COVER REVEAL: Worldbuilding Through Culture

COVER REVEAL: Worldbuilding Through Culture

This beautiful cover is by Ruthanne Reid, and always, it’s fantastic.

It’s taken nearly two years of work, but I have finally completed converting my in-person presentation workshop “Worldbuilding Through Culture” into a workbook! Originally conceived and given as a presentation to help writers break out of their own cultural biases in order to create a thorough and imaginative secondary world, it was re-jigged into a downloadable guide and question list when the first Lockdowns hit, and all the in-person version of my workshop was cancelled.

Since then, I’ve been working to create a version that you, the creator, can buy and write directly in. Once you’ve worked your way through the concept introductions, question lists, and prompts, you’ll literally be able to hold the scope of your secondary world in your hand. And, better than that, you’ll have everything you need to refer to right there, all in one place.

The workbook is divided into chapters, with note-taking space, for:


Buying links are coming soon, as the approvals are still wending their way through the labyrinth of the printing house. But I hope to have it on sale for November 15, 2022.

JM FreyCOVER REVEAL: Worldbuilding Through Culture
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WORDS FOR WRITERS: Stages of Editing

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Stages of Editing

Draft one of a manuscript is for you. In this draft, you get to tell your story to yourself. You can write as much as you want, go off on tangents or side quests, or infodump and worldbuild to your heart’s content.

Draft two is for your readers. Draft two is where you rework the story you told yourself to ensure that you transmit it to the readers in a way that is entertaining, enjoyable, and understandable. That’s not to say it has to be basic or simplistic—but it must be comprehensible.

As Neil Gaiman is fond of saying: In draft one, write down everything that happens. In draft two, go back and make it look like you knew what you were doing all along.

So where do you start? Here’s how I usually break up my phases of editing.

JM FreyWORDS FOR WRITERS: Stages of Editing
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WORDS FOR WRITERS: What is a Subplot?

WORDS FOR WRITERS: What is a Subplot?

Welcome to a new article series! This time, we’ll be talking about about the structural and narrative importance of SUBPLOTS. But before we dive in, let’s figure out what a subplot actually is.

According to, a subplot is: “A secondary or subordinate plot, as in a play, novel, or other literary work; underplot.”

Therefore, a subplot is the part of the story that is happening — to your characters, in the world, both beat-by-beat and overarching — in tandem with the main plot.

But how do they work?

Read the article here.

JM FreyWORDS FOR WRITERS: What is a Subplot?
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WORDS FOR WRITERS: Tips for Critiquing

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Tips for Critiquing

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-fast rules about what you should and should not be doing as a critique partner (beyond Wheaton’s Law). You and your author will find your own communication style and rhythm, as well as levels of honesty and helpfulness that you’re both comfortable with. However, the whole point of stepping up as a critique partner is to support your writer friend and help them make the book they’ve written the best version of itself that it can be.

Sometimes this means you have to point out flaws, but it also means that you should be pointing out the stuff that’s good, that really works for you, and connects with you emotionally as a reader. Writers need to know not just what needs to change, but also what needs to stay the same.

Click here to read some tips based on what I like best in my critique relationships.

JM FreyWORDS FOR WRITERS: Tips for Critiquing
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