe I’ll try and find something else.




    Hi! I was wondering if you would mind sharing the link for the recording app you use. I searched Voice Recorder Pro and there were several to choose from.


    Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you ever know who would love the person you hide.

    Brian Stansell


    I use this one in the Apple App Store.


    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.



    Hey Brian! I got the notification of your post, but I’m not seeing it here. That may just be my device not loading it though.

    Anyway, yes I really like the app you suggested, thank you! And thanks for checking in with me. I didn’t get the chance to record over the weekend so I was going to yesterday but I came down with something and spent the entire day asleep on the couch. Today I am much better so thanks to your reminder I intend on doing it today. I have a few things to do (like keeping my brother alive while my mom is at work. So far so good, but he says I owe him $1000 in exchange for some Catan playing cards…) (he’s 4) but after I finish my list I will definitely record! Thanks for reminding me! 🙂

    Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you ever know who would love the person you hide.

    Brian Stansell


    Hi Erynne!
    I hope you are feeling better.  I am so sorry you were sick.
    Is your brother extorting money from you? 😁
    I’d pay him in Monopoly money and tell him to invest in bitcoin.  Sounds like he might be a stock trader when he grows up.  Did you ever see the e-Trade baby commercial on TV?
    Let me know if the Voice app works for you.
    Have a good evening! 🙂

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    Mr.Trip Williams


    I’m new to the forum, so I hope I’m doing this correct, but I love this idea of posting audio clips. I hope to put one up soon… though I may not have much time to go back and listen to all the wonderful recordings prior to this…

    I was enthralled by your writing – however, the background sounds were a bit too much in the foreground, if you know what I mean. I had to get used to them before I could really get into your story.

    That being said, I agree with @emily-waldorf in that the beginning was a bit wordy. The scene setting was awesome, and I could picture it, but it dragged on long after I got the mental picture, I think.

    Christie’s horse turned, as it reached the cliffside, running laterally in the direction that the other horse had gone.

    I think after this part, it did get better, however, some examples of where you repeat descriptions would be for instance the dual sections that talk about the churning sea foam, or another example would be the trio of sections that talk of lightening-streaked sky, loud crack, and sky drums. (Lots of repeat descriptions of the rain too…)

    Again, I love the visuals and the word choices for the descriptions are incredible – just perhaps a bit too much.

    It captivated me, don’t get me wrong, it was really really good, but I was impatient at times to get to the next part in the story, because I really wanted to know what happened next. It’s a good problem to have.

    My only other note was, the analogy of the angry kid throwing marbles didn’t seem to fit the mood or the tone of the piece. It seemed awkward, put there. May just be me though.

    Thanks so much for starting this, for posting that, and providing this venue to challenge ourselves!

    Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried. ~ G.K.C.

    Brian Stansell


    Hi Jared,

    I totally agree. I am a writer-in-progress with much need of help from fellow authors and readers.
    This is my second pass through the “editing” of my WIP, and I’ve taken to doing dramatic recordings of it with atmospheric background and music.  I think it helps me visualize not just what is going on in the foreground, but also think of the scene as having its own character voice.  I tend to write cinematically but tend to hamper myself with too much description.  This becomes all too obvious when I do a dramatic reading, but that helps me recognize my flaws in a way I might gloss over otherwise.
    Thank you for the input and review. I am still revising and will make these edits and more.  I so appreciate the help.  I think this method also helps us perceive our scenes in a different way, making what needs revise more obvious.
    Some writers, myself included, tend to “beat the dead horse” with description and metaphor, where only a few simple images help.
    Kind of like salt.  A little bit provides savor, too much sours the experience.  It also impacts the pacing of a scene, and that becomes abundantly clear when it is read aloud.
    My clips are basically some of my dirty laundry. [Heh-heh!]
    Whether we know it or not, readers tend to “hear” the words in their imagination, which calls forth associated imagery so that they “see” it in their minds too.

    What I hope this Forum thread does is open readers to thinking about how their writing might be experienced, rather than just read.
    I am still working with the Audacity software to get my foreground reading maximized over the dramatic audio background.  I do need to tone down volumes, but this is my amateur effort that will perhaps be perfected the more I do it.
    I would love to hear one of yours.  I think each posting in this thread allows us one link per post, so I would put it on a cloud-based shared drive, and make the link accessible.  We try to keep the clips to around the 5-10 minute range.  If you need the link to Audacity, it is a free download and open-source software and makes it easy to edit clips and add in effects tracks and an instrumental music track.  There are many non-royalty, no-copyright instrumental tracks available, so long as you do not monetize the result.  I think dramatic music can set a baseline tempo, which reveals where the beats of a written scene may lag or overrun.  This too reveals a lot about what I need to fix lyrically.

    I agree about “the angry kid image” too.  I’m glad you picked that up.  It creates an odd distracting word picture that lessens the intensity of the scene.  I was thinking about the storm itself being a spiteful persona somehow, but haven’t struck on just the right thing. There are a lot of instances where less is more here.
    As you can tell from this posting response, I struggle with being too verbose.

    I appreciate any advice that will sharpen me. 🙂

    As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. [Proverbs 27:17 NLT]

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    Mr.Trip Williams

    Hope this works.


    Moniker: @Jared-Williams

    Words (1,215) Minutes (6:54)




    “It smells good.”

    I turned in surprise. Hanniumm was on his feet, leaning up against one of the chairs.

    I dropped the stirring stick and rushed to his side. “Hanniumm! How are you feeling? Are you sure you’re okay to be standing?”

    I grasped his arm with one hand and placed the other over the wound on his chest. I hadn’t noticed before, but the scales were gone and a large, bruised, indented area was left in its place. It looked like a scar, the bruise was so finely outlined.

    Hanniumm let go of the chair he was bracing himself on and reached up to hold my hand. His skin was warm to the touch, and our hand lingered there, together, upon his chest.

    “I’m glad you’re uninjured,” he whispered.

    I was captured in his eyes, and all the questions I’d wanted to ask fled. “Thanks to you,” I managed to say after an embarrassingly long pause.

    Hanniumm looked around. “How did we get here?”

    He was still holding my hand. “Um… it’s kind of a long story.”

    Spying the extra beddings and rucksacks, Hanniumm’s face hardened as he let go of my hand and stepped back.

    “Please tell me you haven’t involved more people in this.” He shook his head, and I couldn’t tell if he was getting angry or sad.


    The door opened and Semiramis walked in, followed closely by Yaxkin.

    “No.” Hanniumm stumbled forward and grabbed ahold of a chair to brace himself.

    Semiramis and Yaxkin stopped when they saw Hanniumm, and Semiramis smiled at him.

    “Long time no see, sir.”

    Hanniumm’s breathing increased at an alarming rate. “Please tell me the king is not involved in this,” he said through clenched teeth.

    “Um.” Semiramis and Yaxkin exchanged glances. “The king-”

    “Tell me the king isn’t a party to this.” Hanniumm yelled.

    Semiramis stepped forward timidly. “He had this hovel made for your recovery, and he left us-”

    Hanniumm screamed and threw the chair behind him. It crashed against the wall, the force echoing in the small space.

    “No,” Hanniumm screamed, pounding his fist on the table. The force left an indent and a crack running half-way up the middle.

    “Hanniumm?” He was scaring me.

    He pounded the table twice more, then flipped it and kicked the next chair over. Repeating ‘no’ thrice more, he charged the wall and slammed his fist into it. The hovel shook, and small chips of wood flew out from the impact.

    I’d never seen his temper before. Was he actually capable of murder?

    Semiramis was frozen on her feet with her mouth gaping open. Yaxkin had all but blended into the wooden background behind him. His dark clothing, however, stood out like a sore thumb, as if they were floating in thin air.

    Hanniumm’s fist remained pressed into the wood. I couldn’t even see his knuckles, they were so far indented into the wall.

    I reached out a hand to him, wishing to somehow calm him down, but my feet felt like iron weights. “Th- the king saved us, Hanniumm. We need his help.”

    “No, you don’t understand.” He pulled his fist from the wall; large splinters poked out of his hand like quills. “He will raze this country to the ground.” Hanniumm fell to his knees and covered his face with his hands.

    Semiramis closed her mouth and moved forward. “Who will raze this country?” she asked.

    Hanniumm looked up at her with a genuine face of fear, and it sent shivers down my spine.


    I’d never heard the name, and Semiramis looked confused as well. “Who?” she asked.

    Hanniumm took a deep breath and slumped his shoulders, as if resigning himself to his fate. “The vaelintrien who’s been hunting me. His name is Cairbre, and you’ve never fought a man like him.”

    Semiramis chuckled nervously. “Sir, you know we’ve faced many vaelintrien sages. Surely-”

    “Toddlers compared to him!”

    I couldn’t believe Hanniumm would compare a sage to a toddler, but the fire in his eyes convinced me he was serious. But sages were the strongest essence wielders of the vaelintrien race. If they were as toddlers, just who was this Cairbre guy?”

    Semiramis looked as shocked as I was. “Are you serious-”

    Hanniumm interrupted her. “I told you we can’t get the king involved.” He stared at me with a pained expression. My breath caught in my throat, and I didn’t know what to do. When did he tell me that?

    Semiramis squinted her eyes. “You fought him and survived. Twice, from what I’ve heard. So with the king’s-”

    “That’s because he was only after me!” Hanniumm slammed his fist into the ground. “If the king gets the army involved, he will be forced to resort to…” He ran a shaky hand through his hair. Blood from his splintered hand dripped onto the floor. “He’ll be a one-man army.”

    Rushing over to my supplies, I grabbed a cotton cloth, what little thyme I had left, and some wrapping, and went to Hanniumm’s side. I couldn’t fathom what he was saying, but at least I could mend his hand.

    “No matter how many men the king has with him, it won’t be enough. The kingdom’s never faced a force like this,” Hanniumm finished.

    “A one man army?” Semiramis’ head leaned back as she squinted at Hanniumm.

    I took Hanniumm’s hand in my own as Semiramis continued to question him.

    “How cou-”

    “The king!” Hanniumm tore his hand away from mine as he stumbled to his feet. “Perhaps it’s not too late. Where’s the king?” He grabbed Semiramis by the arms. “Where’s the king right now?”

    “Hanniumm!” I followed after him, and Yaxkin rushed forward, grabbing Hanniumm’s arm.

    Still under Hanniumm’s grasp, Semiramis raised her hands, palms up. “Woah, just slow down now. You’re not making any sense.”

    Semiramis angled her hands down and twisted her wrists, breaking Hanniumm’s grip, then brought them back around in a circular motion to grasp Hanniumm’s wrists.

    “Let’s take a deep breath, calm down, and start from the beginning,” she said in a slow, forceful tone.

    Hanniumm closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “You’re right. Forgive me.” Opening his eyes once more, he said, “At least tell me the king is alright.”

    Semiramis nodded and let go of his arms. “Last time we checked.”

    With a sigh, Hanniumm sat cross-legged on the ground and raised his bloody hand toward me. The three of us sat around him, and I began to clean and wrap his wound.

    “I showed you that move,” Hanniumm addressed Semiramis.

    She nodded with a smug look on her face. “I only learn from the best.”

    Hanniumm sighed and stared at the floor. He looked so solemn, it didn’t seem like he’d just lost his temper a moment ago.

    After I finished wrapping his hand, I gently placed it back in his lap. Now that he’d calmed down some, his breathing had returned to normal, but all his muscles glistened with sweat from all the exertion he’d given.

    Despite my reasoning earlier, I couldn’t deny my attraction to him. A knot formed in the pit of my stomach, for the chances it was unrequited were even higher now. Closing my eyes, I forced myself to be logical. I was his doctor. Nothing more.



    Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried. ~ G.K.C.



    Whoa, sorry, seemed to have died for a while.

    I hope you are feeling better.  I am so sorry you were sick.

    Feeling much better now, thanks! My body just decided to quit working for a day, I guess.

    Is your brother extorting money from you? 😁

    He is, please help me. I’m scared 🥺

    I’d pay him in Monopoly money and tell him to invest in bitcoin.  Sounds like he might be a stock trader when he grows up.  Did you ever see the e-Trade baby commercial on TV?

    Lol, does anyone even understand Bitcoin?? I don’t XD

    And, no, I haven’t. I’ll have to look him up.

    Let me know if the Voice app works for you.

    Well, I actually spent hours recording one day, but for some reason the app only picked up bits and pieces. I  found another app that is pretty good. Hopefully I can record again soon, but unfortunately I think Tuesday will be my first opportunity to do so.

    Have a good evening! 🙂

    You too!! Did you get my last email or did my phone glitch?

    Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you ever know who would love the person you hide.



    Scene Questions

    1.       Is there anything that stood out to you as intriguing about this scene?

    The whole mystery surrounding the Resolve was really cool! After reading @obrian-of-the-surface-world ‘s comments I also became intrigued about why Crin just allowed some of his resolve to be stolen…. very interesting….

    2.       What would you say the mood was of this scene?

    probably a lot of frustration coming from both Malar and Crin, so a lot of tension in general. I liked it!

    3.       What character(s) in this scene would you like to know more about?

    Hmm… probably Crin the most

    4.       Which character, if any, do you feel the most empathy toward in this scene alone?

    Mmmm… that’s hard. Since it’s first person I connect with Malar, but the whole argument I sided with Crin so….  Crin? idk😂

    5.       Which of the following, as a reader, do you wish I had developed more fully in this scene?

    a.       Setting

    I thought you did the setting great! not too much, but enough for me to get my bearings and imagine most everything.

    b.       Character thoughts and motivations

    Um, I think they’re thoughts/views were pretty clear, maybe a tiny bit more on deep motivations- i’m so sorry my brain’s not working rn xP When I was listening to it, I understood it, but now I can’t remember so I think you were good

    c.       Character appearance and/or mood expressions

    Not really- it flowed nice and everything was pretty easy to imagine even without specifics

    6.       Do you feel that the dialogue in this scene flows or is mechanical and stilted?

    I thought it flowed well! When Malar got a bit dramatic near the end felt a tiny bit off, but not too much- maybe more lead-in to those comments? idk

    7.       Did you learn something in this scene that you wondered about in a previous scene?

    Sowwy I don’t understand this question. ack. xP

    8.       Did this scene make you want to read more scenes? (Why or why not?)

    Yeah, I think it did! it was intriguing and I wanted to know how this would play out/my questions would get answered

    9.       Is there any part of the scene that you personally felt did not belong?

    Not really. The dramatic lines near the end with Malar seemed only slightly off, but not so much that I’d say it “didn’t belong.” So I think just more build-up to them would help fit it in and maybe reveal some more motivations

    10.   What, if anything, would you change about this scene to make it more interesting to you?

    Well, that little bit about Malar’s motivations (like, why does he feel like he’s been born to die? is there more behind it than just patriotism?) leading up to his dramatic line that he immediately regrets (love that bit of humor btw XD), but not really anything else that I can think of. Maybe a tiny bit more description, maybe of Crin’s face when he hands Malar his knife back, just to give a little hint at what he’s thinking. But really, great scene! I loved it!

    (and yep i’m super late to the game so sorry if this is now irrelevant 😂)

    God bless! Hopefully I can do a little recording soon. XD

    Everyone has a choice; but how will we make the right ones?
    (hint: God ;))



    Okay, so I finally got around to making a recording. XD We’ll see how this goes.

    Moniker: @KingdomFire7

    Words: (1493); Minutes: (9:49)

    Recording: Through the Eye of the Needle


    I shot upright, sweat beading on my forehead. My heart smashed against my ribs so loudly I could hear it. I stared into the darkness. Dark outlines of broken dressers met my eyes, and a familiar smell my nose.

    “Oh— oh just a dream,” I murmured, falling back on the musty blankets. “I’m still alive— I’m still alive.”

    Three seconds later I heard someone scream into my ear. I peeled my face away from the blankets and turned my eyes upward. Fav’s face met me, and it wasn’t a happy one.

    “Get up, Nole! It’s morning!” he yelled.

    My only answer was a moan.

    That was the end of his patience. “Oh what the nebula!” he shouted. “If you want to die that’s your business.”

    He turned and stalked out of the room.

    “Thank God a few more minutes,” I whispered into the blankets. They smelled awful, but— familiar. This was the only home I had, and life would last a few more minutes.

    Or would it?

    I forced myself to stand and smacked the life back into my face. The dirty light bulb attempted to shine overhead, and I could just make out the sounds of the cars bouncing down the streets above.

    I zipped up my jacket and rushed out into the main area of the basement. There the other guys were strapping on knives and stretching. Fav appeared at the bottom of the stairs.

    “Jak!” he shouted.

    “Yeah, man?” answered Jak, Fav’s second-in-command. He was tall, thin as a knife, with dark skin and darker hair.

    “Lead the boys down Lar Street. We’re robbing the Carters’ today.”

    “Ooh, boy,” said Jak, turning to the guys. “Ya hear ‘im? Carter place. We go’n’ need an awful big fork for this chicken. You boys think you’re up to it?”

    We all screamed our affirmation. Jak nodded, and the guys started lining up behind him. I moved up to the back of the line. Fav spotted me.

    “Heyheyhey!” he snapped, turning his sharp eyebrows on me. He pointed me out to Jak. “Leave the wimp rat behind,” he said. “If he wants to make some cash he’s gonna have to make it on his own. Come on, boys, let’s roll.”

    Jak and the guys nodded and followed him up the stairway. I pulled my collar up around my face and jogged after them. Fav wasn’t about to just leave me behind: as much as I hated him, I needed his help to get my life back.

    I got up to the last guy in line: my friend Rood. I grabbed his collar. “Rood!” I hissed.

    “What?” He sounded annoyed.

    “I need you to sneak me through.”

    “Forget it!” he said, frowning. “Fav’ll figure it out, and then he’ll be after me for helping you.”


    “Forget it, Nole,” he said, mounting the next step. “You’ll find a way to get some cash on your own. See ya,” he said, and nearly fled from me to catch up with the other guys.

    Get some cash on my own? I’d never make it around the police without the whole gang. Here a gang needs strength more than stealth. The police know how desperate we thieves are. They patrol the streets constantly.

    I narrowed my eyes and ran up the steps. Fav was at the top, ushering Rood through the door. He saw me out of the corner of his eye and slammed the door.

    “Please, Fav,” I pleaded, stopping a few steps short of his, “I need to get through. The police’ll kill me if I go out alone. Let me go with you: I’ll obey you, I swear!”

    “No.” Fav glared at me, his hands in his pockets.

    That was it. I knew what would happen if I didn’t get more money. My life was running out fast— I’d sold five years just last week and knew I didn’t have much left.

    I whipped my knife out of my boot and slashed at Fav. He drew back, letting my knife glance against the concrete wall. By the time I was ready for the next slice, his knife was in his hand and fury in his face. He stuck me under the ribs and sent a kick to my stomach.

    The world went red and I tumbled backwards down the stairs. My head struck the concrete and pink sparks lit up my vision.

    “I don’t have time for idiot rebels,” I heard Fav say, his voice low and far off.

    The door slammed. The clock ticked. I was alone.

    I gasped a breath in and pressed my face against the cold floor, feeling my heart pump the life right out of my body.

    So this is it: I’ve run out of leash, I thought. What a terrible run I’ve had.

    My life played out before my half-dead eyes. Our happy family back at the farm. Dad’s crop dying. The taxes skyrocketing. Mom crying. Dad taking the bottle.

    I’d been fed up with it. Poverty. Death. So I gave the city a try: pay my way to success with my very life. Yeah, selling fifty years for a million bucks turned out real well for me. I wasted my money. Wasted my life. Fav took me in.

    But it was over now: too late. I’d run wrong, hung out with the wrong guys, and I was paying for it. My life was gone, and was going to the Greyfells.


    “Get the stinkin’ nebula outta my way!” shouted a man, shoving me aside. I barely noticed. Everyone was mean here in the Greyfells. I’d been here for a week, I guessed.

    The road was clogged with people, but then again it always was. The moment I got here I was walking, walking with the rest of ‘em down the road in the gloom. We all went different ways, but we were all on the same road.

    I walked on.

    I’d wasted my life. I was dead now. There was no way I could get a second chance. No way. No way I could return to life. My life had been death. My death was death. Life didn’t exist.

    I walked on.

    “Ho! Stop right there son!”

    I tried to ignore the voice and keep walking, but the voice— it was— rich, deep, and kind. Like the mane of a lion, or the fur of a bear. I tilted my head up.

    A few feet ahead of me and to the side stood a Man, people cussing at him and pushing past him. The Man wore a smile, and he had a thick beard and thick hair. His clothes were rough working clothes but very clean.

    “Here, come over son, so we can talk,” he said.

    I came over.

    The Man looked me in the eyes. The life in them pierced me. “Why are you here?” He asked. His tone made lying impossible.

    My eyes went to the ground. “I— I wasted my life, Sir.” The words came out in a whisper— barely audible.


    I winced when he said it. Life is impossible. Life is impossible, the thoughts pounded. They beat my heart down into my shoes. The cursing of the passersby and my own thoughts was all I heard— an ambience of death and regret. The Man spoke again, and his voice shattered all other sound.

    “Come with me,” he said. “Through the eye of the needle.”

    “What?” But my heart squeezed faster.

    “I will bring you back to life, but only if you are willing to leave everything behind.”

    “I don’t have anything to leave behind, Sir.”

    The Man smiled. “Yes, you do,” he said. “Your guilt, your sins, your death. You must leave them behind if you want to follow.”

    My heart clenched, everything inside it hanging on for dear life. Their shadows burned me. “God you don’t know how much I want to,” I whispered. The Man smiled.

    “I do know,” he answered. “Will you leave them behind?”

    I breathed in deep, my heart wobbling. “I will, Sir.” The shadows loosened. “I’ll go with you.”

    The man knelt and held out his hands. “Pour them out,” he said.

    Everything within me screamed “no,” but— but then I looked at his open hands, and— and I trusted. I poured out my heart to him, telling him of all that I’d done, all that I’d wasted, all that I’d wished didn’t happen. And as I did, shadows fell from my heart into his hands, and they were swallowed up in beams of light.

    Then the Man stood up, wearing a smile so deep and loving and joyful it cut me through to the bones. It hurt, but it was the good hurt. I felt lighter, taller, brighter. The Man held out his hand to me and said:

    “Are you ready, son? Are you ready to go through the eye of the needle?”

    “Yes, Sir,” I answered. “I’m ready.”

    Okay, I hope that should work. XD God bless y’all! ;D

    Everyone has a choice; but how will we make the right ones?
    (hint: God ;))

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Enjoying This Article? Get the Full Series!

You can download the entire Harnessing the Power of Poetry series in e-book form for free!

Learn what surprising insights and techniques novelists can glean from poets.

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Uncover the Secret to Relatable Characters

Uncover the Secret to Relatable Characters

Learning how to help readers connect with your story's characters doesn't need to be a mystery.

Get our Evoking Reader Empathy e-book to discover how successful authors build empathy.

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Stop Using Meaningless Character Questionnaires

Stop Using Meaningless Character Questionnaires

Knowing your character's favorite ice cream flavor won't help you write engaging protagonists.


Our questionnaire is different. Use it to discover your character's core fears, longings, hopes, and needs.



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Plotting Is Hard

Plotting Is Hard

That’s why we created a worksheet that will help you make sure your story hits all the right plot beats.


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Learn What the Bible Says about Engaging Plots

Learn What the Bible Says about Engaging Plots

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Learn How to Write Christian Themes that Resonate

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