Lorin's War Against Times New Roman - And a New Editor Joins the Team


  • Resources for Writers
  • Second BONI Added Due to Popular Demand!
  • Dedicated Story Development Sessions
  • Rob Sanders Joins the Team
  • Lorin's War Against Times New Roma
  • Dear FreeX
  • Where Are You Writing?



Do you know that Free Expressions can help you on every step of your writing journey? From concept to story development to deep editing, workshops, and more, we're here to help you succeed in 2017.

Personalized Story Development
Editorial Services
Breakout Novel Intensive Workshop - Tampa, Florida
Story Masters Workshop - Toronto, Ontario
Emotional Craft of Fiction Workshop - Houston, Texas & Seattle, WA



Our Hood River BONI sold out so quickly, we decided to offer a second session later this year in Tampa, Florida. If you've never been to a BONI workshop before, come see why so many students think it's the best professional writer's workshop out there. In BONI's sixteen years, the workshop has helped launch many successful writing careers. Limited enrollment, so don't wait to register!

Click here for more information and to sign up! 



Do you have an awesome novel premise
but don’t know where to take it?

Are you stuck in the “mushy middle” of your work
and running out of steam?

Coming soon, an opportunity to win a
free twenty-five minute Story Development Session
with Lorin to help you get unstuck and fired up!

Keep an eye on your inbox! 




We are thrilled to announce that Rob Sanders has joined the Free Expressions team as our picture book editor.

Rob is a published picture book author, elementary school teacher, and writing instructor. He also serves as assistant regional advisor for the Florida chapter of the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

His picture books include: COWBOY CHRISTMAS, OUTER SPACE BEDTIME RACE, RUBY ROSE, OFF TO SCHOOL SHE GOES, and the upcoming RODZILLA, among several others to be published in 2017 and 2018.

Each year, Rob coaches hundreds of picture book writers to greater success. We're so happy to bring his skills to our clients!

Contact us to arrange to work with Rob.



[This article is an oldie but goodie from the archives.]

Imagine this: every day, you duck into your office cubicle. You sit in your chair and feel, as you do every day, kind of squished. The arms of the chair dig into you; the seat’s stiff and unyielding; the lumbar support feels like a fist grinding into your delicate coccyx ALL DAY, for hours and hours.

It’s just not a great chair.

And the funny thing is that in those cubicles all around you sit many other chairs—similar to the one you have but a little more generous in proportion, a little more comfortable for long hours of work. In fact, most of them even look better, and your cubicle can always stand a little sprucing, right?

By the way, all of those chairs are available for your use. No one else needs them. So, why is it that day after day after day, you come into that office and sit in that same, uncomfortable, chair? Because it’s there? Because it’s the chair that someone pulled up to your desk before you arrived?

Truly, you’re sitting in a room filled with more comfortable, more attractive chairs, and you’re just going to sit in that same awful chair every single day? Come on!

And that, my friends, is what you’re doing every time you create a document using Times New Roman. You are selecting the squished, uncomfortable chair of fonts. The stingy, mean-spirited, jerk of typefaces. The ruthless—

Okay. Breathe, Lorin. Breeaaaaathe.

I may be getting carried away. It’s just that it’s an awful font, and if we’re not vigilant, if we don’t pick up arms NOW and fight for greater aesthetics and readability, then we’ll be stuck using this miscreant font for the rest of our days.

So, what’s wrong with it? Well, first and foremost, it’s an overly proportional font, which means it gives only as much space to each letter as each letter requires, rather than giving some of the slimmer fonts a little room to breathe. I mean, why punish poor “l” because it doesn’t need the same space as its more voluptuous compatriots?

Secondly, it’s just a little bit smaller (height wise) at standard twelve points than other twelve point fonts. Which makes it harder on the eyes. Which creates at least a subliminal crankiness (or a fully LIMINAL one, in my case) on the part of agents, editors, and readers.

A standard manuscript page should have somewhere in the neighborhood of about 250 words. A standard page typed in Times New Roman has about 6,853 words.

No really. Check it yourself.

And then join me, brothers and sisters of the word, in fighting the good fight. Select another twelve-point serif font to become YOUR standard. How about a nice Bookman? Or Georgia? New Century? Palatino?? Any of these are better, easier on the eyes, more readable. And just a click away!

So, kick off the shackles of font servitude and make a new selection! Go get yourself a new chair and toss that old, uncomfortable seat right into the office incinerator.

We’ll both be glad you did.



I'm seeing a trend for including less description in writing. For example, characters are breaking into a house. Instead of describing the house and the break-in, you start immediately with them getting to the safe. Unless they're somehow obstructed or confronted, you go immediately to the next action.

My personal preference is for description. But I'm seeing some people say "Get rid of it." Thoughts?

Thanks so much for the question!

In my mind, this has a great deal to do with two things: tension and intimate versus authorial point of view. And really, the two are closely enough aligned that I'll deal with them in package form.

The reason you might be noticing a trend is that it parallels a trend in publishing toward closer viewpoints that reflect, deeply, the psyches and experiences of our protagonists and other viewpoint characters.

Even a relatively static description can be made tense via the viewpoint character's feelings of ambiguity or apprehension in approaching the place. Description can and should reflect that character's state of mind, as well as reflect the viewpoint character's goals for the scene.

In other words, a static description with little emotional content and motivational drive comes across as flat. A description that lets us into the character' state of mind and keeps us in touch with what's at stake in the moment will tend to grip the reader.

So, if a character is viewing the house with a desire to figure out the best way to break in and get to the safe, that description will have more life and purpose. If a person is returning to or arriving at a place that has some emotional significance, that description will also be livelier. If there's some strange, discordant detail in the scene, something that creates uncertainty, that will also elevate the description.

Painting a picture with no emotional content, even if the words are exquisite, doesn't do much for many contemporary readers. We need description to do double or triple duty now, with one of its main objectives to be moving the story along and keeping us rooted in the viewpoint character's consciousness.

Hope that helps!

Send all your questions to: freexnewsletter@gmail.com 



This month Michalea Moore shares her sunporch writing space with us. 


Send a picture to freexnewsletter@gmail.com and we’ll feature it here!