L. Jagi Lamplighter is the author of the YA fantasy series: The Books of Unexpected Enlightenment, the third book of which was nominated for the YA Dragon Award in 2017 and the fourth book of which won the first YA Ribbit Award, and the fifth book of which also won two small literary awards. She is also the author of the Prospero's Children series: Prospero Lost, Prospero In Hell, and Prospero Regained.

She has published numerous articles and short stories. She also has an anthology of her own works: In the Lamplight. She also edits for Superversive Press and teaches The Art and Craft of Writing.

When not writing, she switches to her secret identity as wife and stay-home mom in Centreville, VA, where she lives with her dashing husband, author John C. Wright, and their four darling children, Orville, Ping-Ping Eve, Roland Wilbur, and Justinian Oberon.

The Art and Craft of Writing by L. Jagi Lamplighter

Up your writing game!

Practical, hands-on fiction writing fundamentals. Delve into the secrets of writing fiction, presented in clear language to make them easily-graspable and useable.

Lamplighter brings her years of writing and editing experience to this new approach to understanding storytelling and how its many parts work together to weave a well-crafted and entertaining tale. Insights into theme, character, description, plot, portraying emotions, avoiding infodumps, dealing with tropes, and more.

New hope for writers in despair.



  • "The course is a treasure trove of practical, positive advice you can use immediately to improve your WIP or solidify your ideas for a new project."

    – Marina Fontaine, author of Chasing Freedom.
  • "I took L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright's "Guinea Pig" writing class in November of 2018 and it definitely upped my game. Since "graduating" her course, I've sold over 30 short stories and 2 novellas (as of February 2021). Thanks, Jagi."

    – James Pyles, author of multiple published short stories
  • "I especially liked how you simply laid out ideas about story and characters, which instantly made me go, 'Oh, yeah! I've seen that before!'... I felt that these were techniques that would have taken me ages to work out on my own, and seeing them simply stated has seriously helped me as a writer."

    – Billy Charlton, teen student



Introduction: Words on a Page

All writing is just words on a page.

What does this mean, and why does it matter to us? To answer that question, I must tell you a bit of a story.

When I was young, I was in awe of the ability of good authors to transport us to an entirely different life. Reading the greats was glorious but also occasionally intimidating. A good book can make us sympathize first with a frightened rabbit and then with a hungry fox. They call upon us to "burn with the bliss and suffer the sorrow of all mankind.*"

I loved what I read, but I despaired that I could ever write anything half so wonderful. I feared I would never figure out the mystery of how my favorite authors conveyed so much.

Then one day, it struck me.

Books were just words on a page.

Nothing more.

If an author could convey something within the pages of his book, it had to have been accomplished by the use of specific, individual words.

If I could figure out which words produced which effects, I could learn to do the same.

I remember one of the first times I figured out how to indicate an emotion indirectly. I was quite proud of myself. However, it led to an unexpectedly funny conversation with a dear family member who had some very odd beliefs, including that he had some sort of extra sensory perception.

My family member: I perceive here that your main character is angry.

Me, delighted: Yes! I went out of my way to slip that in. So glad it worked.

My family member: No. I'm not talking about what you wrote. I am telling you that I am discerning that your character is secretly bitter about what is going on.

Me: Yes, I put that in, on purpose.

My family member: No, I am telling you that I am picking this up psychically.

I didn't win that argument, but I had successfully taken my first small steps towards using words to capture the magic that is the story.

In the lessons within this book, we will consider words upon a page. We will look at how to make them work for us instead of against us, at what kind of words we need to put down to get the effects we desire to achieve.

Books are enchanting. They are like a draught of strong wine. A good story sweeps us off our feet and caries us to true love, to far off places, to Narnia or Barsoom. As writers of stories, we can reach others, lift them out of sorrow, sometimes even sway the course of lives, or nations.

All of us yearn to write, including you, dear reader, or you would not be reading this. We long to bring to vivid life those stories that burn deep within our hearts. We wish not only to see them given life but also to share them and, perhaps, to touch the heart of another.

Books may just be words on a page, but look what we can make those words do!

Welcome to The Art and Craft of Writing

And the very end:

In Conclusion

When we set out to write stories, we wish to share the visions that have come into our minds and touched our hearts. We wish to share them in such a way that they will touch the hearts of others—or scare them, or make them laugh, or whatever it is that we wish to express.

The more people appreciate a given story—the more they interact with it or refer to it—the more real it becomes. Some stories have gained so much reality that they have taken on a life of their own. Some have even delighted hearts for more than three thousand years.

When we write, we set out to enter this parade of lasting tales that has been going since before recorded history. Whether our place in this parade is large or small may be out of our control, but nothing can stop us from joining!

So on those dark days, when the words won't flow, and it seems your efforts will never be repaid, don't give up!

Don't listen to the voice of hopelessness, the whisper of despair, the snide snicker of, "Be practical, man. You can't write." Because while many forces in the world might keep you from some particular measurement of success, the only thing that can keep you from writing is: if you stop writing.

Nothing else can stop you!

And with this, we conclude our time together.

God willing, something in these lessons will stick, allowing you to better convey to the page the story that shines in your mind. Then those who read your works will find them to be anything but mere words on a page.

* — "Burn with the bliss and suffer the sorrow of all mankind"—my father's favorite line from the Hindu religious epic, Bhagavad Gita.