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Emily Wenstrom: Author, Becoming Writer
Member since August 13, 2013

By day, Emily Wenstrom, is the editor of short story website wordhaus, author social media coach, and freelance content marketing specialist. By early-early morning, she is E. J. Wenstrom, a sci-fi and fantasy author whose first novel Mud will release in March 2016.


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You stare and stare at the page, but you just can’t get yourself motivated to write. Nothing you write feels right, anyway. In fact, nothing about

How to Dig Yourself Out of a Creative Rut »

Think you know your story’s main character? You might not know as much as you think. A great character is as complex as a living,

4 Exercises to Get to Know Your Protagonist »

Starting a new story is hard, whether its a short story or a full novel. After all, a story is made of a million moving

5 Steps to Take Before You Start Your Next Story »

The first chapter of a novel is arguably the most important–if a reader isn’t hooked, she won’t keep reading. And if that happens, nothing else you write matters.

3 Most Important Elements of Chapter One »

A hero is no hero at all unless there is something to stand against. That’s where villains come in.


We love to hate them, but they serve a critical function within the anatomy of a story, the yin to your protagonist’s yang.

8 Things I Learned About Villains from My First Novel »

Let’s be honest. Plot development is not always fun. Sometimes it’s really hard.

Sometimes, your story gets stuck in a rut, backed into a corner, or just gets flat and boring.

But I’ve found that a single question is enough to get my creativity going again. This one question got my story back on track every single time.

The Most Important Question for Plot Development »

There’s no feeling quite like the moment you realized you’ve completely finished the rough draft of a work in progress. A mix of pride and accomplishment and utter dread at how bad it might be.

10 Things About Rough Drafts I Learned From My First Novel »

Words. As writers, we pound them out by the minute, fuss over every adjective, and worry over every comma. In fact we go through so many of them that they sometimes begin to feel meaningless. But if there was ever a person to remind us of how incredibly powerful words can be, Martin Luther King, Jr., is it.

7 Quotes from African American Writers for MLK Day »

Characters are one of the most important elements of any story. And character development can be challenging to get right.

Characters are critical for drawing readers into a story. They should also be the force that pushes your plot forward. A strong character can bring the story’s entire world to life. They can make your readers cry and even feel like a real friend. A weak one can deflate an entire book like a leaky air mattress.

4 Lessons from Orphan Black on Character Development »

Characters are the heart of any story. There are plenty of methods out there to help your character development. But when it’s time to give your characters shape and definition, don’t waste time on extensive questionnaires that get you weighed down in details.

4 Questions to Improve Your Character Development »

First off, if you’ve recently completed a rough draft (via NaNoWriMo or otherwise), congratulations. Really. A big, whooping, stand-up, slow-clap congrats.

Writing a book’s rough draft is a big feat. But then it’s time to get down to business again, because rough drafts are called “rough” for a reason.

So You’ve Finished a Rough Draft. What Now? »

NaNoWriMo demands a sudden burst of high capacity creation—it’s like sprinting a marathon. This works for some people, but if you’re not one of them, don’t feel bad. Try leveling up instead.

How to Level Up Your Writing Habit »

We’re now knee-deep in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the ambitious writer’s one-month sprint to 50,000 words.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of writers take on the challenge, and thousands succeed, saying adios to November with a first draft of a shiny new novel in tow.

It’s a truly amazing feat. But it’s not for everyone.

4 NaNoWriMo Principles for the Rest of Us »

Just as we dress up in costumes at Halloween, our fears often disguise themselves, too. It’s natural to have fears when it comes to your writing. After all, we make a business of pouring our heart out onto the page and sharing it with the world.

But don’t let these fears hold you back!

The Four Faces of Writing Fears »

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is just a few weeks away! Are you among the many writers from all over the world planning to crank out 50,000 words in thirty days?

What to Do NOW to Prepare for NaNoWriMo »

“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.” —Somerset Maugham

The Muse has gotten a bad rap for being temperamental and ruling Her artists by cruel whims. But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be like that.

How to Whip Your Muse into Shape »

Short stories are a great way to hone your craft and snag bylines from literary magazines (and hey, they’re also a ton of fun to write). Even better, they can help you build your readership—assuming they’re written well.

But alas, as the editor of a short story website, I see a number of common mistakes over and over again, even from authors with great fundamentals. Worse than just errors in craft, these mistakes betray readers’ trust and investment in your story.

Don’t Make These 4 Common Short Story Mistakes »

Literary devices can be great tools in your writer’s arsenal to help you illustrate your stories and points in a way that invites engagement and reflection.

And yet what’s the difference between a simile and a metaphor? Metaphor and personification? How much of that English 101 class can you really remember?

3 Literary Devices You Should Be Using in Your Writing »

No matter who you are, no matter what kind of writing you do, or how long you’ve been doing it, writer’s block is going to occasionally strike. There’s no reason to kick yourself over it. Sometimes you just get stuck. It’s an inevitable part of the creative process.

Fortunately, you don’t have to just sit there and take it—there’s ways to take matters into your own hands and give your creativity a jumpstart. Yes, I’m talking about writing prompts.

5 Out-of-the-Box Writing Prompt Sources »

They say there’s two types of novel writers: pansters and plotters.

Pansters catch the spark of an idea and just get down to the writing. Plotters, on the other hand, create an outline of the novel before stringing sentences together.

5 Novel Writing Tips from a First-Time Plotter »