Writer’s Forge

Get help improving your writing skills.

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”
― Margaret Atwood

While there is no need to wait for perfection to start writing, there is a lot to be said for working to improve your writing skills or simply getting another reader’s feedback on your work-in-progress. Sometimes, that means seeking a little help or guidance from a tutor or ‘Wordsmith.’

As part of our commitment to supporting students, auditors, and others in their academic and literary pursuits, Signum University offers Writer’s Forge to help anybody who wants to up their academic writing game, get feedback on their creative writing approaches, or talk through a particular project. This program is open to all members of the Signum community, including current M.A. or Graduate Diploma students, auditors, Path clients, SPACE explorers, and participants in any of our public programs like Signum Symposia or the Mythgard Academy. Members of the general public, too, are encouraged to hire a Wordsmith to assist them with revising academic, creative, personal, professional, and popular writing of all kinds.

Assistance offered through Writer’s Forge includes (but is not necessarily limited to):

  • Strengthening sentence structure, stylistics, and standard writing conventions
  • Addressing issues with syntax, diction, or quote integration
  • Reviewing sources and citations in academic writing
  • Clarifying logic and argumentation
  • Brainstorming together to develop ideas
  • Suggesting re-organization strategies
  • Thinking about audience, tone, and rhetorical situation.
  • Developmental editing and copy editing.

Interested authors should contact Writer’s Forge via email. The Coordinator will set up a one-on-one video chat; then the client will share their work with their tutor through Google Docs. Both writer and tutor will thus be able to see the document and read it over together as they talk through the writing process, and the writer will be able to mark it up, ask questions, and make suggested revisions alongside the Wordsmith.

In-Class Support

In all of our courses, preceptors are available to provide feedback on individual papers (and other assignments) and work with students on their revisions.

However, in the event that a student needs help with more fundamental writing skills not directly related to the course content, the preceptor for the class may recommend that the student make an appointment with a tutor.

Furthermore, writers of all genres and experience levels can benefit from another pair of eyes on their work and a thoughtful reader devoted to examining their piece carefully.

So please consider making use of the Writer’s Forge!

Writer’s Forge Pricing

$30 per half hour

We have chosen to take an a la carte route for additional services; we only want students to pay for what they use rather than for something they may not need (at other schools, students pay high tuition and fees). This service is available to all our Signum community and the general public, not just a subset of students paying tuition and fees.

Your $30 fee includes a half hour of Wordsmith prep time and a half hour of face-to-face meeting time. Some special projects might allocate your Wordsmith’s time differntly.

Schedule a tutorial session today!

To schedule an appointment or to request more information about our writing tutorial program, email [email protected].

Writer’s Forge Wordsmiths

Sparrow F. Alden is an experienced advisor for teen writing groups, instructor of college composition, and writing coach for creative writers in multiple forms. She is a preceptor in Signum’s SPACE Creative Writing Sector with a focus on worldbuilding in speculative fiction. Sparrow uses author inquiry, character interviews, and the Collaborative Feedback Method to help you move your creative project forward. Do you need to develop an Editing Toolkit for your project? Let Sparrow give you a hand. For fiction pieces longer than a 5,000 word story, inquire about a different fee structure.

Sara Brown was an English teacher to ungrateful teenagers for over twenty-five years until coming to work full time for Signum University, where she is the longest-serving preceptor in the Lang & Lit Faculty. She’s also an editor, currently serving on the editorial board of Mallorn, the academic journal of the Tolkien Society, and co-presenter on the Tolkien Society Award-winning podcast, The Tolkien Experience.

Maggie Parke currently works in both education and the film industry, developing projects, editing scripts, and consulting in both fields. She is head of Signum Studios, co-host of the Other Minds and Hands podcast on adaptation with Corey Olsen, and teaches at Signum University and CAPA University (London).  She is inspired by good, clear writing in fantasy, fiction, non-fiction and academia alike. She aims to help people clarify and create what it is they want to share or discuss.

Jenn Rogers has been teaching and tutoring writing for more than ten years. Her experience covers middle-school to graduate-level creative and critical writing skills. Helping students improve their research writing technique is Jenn’s special delight.

Gabriel Schenk enjoys writing and reading speculative fiction, and his favorite authors include C.S. Lewis, Philip Pullman, and Diana Wynne Jones. In editing, he particularly likes helping people find the core idea they wanted to express and the words they need to do that.

Schedule a tutorial session today!

To schedule an appointment or to request more information about our writing tutorial program, email [email protected].

Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.

Patrick Rothfuss

If I knew how the books were going to end before embarking on them, there would be little reason to write them.

Lois McMaster Bujold

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.

Robert Heinlein

You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.

Octavia Butler

Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.

Ray Bradbury

Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it.

Madeleine L’Engle

Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference.

Stephen King

A piece of writing is like a piece of magic. You create something out of nothing.

Susanna Clarke

I write only because I find it easier so to say such things as I really want to say.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Skill in writing frees you to write what you want to write. It may also show you what you want to write. Craft enables art.

Ursula K. LeGuin

Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.

C.S. Lewis