Words for Writers

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: Types of Editing

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Types of Editing

There are many ways to approach manuscript editing, each with its own particular process, and nearly every editor and writing advice site has their or its own method.  This post will describe the most common types, explain what they’re for, and provide questions you can ask yourself to ensure that you’re approaching this stage in the best way possible.

Bear in mind that this is my preferred order to do these kinds of editing, but feel free to do whatever works for you.

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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.

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WORDS FOR WRITERS: Secondary Characters and Subplots

WORDS FOR WRITERS: Secondary Characters and Subplots

This post is the fourth in a series on subplots.

As you’re developing your secondary plot, you’ll need to start thinking about who is going to carry it. Some subplots continue to feature, or may be told from, the POV of your main character. Other subplots may focus instead on a minor or secondary character, who guides the reader through this second storyline.

It’s tempting to spend all of your energy on developing a really rich main character while going light on secondary characters, but you should consider putting as much initial thought into your main character’s friends, family members, and enemies as you do with them.

(Besides, we all know that really great side-characters are everyone’s favorite in novels, anyway. Sure, we like Frodo Baggins, but Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, Sam, Merry, or Pippin are the ones people name when you ask them who their fave is.)



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