9 Reasons to Cut Adverbs from Your Writing

Oh, look—one of the biggest controversies in the writing world: To use adverbs or not to use adverbs? This is a subject of constant debate, and while there are exceptions, I am generally of the opinion that adverbs don’t bode well for your prose. Why? Well, there are several reasons, and I want to talk about a few of them today.


Before I took the One Year Adventure Novel course in high school, I was an adverb junkie. (Some of you who know me are finding that hard to believe, I know.) It’s true. I often fell back on adverbs. I mean, why not? They’re convenient. However, upon taking the OYAN curriculum, I learned that there were compelling reasons to stop using adverbs in my prose.

10 Qualities of a Spectacular Brainstorm Buddy

Brainstorm Buddies are to writers what teammates are to athletes. They are the people who stick with us, who encourage us, who support us, and who root for us. They’re our friends, the voice of hope when doubt creeps in; for many of us, our Brainstorm Buddies are our muse. If you don’t have one, you should find one. If you do, make sure to tell them how much you appreciate them.


Just like it’s important to have a good Brainstorm Buddy, however, it’s important to be one. I’ve noticed that when you make an effort to do something for someone else, they often return the favor. The best sorts of Brainstorm Buddy relationships are the mutual ones, so today I want to talk a little bit about what it takes to be the best Brainstorm Buddy you can be.

4 Reasons to Write Fanfiction

Some people think that writing fan fiction is a horrible waste of your time. Why write down someone else’s story when you could be writing your own—or doing something else productive? It might surprise you, but I disagree. Writing fanfiction can actually be a valuable way to spend your time.


When I was younger, I was obsessed with Narnia. I mean thoroughly infatuated. After The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe came out as a movie when I was ten—(holy cow, how’d that get to be a decade ago?)—I delved into fanfiction for the first time. I wrote dozens of short Narnia fanfics. I even wrote a couple of novella-length stories. (Did I mention I was committed to this?) Some might say I wasted my time, but during that period, I learned that there are actually very good reasons to write fanfiction.

High Concept Ideas (And Why You Need One)

As writers, we are often asked where our ideas come from. How do we come up with our plots, characters, and worlds? The answer is that we all do it differently. And it’s not always easy. Sometimes ideas pop out of hats and multiply like crazy (hence the term “plot bunny”), while other seasons see nary a fluffy tail. Regardless of where the ideas come from, there’s one important standard that all the best ideas live up to: The High Concept.


Lately, I’ve been struggling to come up with good ideas for a novel. I’ve tried several, and none have worked out for me. It’s been depressing. It’s discouraged me and made me question my calling. It took several months before I finally realized something. Most of my ideas were failing because I hadn’t come up with a high concept.

Book Review: Beyond the Reflection’s Edge


When Nathan Shepard’s parents are found murdered, he is left with only a mirror to solve a mystery that turns out to be about far more than meets the eye.

 Author: Bryan Davis

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mystery

Rating: 2/5

Ages: Best for 13 and up

Summary: [from Goodreads] Sixteen-year-old Nathan Shepherd has a great life traveling where the careers of his father, an investigator, and mother, a renowned violinist, take him … until his parents are found murdered. Left with only a mirror and notes from his father’s last case, Nathan goes into hiding at the remote country home of Tony, his father’s college buddy, and Tony’s teenage daughter, Kelly. The mysterious mirror must be a clue to what happened to his parents, and when images appear in it—people and things that don’t exist—Nathan and Kelly painstakingly gather evidence. But the killers want the mirror too, and danger threatens the teens at every turn. As it becomes evident that Nathan’s father had stumbled upon dark forces at work in the world, several questions arise. Could it be that the mirror is a portal to a parallel world? Could this technology be used for evil purposes? And could his parents still be alive, trapped in another dimension? Nathan and Kelly struggle to solve the mystery before they too become victims. This chilling, hair-raising adventure is jam-packed with action in a fantastical world where nothing is as it seems, and even mirrors tell lies.

Color Code Editing (And How It Can Save Your Sanity)

Editing can be tough sometimes. It’s not easy to go through and shred the story you just spent a month (or nine) pouring your heart into. Let’s all just admit it now: editing is an emotional ordeal. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by a task that at times seems insurmountable. However, there are some ways to minimize the stress of editing; one of which is a method I like to call “color-code-editing.”


I’ve talked about this method before, but today I want to go into a little more depth and show you guys just how much time (and sanity!) it can save you. Sounds good, right? Who wants to be mostly dead when you’re finished with your second draft?

Interview: Eric Johnson, Writer and Producer of “Ella”

Hey, everyone!

Today I’m excited to bring you guys an interview with Eric Johnson, the writer and producer of the newly released miniseries, Ella.


Hi, Eric! Welcome to Dreaming Hobbit! Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?

 Thanks! I appreciate it! I’m a 19 year old filmmaker from Minnesota, and I’m planning on graduating from college this December.