The Mission

Drawing from the wide world of story in all its forms, Storm Writing School examines what aspects of story affect an audience emotionally and keep them engaged. Stories have the power to transform people, to expose them to new modes of thinking, to make them more empathetic, to give them hope and ease their suffering. As Robert McKee says, “Our appetite for story is a reflection of the profound human need to grasp the patterns of living, not merely as an intellectual exercise, but within a very personal, emotional experience.” If you want to be the kind of storyteller who has such effect and impact on readers, you need to understand the inner workings of story on both the holistic level and at the line/page/scene level of your story. That’s what we’re here to investigate.

You can read more about my core philosophies here.

What Does SWS Offer?

Storm Writing School offers MFA-level craft tips for writers of stories. The blog serves as a repository of craft articles; the school offers courses–both paid and free–to help writers understand and put to practice techniques for engaging readers and moving them emotionally.

I offer editing services for short stories, novels, and creative nonfiction.

I run online critique groups–two each “semester” (Fall = Sept. – Jan.; Spring = Feb. – May)

I offer online classes.

I offer coaching.

I have a newsletter you should sign up for.

Who Am I?

My name is TD Storm. I live in Madison, Wisconsin with my wife and two children (both of whom are currently running around the house shouting, “Dingo encounter!”).

I’ve taught writing and literature since 1999, both at the high school and post-secondary levels. I currently teach at the University of Wisconsin. My teaching style works for most people who give me a chance–though I admit that I thrive on face-to-face interaction, where I have better eye contact and smile more. As I’ve moved to more online instruction in recent years, however, I’ve found some ways to make it work well (video conferencing, for instance).

I write short stories and essays, with recent work at Literary Hub and Copper Nickel. I’ve been a finalist in several short story contests, and I won the Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award.

Check out the introductory video on the main school page to see me in action.

How Can I Help You?

I take writing and storytelling seriously. They are as important to human societies as any occupation. You have stories to tell, and they deserve to be told well. As a result, I believe in you and your writing, but I’ll also challenge you to do better. I’m a compassionate teacher with high expectations. I don’t believe in sugar-coating. But I also know that writing is a very personal matter and I’m not here to beat you up or demoralize you.

There are no shortcuts to writing, however. It’s like losing weight or getting in shape. You have to do the work. I can be your physical trainer, so to speak, but you have to do the work. I’m not going to promise you quick solutions or 5 steps to a bestseller. But I can promise you sound, hard-hitting craft advice and full engagement with your writing.

I believe we learn art best by imitation and by thoughtful consumption of other art. As such, I teach via exemplars. I break down what successful writers do and extract specific lessons you can apply to your work.

If you want to get to know if I’d be a good fit, contact me. If you’re considering an editor for a novel, that’s a big undertaking; I’m happy to Skype or FaceTime with you so you can see what I’m like. Take a class of mine online; if it’s not a good fit (it’s either too advanced or too basic), then withdraw, get your money back, and try a different class if you think you like my approach. But if we’re not right for each other, by all means, go find someone else.

Contact me with any questions you have.

What Do People Say About Me?

In a physical school, I’d have a reputation. Students would interact with each other and say what they like about me or don’t like. I wouldn’t need to do any marketing or ask students for a quote about how great I am. I could just focus on the teaching. But this is not that, so: