Northern Lights


I stayed up a few nights this winter watching this view from my bed as I tried to fall asleep. And some nights I stayed up setting up my camera and tripod to try to capture the magic.

At 2am one night in March, when most of the town was asleep, I was awake with the sky dancing with flaming auroras. Waiting, holding my breath, for what felt like forever for my camera's shutter to... well, shut.

It took about a hundred blurry photos to only end up with a couple good ones.

But this photo almost perfectly captures the magic. Just almost, because no pictures or even video can ever make them real justice. You just have to be there, under the bare sky, causing yourself neck pain looking up for so long, utterly mesmerised. You can barely move, as not to scare them away, yet you have a such strange urge to jump and dance that you can barely stand still at all.

I've seen the northern lights countless times just in the past few years alone.

But seeing them from my bedroom window like THIS is a special kind of magic.

My last apartment faced North and had a lake view, so I still got a front-row seat to the dancing lights from my bed there. But the city lights made it so I had to walk out on the frozen lake to be able to see them this brightly, or to take any pictures of them.

But here, in my forest home, with no light pollution... It's amazing how brightly they shine here.

I usually fall asleep super quickly, but sometimes I twist and turn restlessly, feeling something in my bones that tells me to open my eyes, and then I do, and the sky is aflame. I can't explain it. I just know somehow when the lights are there, and am almost always awake to see them when they appear.

It makes sense that they're the source of so many a myth and legend. The northern lights are magical. And absolutely indescribable. No matter if you've seen them once or countless times, they'll always snatch your breath away.

I'd miss the thunderstorms and the rain, but if it were to always be winter and this could always be the view from my bedroom window... I wouldn't be mad.

Winter or not, this is the perfect place for my storyteller soul to find magic to turn into fantasy worlds.

THIS VS THAT #IntroducingTheWriter Challenge

Screenshot or download this to edit yourself and share to your followers so they can get to know you!

For seven days, starting Monday, I'll be hosting a challenge for writers on instagram and other social media sites. 

Every day, I will post prompts that you can use to introduce yourself as a writer, tell us about your writing process, your current work in progress, and your writing goals for the future. To participate, simply answer each prompt on your own social media account with the hashtag #IntroducingTheWriter.

You can already find all the prompts here if you want to be sneaky and plan your posts ahead of time.

As a part of this challenge, I created this template above that you can use to introduce yourself in your stories on Instagram, YouTube or Facebook.

If you haven't re-introduced yourself to your followers for a while, here's your chance! And if you have recently made an introduction or Meet the Writer post, just re-post your previous introduction again or make a new post with the new hashtag so we can find you.

Sometimes it's difficult to remember what everyone's working on, so the discussions get kind of unspecific samey after a while. If, like me, would want to ask more specific questions about other writers' projects, and wish it was easier to comment more on other people's posts because just scrolling and liking things makes it hard to feel like you're part of the community, this "challenge" is for you!

This is going to be fun! I can't wait to meet all of you again! Make sure to share this to all your writer friends and spread the word!

I hope to see you at #IntroducingTheWriter on Monday!

❤️ Em ❤️

How to Craft a Logline (and why you should do it before writing your book)

I like to start writing my novels by creating a logline. It's a way to pinpoint and keep track of the core of my story and its main character, premise and plot, so that when I'm plotting, designing characters, and writing my chapters, I won't get lost in piles of notes and scenes, trying to figure out what the whole point of the story was supposed to be over and over and over again.

I can just look at my logline and it becomes instantly clear what I'm writing and what the story is supposed to be focusing on.

This process of first creating a logline before writing the story is a common method used in screenwriting, and something I actually learned in film school, and haven't been able to stop since. But if it works, then why stop...

I think creating a logline is a great way to start your novel writing process even if you haven't written or don't plan on ever writing screenplays.

But, Em... what is a logline?!

A logline is a brief summary of your story, usually one sentence long. It's a way to encapsulate the main idea of your story and to give a quick overview of what it's all about. Loglines are often used in the film and television industry as a way to pitch a story to producers, and are therefore usually crafted before the script is written.

When it comes to novelists and the literature world, loglines are often used more for marketing and querying, but they can be just as useful for novelists at the start of the novel writing process, not just when you've already written your book.

And you don't even need to be a plotter to find use in creating a logline. Since a logline doesn't tell you anything about the end or resolution of the story, only the set-up, pantsers or discovery writers should also be writing loglines!

Creating a logline is a great first step to take before diving into the writing process, it can help you to focus on what's important and to make sure that your story has a clear direction and purpose.

Your logline can help you to focus on the key elements of your story, such as the main characters, the central conflict, and the overall theme. It forces you to think about what makes your story unique and interesting, and it can help you to identify the main objective of your story.

The Structure of a Logline

1. Short and to the point

A good logline should be short and to the point, usually no more than one sentence long, but max two sentences. It should be easy to understand and should capture the essence of your story in a way that makes it sound exciting and engaging.

It's important to note that a log line should not contain spoilers, it should be a summary of the main idea or premise of the story, not the story itself.

Some set a word limit of around 30-35 words, but that's a rule for screenwriting and novels usually have much more content and are way more comparable to television series than films. I tend to try to make my loglines for my fantasy around 50 words, which I think is fair for epic fantasy. But for stories on a less epic scale, strive for under 50 words, and try to cut as many words as you can.

2. The Building Blocks of a Logline

1. The Protagonist (who is the main decision maker in this story?)

2. Setting (where does this story play out?)

3. Inciting Incident (what event sets the story in motion?)

4. Goal (what does your protagonist want?)

5. Antagonistic Force (who or what is preventing your character from reaching their goal?)

6. Stakes (what will happen if your protagonist fails?)

7. Problem (what is making the protagonist's life difficult?)

I like to make a list on a piece of paper of all these things using the list above as a guide. And after I've made my list, I then cut them out and move them around on the floor to find a good order for them, or use a formula or model such as the examples below to create a logline in a "fill in the blank" style.

You don't need to include all seven things in your list or your logline if they for some reason aren't relevant to your book. What you decide to leave out entirely depends on your story, but I would still recommend you to try to squeeze in all of them.

Depending on the story, the Inciting Incident and Problem might be the same thing, for instance.

Lots of logline writing guides will include 'Conflict' as one of the building blocks of a logline, but the reason it isn't in my list is because I've found that the Stakes and Antagonistic Force, and also the Problem are providing plenty enough information about the conflict. In the end, the combination of Protagonist + Antagonistic Force + Goal + Stakes are equal to conflict. The conflict goes without saying, you know? The conflict is the whole story. It's the whole point.

Logline formulas:

ANTAGONISTIC FORCE and faces raising STAKES as they try to achieve GOAL.

they must fight against ANTAGONISTIC FORCE as the STAKES keep increasing.

to GOAL against the ANTAGONISTIC FORCE which causes the STAKES to grow.

Here are some examples of log lines for famous novels:

"A teenager discovers he’s the descendant of a Greek god and sets out on an adventure to settle an on-going battle between the gods." 

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief


"When an orphaned boy discovers he’s a wizard, he begins his magical training so he can battle the dark lord who killed his parents."

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling

"A shy young hobbit named Frodo Baggins inherits a simple gold ring that holds the secret to the survival–or enslavement–of the entire world."

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien


"Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to compete."

The Hunger Games

As you can see, only a few of these properly include the antagonistic force, obstacles or stakes, so most of these log lines are kind of weak in my opinion.

You find much better written loglines if you search for loglines for movies instead. 

Here are some film examples:

"Two star-crossed lovers fall in love on the maiden voyage of the Titanic and struggle to survive as the doomed ship sinks into the Atlantic Ocean."

"Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn a complacent society of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth."
Don't Look Up

"A computer hacker is led by a stranger to a forbidding underworld, where he discovers the shocking truth – the life he knows is the elaborate deception of an evil cyber-intelligence."
The Matrix

"Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a survivor and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety."
Bird Box

The Logline for My Current Work in Progress

And now, since I can't just preach without showing proof of my own brilliance (yeah okay sure), here is the logline for my current work in progress.

It's subject to change and doesn't perfectly encapsulate EVERY aspect of my novel, because it's just a logline. Its purpose is to simply contain the core of the main plot squeezed in there, and leave out everything else. No matter how fun and important to me it is, it doesn't belong in the logline.

Here goes:

"The last living heir of the hero who failed to save the flooding world and a soldier also running from a dark past must rely on each other to escape the kingdom that wants to keep them both prisoner."
Project Sea Legs

Now let's take it apart, or dissect it, so to say.

It's 39 words long, which is a pretty decent count for an epic fantasy novel's logline.

And here are all of its pieces disassembled:

- The last living heir of the hero who failed to save the flooding world 
- a soldier also running from a dark past

Setting: Flooding world.

Inciting Incident: It is not said outright, but it's insinuated that it's the two characters having to rely on each other for survival. Their coincidental meeting and trying to escape together is the inciting incident.

Goal: They both want to escape the kingdom.

Antagonistic Force: The kingdom.

Stakes: They will be imprisoned by the kingdom. Oh and the world's apparently also flooding.., What's that about??

External conflict: They are not free. The world might be ending. They might be captured again even though they are trying to flee.
Internal conflict: Dark past. The logline also hints at fear of failure because of one of the main characters is the last heir of a failed hero.

So, to reiterate, my logline isn't perfect.

And it definitely doesn't have all the things I wish I could include in it.

I wish I could include the fact that my story has sea monsters and piracy and is set in the arctic in an 18th century inspired world with flintlock guns and gunpowder and cannons and there's also cannibalism and class war and it's got strong punk rock vibes... And so many other things. 

But in the end, none of those things were as important to the core story than the completely platonic relationship between my two main characters, so I cut out everything else and emphasised those two instead, and just mentioned the flooding world and the "evil" kingdom only in passing. 

I didn't even mention the magic!!?? The super important magic!!??

I'm still on the fence whether I should include a little bit more detail. But this just goes to show that you simply can't fit everything you want into the logline, and you're not supposed to either.

So you don't need to worry about it too much. Because if you're pitching, and you manage to hook the audience with your logline, then you can tell them more. And if you're using your logline to stay on track while writing your novel, then it doesn't matter too much because it just needs to guide you, and as you write, you'll fill in all the details around your logline.

Think of it as a map, or compass. It's just there to help you and help steer you in the right direction.

In a pitching sense, my logline raises lots of questions. It's vague enough to make you intrigued, but gives a clear enough, simple enough premise that it feels familiar and is distinguishable as a high fantasy story that focuses on the relationship between two characters.

You can only imagine what reasons the kingdom might have to imprison them, or what obstacles they'll face on their journey as they escape.

I hope this made the process of writing a log line a bit more clear, but as always, if you have any questions, I'm always happy to answer them.

Here are some extra tips I have for creating a logline:

1. Know your story's theme

Writing a log line is so much easier when you know what your novel's theme is. The theme is the lesson that the main character will learn, so knowing that means that you know where your story will end and how your character will have grown and changed by the end. 

Now, you aren't supposed to write anything about the story's ending in the logline, but just knowing how it ends helps so much to pinpoint the core of your story. What is the point of this journey your character goes on? What do you want to emphasise, focus on and hint at in your logline?

2. Don't focus so much on what happens in your story, but more on the main character's goal and stakes if they don't get what they want.

This will create an emotional hook in the logline, which is much more powerful than mentioning any grand battles or evil villains. Focusing on the main character's desire and both their internal and external conflict will create a much clearer and simpler logline.

3. Look at other resources online.

Here are two great ones that I recommend:

Includes lots of helpful tips for writing a logline for a novel, including tips on what to do if your log line is too clunky, too boring, or if you feel like your novel is too complicated.

(I felt like my current WIP was too complicated to fit in a logline for the longest time and barely got it down to 60 words on the first five attempts, but now it's down to 39 words. You can do it, too!)

You fill in a bunch of boxes with information about your book idea, and then this generator gives you a pitch based on that information that you wrote. This can be a great tool to craft loglines and pitches for your stories.


After Creating the Logline

If you're creating a log line for pitching or marketing purposes, then I wish you good luck on that endeavour! And remember, once you sell someone on your log line and make them interested to hear more, you must then be able to tell them more in a succinct way that also hooks them again the way your logline did.

Pitching your novel can be super difficult. But with an amazing logline (and eventually I'll also make a whole post about pitching, synopsises, etc), you're on your way to crafting a great pitch and selling your awesome book, yay!

As for all of us (me, is it just me??) who are creating our loglines as the first step in the outlining/drafting process, this is just the beginning!

After creating my logline, I then write a synopsis which is a more detailed overview of the plot. A synopsis usually includes information such as the main characters, the setting, the central conflict, and the main events of the story. Synopsises are very simple in concept, but can be hard to write right, so I might write a whole post about that later, if you'd be interested.

Also, a log line can change as the story develops, you can adjust it as you write the story and get a better sense of what the story is really about.

Once I have a clear understanding of my story's core premise from the log line and synopsis, I'll expand the synopsis to create a scene-by-scene outline. This is a detailed breakdown of each scene in my story, including information such as the characters involved, the setting, and the main action that takes place.

And then I'm ready to write my first draft, or zero draft (basically an even messier first draft).

If you want to find out more about my writing process, follow me on instagram where I'll update you whenever I post on the blog. (The link will open my instagram on a new tab)

If you found this helpful, comment below. Have a wonderful rest of your week!

Happy writing,

// Em  🌻

If you don't write, you can't be a bad writer

But then you also won't be writing.

And you can't be a writer if you don't write. 

So at some point you've just got to accept that you will be bad. 

And what do you do then?

You write anyway.

Being a good writer is not a prerequisite for loving writing, it is a by-product of loving writing.

What's so bad about being bad anyway?

Being a bad writer doesn't prevent you from writing, and frankly, doesn't even prevent you from being published and highly successful. Not that success even matters, because the greatest success you'll ever find is the success to do things even if you're afraid.

Especially if you're afraid of being bad.

I'm 90% sure that you're not actually even bad at writing, and that it's just your self doubt and inexperience that makes you feel so down on yourself. But in the end, it's really not that bad of a thing to be a bad writer, even if you are a bad writer.

It can't stop you. And it doesn't matter.

You don't write because you're a great writer and your story will be the best story ever told. 


You write because you love to spend time with your characters in your world. You write to see how this story ends.

Get writing, and be proud of the fact that you are writing, no matter how bad you think you are.

You'll never get past draft one, and you'll certainly never finish anything if you can't get past being bad. You'll have so many regrets if you fail to pick up the pen, and fail to try to create some magic. That's the only way you can fail.

Being bad is not a failure. It's a step along the way. A step that we'll all take along our journey of learning. So if you start out bad, you're just a normal human being. And if you're aware of it, you're one step ahead of most, who think they're brilliant with zero experience.

Looking back on your own writing and thinking, "Oh no, that is terrible" is the best thing. It means you're learning, developing, getting better! It's not a reason to beat yourself up! It's a reason to celebrate.

You dared to do it!

Writing is one of the scariest things. But you dared!


If you don't write it, your story will never be written. 

Write because you're bad, or write in spite of it. But most importantly...

Write for the sake of writing.

// Em 🌞

5 Tips to Write a Compelling Friendship

In Finland we call Valentines day Friend's Day, so today I'm giving some advice on how to write platonic relationships 😘

And these tips might be helpful even when you're writing romantic relationships in your stories, because to create a deep romantic relationship it may be beneficial to first make sure that your characters' relationship arc would work as a platonic relationship, and then add the romance on top of that.

These tips might really be helpful for any type of relationship in your stories.

But friendships and sibling or parental relationships are my absolute favourite. Every important subplot relationship doesn't have to be a romance.

Not every character needs to even desire romance, or ever end up with anybody.

Being alone doesn't mean you're actually alone, and even if you are actually alone, that isn't too bad, either.

Friendships are one of the most fun ways to reveal more about your main character, and to advance their arc and advance their story forward. The fact that your main character has people they love and care about makes them so much more loveable (also check out my post about creating loveable characters!). It’s easier to root for someone who has people they need to protect and care for.

Now, let’s get into my 5 tips to write a friendship in your book.

1. Make your characters compelling

Your characters are the foundation of your story, and their friendship will only be as compelling as the characters themselves. 

So make sure your characters are well-rounded and have distinct personalities, backgrounds, and motivations, because this will help them stand out and make their friendship more interesting. 

Don’t be afraid to make your characters flawed and imperfect.

Imperfect people are fascinating. Besides developing the friendship itself, it’s important to ensure that each character has their own arc and growth throughout the story.

At the core of your character should be a deep wound that they’re grappling with and struggling to fix. This inner struggle, this inner conflict, is more relatable than simply dealing with external conflict. Inner conflict not only adds layers to your characters, whether they be main characters or side characters. It also adds depth to the friendship you’re writing.

By giving each character their own motivations and goals, and exploring how their friendship affects those aspirations, you can create a richer and more complex story.

Perhaps you can show one character struggling with personal issues, and the other character supporting them as they work through those challenges. Preferably, you’ll find opportunities to show both characters supporting each other throughout the story.

Alternatively, both characters could have opposing goals that challenge their friendship and forces them to make hard decisions, like having to choose to pursue another goal over helping their friend.

The most important thing here is to make sure that your characters have a life outside of their friendship. It sucks to read stories where the side characters are just used by the main character or the plot, and clearly don’t have any goals, dreams or fears of their own. Make your main character’s friends be fully fleshed out characters, not just cardboard cut-outs!

Give your characters distinct voices and unique quirks that make them memorable. Consider what makes them tick and what their ultimate goals and desires are. This will help you create believable and engaging interactions between them.

One way to develop compelling characters is to use character questionnaires or profiles. These can help you think through important details like their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and defining traits. You can also consider their personal histories, relationships, and life experiences, as these will shape their behaviour and outlook on the world.

As you develop your characters, keep in mind that they don’t exist in a vacuum. Think about how their personalities and experiences shape their interactions with each other, and consider how their friendship will develop and change over time. This will make your story more dynamic and keep your readers invested in your characters’ journeys.

Ultimately, creating compelling characters is about making them feel real and relatable to your readers. By taking the time to develop your characters and give them distinct personalities and backgrounds, you can create a friendship that feels authentic and engaging.

2. Show their bond

Friendships are all about the bond between characters, and the best way to convey that bond is through their actions and interactions. Instead of simply telling readers that two characters are friends, show their friendship through dialogue, body language, and shared experiences. 

This will make the bond between them feel more genuine and impactful, and readers will be able to see how the friendship develops organically.

Overall, showing the bond between characters is all about creating authentic and meaningful interactions that show their trust, loyalty, and affection for each other. By doing so, you can create a friendship that readers will root for and care about throughout your story.

Have them share inside jokes or references that only they understand. This can create a sense of intimacy and connection between them that readers will pick up on.

Small gestures can also go a long way in showing the strength of a friendship. For example, having one character offer a shoulder to cry on or bring the other character their favourite snack when they’re feeling down can demonstrate their closeness and support for each other.

I absolutely love reading these moments in books. It’s super cute when characters go out of their way to do things for each other, bring each other food or do even small things to help them progress in their goals.

But I think the most effective way to show the bond between characters is to have them face conflicts together. This can range from minor disagreements to major obstacles that threaten their friendship. By having your characters work through conflicts and come out stronger on the other side, you can demonstrate the depth and resilience of their bond.

Show your characters protecting each other, and making difficult decisions together, listening to each other's input and asking for advice. 

You can make writing a strong friendship so much easier by showing them interacting with the conflict in your story. Show them fighting for something, and fighting against the thing that stands in the way of your characters’ happiness. 

Conflict forces them to grow a stronger bond in order to survive.

You can use it to either increase the amount of trust between your characters, or make them trust each other less. Test the characters’ friendship and bring them closer together, or further apart. Or tear them apart and then bring them back together… Everyone loves a good “friends to enemies back to friends” arc. Or at least I do.

3. Let there be friction

Friendships aren’t always smooth sailing, and introducing opposing opinions or lifestyles, conflict and obstacles into the friendship can make it more dynamic and add depth to the characters and their relationship. 

This can include disagreements, betrayals, or external challenges that threaten to tear the friendship apart. By exploring these conflicts, you can create tension and show the characters growing and maturing as they navigate their friendship and their other challenges.

When your characters clash, this allows you to reveal something new about these characters to the audience. You can use these conflicts to explore their motivations, beliefs, and values, and how they handle adversity. By putting your characters in difficult situations, you can reveal their strengths and weaknesses, and how they cope with conflict.

It’s important to remember that not all conflicts have to be big or explosive. Even small disagreements or misunderstandings can create friction in a friendship and add complexity to your characters. These can be as simple as two characters having different opinions on a topic or one character being upset that the other didn’t invite them to an event.

The key is to make sure that the conflicts are rooted in the characters and their personalities, and not just added for the sake of drama or pointless toxicity. By doing so, you can create a more nuanced and realistic portrayal of friendship, where even the strongest bonds are tested.

In the end, allowing for friction in a friendship can make your story more engaging and give your characters more room to grow and change. By showing the ups and downs of their relationship, you can create a richer and more satisfying experience for your readers.

4. Include emotional depth

Friendships are often built on emotions and shared experiences, and including emotional depth in your writing can make the friendship feel more meaningful and real. 

Your characters are going on a journey together, so show that inner struggle as they fight to get what they want. This can include scenes that show the characters comforting each other, reminiscing about the past, or expressing their love and gratitude for one another. By slowing down and stopping for a moment to delve into the emotional lives of your characters, you can create a friendship that feels authentic and has more of a memorable impact.

Consider how the characters grow and change throughout the story, and how their friendship strengthens as a result. Use the middle of the book to show their friendship goes through difficult and happy moments, and then use the ending to bring their arcs to a satisfying conclusion, and show how their friendship has affected their lives in meaningful ways. This will create an emotional depth to your fictional friendship that makes readers wish they could be a part of your story just so they could join that friendship, too.

You can also use the characters’ emotions to drive the plot forward. For example, if one character is going through a difficult time, their friend might try to help them by going on a quest or taking action in some other way. By showing the characters’ emotional investment in each other, you can create a sense of urgency and tension in the story.

Another way to include emotional depth in your writing is to use sensory details to create a mood or atmosphere. For example, you might describe the colors and textures of a sunset to evoke a sense of nostalgia or use a rainy day to set a melancholy tone.

Finally, give your characters room to process their emotions and reflect on their experiences. This can be done through internal monologues, diary entries, or conversations between characters. By showing the characters grappling with their feelings, you can create a sense of intimacy and vulnerability that will make the friendship feel more real and relatable.

In the end, including emotional depth in your writing can make your fictional friendship more than just a plot device. It can create a connection between your characters and your readers, and make your story a memorable and impactful experience.

5. Give them a history

A character’s backstory and their shared history can greatly affect the way they interact with one another, and show WHY they’re even friends in the first place.

So often I read books that make me wonder why these characters are even friends, because they have nothing in common and nothing in their history that would give them a reason to be friends. But then there are other books that feature friends who feel like absolutely inseparable platonic soulmates, and I would die if they ever lost each other.

The thing with backstory is that you don’t want to tell it to your readers through just exposition or dialogue. Instead, you should show it by using small details, hinting at the characters’ shared experiences in an organic, natural way that slowly reveals more about them and keeps the friendship feeling like it could be completely real. Like I said earlier in this post, don’t just tell the reader that your characters are friends. Use small details to build on their history piece by piece.

Perhaps they have a specific inside joke only they understand, or maybe they share a favourite childhood memory that they reminisce about. These details not only convey their history but also add depth to the characters and make their friendship feel more authentic. 

Show through these small details, jokes and conversations how the characters have grown and changed throughout their lives both together and perhaps even when they’ve been apart. 

Maybe they were once inseparable, but have now drifted apart due to different life paths. What if they’ve had a falling out but eventually reconnected? How does that affect their relationship now? Are they happy to forget the past and forgive, or is their relationship strained and awkward? What if one character forgets and forgives, while the other one holds a grudge?

Friendships come in many different forms, from childhood friendships to work relationships to romantic partnerships. By exploring different types of friendships, you can create a more diverse and interesting story.

Consider how the different types of friendships might affect the characters and their interactions, so that you can create a more nuanced and multifaceted story that will resonate with a wider range of readers. A childhood friendship might be built on shared experiences and nostalgia, while a work relationship might be more focused on shared goals and aspirations.

Additionally, giving your characters a shared history can also create conflict and tension in their friendship. Maybe there was a betrayal or misunderstanding in the past that has yet to be resolved, or maybe their shared experiences have led to a fundamental difference in values or beliefs.

By adding complexity to their shared history, you can make their friendship more dynamic and interesting. It also provides an opportunity for growth and resolution, as the characters work through their past issues and come to a deeper understanding of each other.

Setting also plays a part when it comes to your characters’ backstory and history. For example, a shared love or hatred towards a specific location, like a forest or a cafe, can make characters talk about their past and help show your readers what the characters’ childhoods were like, how your characters met and became friends, or what important events have happened in their past that tie them together and solidified their friendship for life.

In conclusion, giving your characters a history together (and separately from each other!) can make their friendship feel more fleshed out and believable. It creates a foundation for their current relationship and gives your readers a glimpse into their shared past. 

Whether it’s through shared memories, inside jokes, or unresolved conflicts, exploring the characters’ history adds depth and richness to your story. And we love depth and richness!! Give us complexity! Those are the things that make fictional friendships truly compelling.


Wooo! That was a long one!

Those were my 5 tips for crafting strong, compelling platonic relationships in stories. Good luck with your writing!

Do you have strong friendships in your work in progress? What creates friction between your characters in that friendship?

I hope these writing tips were helpful.

I'll see you soon for another blog post.

// Em 🌷

My 2023 Writing Goals

“You will always struggle with not feeling productive until you accept that your own joy can be something you produce.”

- Hank Green


In the past few years I haven't really focused on goal setting or productivity the way I used to pre-pandemic times.

I don't regret giving myself the rest I needed, but I have to tell myself all the time not to feel guilty, because sometimes I feel like the past two years of my life were wasted and have set me back so much in my progress towards all of my life goals.

But I also don't really want to be "productive" like I used to, either. I've been so much more balanced and happy when I haven't been pushing myself so hard.

That doesn't mean that I can't challenge myself or try to get better at things. I think I just have to rethink the way I set goals and work towards them.

I instinctively want to set huge lofty goals that seem impossible, because I used to think it was better to set high goals and achieve 10% of them than to set low goals and fail those, too. But why even assume that I would fail?

Focusing on productivity made me feel like the absolute worst writer/human in the world, and it made me rush things and stop enjoying everything I did. Nothing was for fun anymore, everything was a goal, a challenge, a step outside my comfort zone.

So, I don't use the word productivity anymore. At least when it means anything else than producing joy. If something doesn't make me happy, I want to stop doing it and do something else.

My goals list is long this year, as always. I just have too many things I want to do, and too little time. One year simply isn't enough time to do anything!

But I'm not stressing too much about it. This year's goals are not set in stone. They're not there to make me do lots of things, nor are they based on what I think I should be doing to be successful.

They're simply reminders of what makes me happy, and that's it.

The process of working on my goals daily, sometimes very slowly, sometimes more quickly, in small increments, is what produces joy for me. And I don't need to produce anything else.

Although it's nice to finish a project, it's not what matters most anymore.

Here are some of my writing related goals for this year:

1. Write every day

2. Finish the first draft of my current WIP temporarily titled Project Sea Legs, which I might tell you more about later...

3. Finish (and maybe self-publish) my children's book.

4. Write a short story in the Project Sea Legs world.

5. Start posting on my social media, writing blog posts, and making youtube videos again.

I'll keep you updated on my different projects as I make progress! My instagram (linked above) is where I post most often, so go follow me there if you want to get daily posts containing quick writing advice, general writing feelings and thoughts, and weekly updates on my projects!

I hope you're having a wonderful February so far!

// Em 🌼

Create a Main Character Readers Would Kill For

 I'll be posting these writing advice posts on Thursdays every week from now on. If you have any suggestions of topics you'd like to see me give advice about, message me on instagram!

These blog posts contain extra tips and way more text than I can fit in an instagram post. These longer blog posts also take way more effort and lots of time to put together, so if you find them helpful, let me know and I'll keep making them.

A lovable main character elicits empathy and emotional investment from the reader, which is exactly what you want if you're looking to create a story that's as impactful as it is page-turning.

So here are my 5 (yes, you get 1 extra tip in this blog post than on my instagram!) tips for creating a main character readers would kill for!

1. Make them vulnerable

Give them flaws, imperfections, and relatable problems that readers can identify with. A complex, weak and flawed character is much more interesting, easy to fall in love with, and relatable than a perfect, strong, one-dimensional character.

And don't just give them flaws that are surface-level, like clumsiness or trying too hard to please people. (Although these flaws might also be built into your character in a way that deeply affects them, those are just some character flaws I often see that are not usually executed in a good or meaningful way.)

When giving your characters flaws or traumas, make them affect the character deeply. If it doesn't affect the story, it's probably not a good enough flaw.

Make other characters underestimate them, hurt them, or question their abilities.

At the end of the day, your main character is just like your readers. They have fears, doubts, and weaknesses, just like everyone else.

By making your main character vulnerable, you're making them feel more like a real human. You are creating a relatable and likeable character that readers will connect with on a deep level. It's hard to relate to perfect people who are good at everything, or who are liked by everyone and never make embarrassing mistakes.

Readers will identify with and feel deep empathy for characters who are beaten down and shamed, forced to be vulnerable and weak.

So, don't be afraid to humiliate them! Show them in their weakest moments. The sooner in the story you can make your character seem vulnerable, the better!

Show their flaws, their missteps, and their moments of self-doubt. This will get your readers to want to protect your characters and eventually say they wish they could kill for them to finally, FINALLY be happy.

2. Show their motivations

A main character that is driven by a clear motivation is much more interesting and engaging than a character who lacks direction, so you want to make sure your main character has a clear objective that drives the story forward and gives them a sense of purpose.

When deciding on your character's goal, make it be something personal and specific instead of just "doing good" or "saving the world". Those goals just aren't good because they're impersonal and not very interesting. 

But if you go with a character that is saving the world (which is very common in fantasy especially), make their motivations reflect them and their backstory. 

Why they want what they want is often much more important than what they want.

One way to show your character's motivations is to have your character be active in making decisions that propel the plot forward. And to make things more interesting, you can have them make these choices based on their past, and based on their flawed way of thinking. 

In the first half of your story, or up until the climax of the story, your main character should be actively pursuing a goal that is in some way based on a false belief.

Show through their actions and words where their motivation comes from. Show us where your character's false belief comes from, and show them continuously making choices to get the end result that they want.

Readers want to see your character wanting something, fighting for something, and they want to see them succeed. So help us bond with your main character by showing us why your main character is doing what they are doing and what they hope to achieve.

3. Create meaningful relationships

A lovable main character's lovability can be increased by giving them connections to other characters. 

You can create meaningful relationships with supporting characters to give the main character depth and show readers what they care about. These relationships serve multiple purposes in fleshing out the main character and making them relatable to the reader, and some of them include showing their personality and values, providing conflict, and developing empathy both towards the main character, but also conveniently makes us care more about the side characters.

If they care about each other, then we as readers feel that maybe we should, too.

Relationships with other characters can reveal the main character's personality, strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. For example, a character who is kind and empathetic towards others is more likely to be seen as a lovable protagonist, while a character who is selfish and uncaring is less likely to be endearing, but might also be very intriguing and fun to read about.

The relationships a character has show us what they value and care about. A character who places a high value on friendship is more likely to be lovable than a character who prioritises their own interests over others.

Relationships create conflict and challenges for the main character, which can add depth and complexity to their story arc. For example, a character who is torn between their loyalty to their friends and their desire to achieve their own goals can be very compelling.

Relationships with supporting characters can also help readers connect with the main character and understand their motivations and emotions on another level than just their inner monologue allows. When readers can see the world from the different perspectives of other characters, when your secondary or tertiary characters talk about them or treat them in certain ways, it makes readers see them as much more multi-faceted. 

And again, if other characters treat your main character poorly, it can help readers feel empathy and makes them bond with your main character.

4. Give them a unique voice

The voice of the main character sets the tone for the entire story. Giving your main character a unique voice that is distinct, engaging, and memorable will help readers connect with them and be more interested and invested in following their journey.

Have them repeat the same expressions throughout the story, use specific slang and even have a "catch phrase". Show them communicating in a way that's different from your other characters. Give them a quirky or unusual way of speaking, or have them speak in a different language or dialect. This can help set them apart and make them even more memorable to readers.

Another way to give your main character a unique voice is to pay attention to their manner of speaking and body language. For example, they might use gestures when they talk or have a habit of fidgeting when they're nervous. These small details can help paint a picture of the character and make them feel more real to the reader.

It's also important to consider the character's background and experiences when developing their voice. Where did they grow up? What kind of education did they receive? What have they been through in their life? All of these factors can influence the way a character speaks and can help make them feel more authentic.

Additionally, the character's emotional state should also play a role in how they speak. If they're angry or upset, their speech may become more clipped or terse. If they're excited or happy, their speech might be more animated. By showing how a character's emotional state affects their speech, you can give them a more dynamic and believable voice, that makes them feel more like real people that your readers will grow to love and adore.

5. Develop their backstory

Your character's backstory helps to flesh out your main character and provides context for their actions and motivations, their dialogue, relationships and so much more. By exploring a character's past in your story, you help readers better understand what has shaped them into who they are, why they behave the way they do, and most importantly, why they make the choices they make.

Having a clear understanding of their history can help make them feel like a fully realised character. A well-written backstory adds to the closeness and empathy your readers feel towards the character, and makes them more attached to the character.

A well-developed backstory helps readers understand where the main character came from, what shaped them, and why they are the way they are. Write out your character's backstory, and include important events, relationships, and experiences that have shaped them throughout their life. These can be small details or big, life-altering moments. Just make sure they are relevant to the story and add depth to the character.

Keep this backstory in mind as you write your story, but try to reveal it gradually, and not in the first chapter in a huge info dump. Try to sprinkle in your main character's backstory here and there, in a way that feels natural and that in some also way helps move the plot forward.

Lastly, backstories are just really freaking fun to write, and cool to discover. So make it count, and just have fun with it. Oh, and don't be afraid to make your character suffer. That's the whole point!

These were all my tips for creating a lovable, dynamic, interesting main character readers would kill for. If I missed anything, or if you have anything to add, let me know in the comments below, or send me a message on my instagram!

To support me in the creation of these advice posts and resources for writers, you can buy me a cup of tea on Ko-Fi!

Thank you for reading today's blog post! I hope it was helpful (at least it was for me)!

// Em 🌟

Introducing Writing Advice for Fantasy Writers

 I've never felt like I was good enough or experienced enough to give writing advice.

And I felt like giving advice would be like beating a dead horse. Everything you can learn about writing is already out there, explained by writers with way more brilliant minds than my own.

That was, until a few months ago, when I tried to get back into writing after a pretty long mental health break. I felt overwhelmed and confused, and quickly spiralled into self doubt and thought I was so bad I could never tell a story again.

So, to get out of my head, I decided to write down all the things I've learned about writing to prove to myself that my head wasn't full of air and that I'd actually learned something during my decade-long writing journey.

And it just kept coming and coming and coming. To this day, I'm still thinking of  new things to add to that document on a daily basis.

By this point I've got enough material to publish a whole entire book about how to write... which is completely ABSURD!

Storytelling is my favourite thing in the world.

I think about how to tell better stories all the time. Before I started writing it all down, I would just let those thoughts come and go, and then disappear into the void. But now my notes are full with little tips and ideas that I'm now going to start sharing with all of you!

I still don't feel like I'm good enough to be an authority on anything. I'm not completely against the idea of maybe publishing a book about writing some day, but I won't be doing that in a long, long time.

Instead, I started making some carousel posts and writing blog posts a while ago, fully intending on posting them on instagram and my blog eventually, but then procrastinated out of fear of accidentally creating generic unhelpful advice that turns into more sludge for writers to trudge through when looking for helpful resources (been there, ugh).

But I thought about it for a while, and finally decided that maybe I can give advice in a way that doesn't have to feel like sludge, or like beating a dead horse.

Maybe I can make it look pretty, make it easy to digest, and put my own spin on it so it's not so generic and unhelpful.

Just like original story ideas don't exist, neither does original writing advice.

And there are some pieces of advice that have only made sense to me once I've heard someone specific explain it their own unique words.

Sometimes you just don't get it until someone explains it to you using an analogy only they would ever use. That happens to me all the time. Not all writing advice, or ways of giving advice, is for everyone.

So, if you end up finding my advice helpful, that would be AMAZING!

But I'll focus mainly on crafting resources that work for my brain, that I can come back to when I feel overwhelmed and need some extra help.

I love telling stories so much that I want everyone to have as much with it as I am.

And what is more fun than learning, growing and becoming better at something you LOVE to do?

Especially if you can learn together and have conversations about things you love with other weird nerdy people who like the same stuff and also live to tell stories!?

You can look forward to seeing my first writing advice post in SUCH A LONG TIME tomorrow!

I'll be posting these advice posts both on my instagram and on this blog. The blog posts can of course fit more information, so they will be a bit longer and more in-depth.

I hope you're having a lovely day.

Happy Writing.

OOhh, how I've missed this.

/ Em

How to LOVE Writing

"I don't love to write, but I love having written," is a quote that I could relate a lot to in the past. So what has changed? Why do I feel so completely differently about the "struggle and torture of writing" that I used to complain a lot about before?

Most people want to have done what they want to do, they don't actually want to do what they want to do.

That was a confusing sentence.

But the gist of it is that it's human nature to avoid uncomfortable and difficult things. And since writing requires more mental effort than thinking about writing, cleaning your home, or watching youtube or whatever else you do when you should be writing, it's just good sense (your brain thinks) to avoid that unnecessary discomfort.

So you associate writing with shame and guilt, further adding to that snowball of procrastination and shame and guilt. You get burnt out and you're unhappy. You feel guilty because you're never doing enough to get the progress you want. Every moment you're not writing makes you wonder if you actually even enjoy writing in the first place, or if it's really your calling, or if you should just quit. You think that because you're wasting your writing time procrastinating, you're wasting your potential.

If it's this hard to write, and if there are this many bad feelings and thoughts associated with it, then it can't be your thing, right?

Nope, you're just human.

And there is something you can do to stop procrastinating, and start to LOVE writing, not just having written.

But it's not the common piece of advice: "Just sit and write."

Even though it is that simple, it's rarely that easy.

Grab a pen and paper and do these 3 exercises:

  1. Identify why you want to write, then rewrite it to focus on what writing can do for you in the PRESENT moment, not some day in the future.
  1. Identify the underlying issue for why writing is so hard for you. It might be that you're not actually enjoying the project you're writing, or maybe you're scared of failing, of looking stupid, of being misunderstood or disliked. Reframe it to focus on yourself and things you can control, not on impressing others or making a mark on the world. How could you make your writing project more FUN for you, instead of hard?
  1. Identify if there might be something in the where, when and how you write that's creating hurdles for you. You might just not enjoy typing on a laptop. Maybe you're not writing regularly enough so you forget story details and get frustrated by that. Maybe you're a morning writer, not an evening writer. Maybe you feel rushed because you've set yourself deadlines that are too difficult. Maybe your surroundings are uninspiring. Try to make writing a regular ROUTINE, and do your best to prioritise it and keep it almost sacred. Write with feather quills that make writing feel like magic, put on some angsty music you love, or light a specific scented candle every time you sit down to work on anything related to your story. Writing is important to you. You love writing. Treat it as a treat. Reward yourself for your wins. But also remember: writing itself is the best reward.

Thinking about these things can help you change your mindset around writing. Having a mindset focused on how lovely writing is instead of what a burden and chore it is does wonders for your likeliness to actually sit down and get words down. 

You can try to change your mindset first, and then get writing. But I've found that it's more effective to do both at the same time, and know that for me personally, when I am regularly writing, I feel much happier to write, and also have a much more healthy mindset around writing.

Teach yourself to enjoy the process and reframe it in your mind so you focus on writing, and then having written is just a byproduct.

The tips or exercises above are meant to not only get you to reframe writing in your mind, but most importantly make you excited to write.

At the end of the day, if you really want to be writing, you'll be writing. 

Yes, most people love the feeling of having done the hard thing over actually doing the hard thing. It's normal.

But being more present, focusing on the fun, and having a regular writing schedule will make it much easier to write, and enjoy writing for writing's sake. You deserve that. 

Hope this was helpful. What are some things you love about writing?

/ Em


I'm currently writing my new work in progress with one of those old-timey pens you have to dip in ink and write on fancy high quality paper with so the ink doesn't bleed through, and it has been so wonderful for my story. 

I'll likely write a whole separate blog post about it, but for now I'm just going to say that slowing down and being forced to stop and think while the ink dries has been so good for me and just made me love my story more. 

I don't need to rush. I can just sit and calmly write my story with slow, careful strokes. If you're someone who rushes a lot and gets super impatient with yourself when you can't work fast enough, I really recommend trying a dip pen instead of typing.