"Everything Douglas Bond writes...is a fascinating read."
Joel Belz, WORLD Magazine



“The Devil hates goose quills!” (Martin Luther)

When it's time for a writing assignment, do your kids groan, contort, and make excuses?

Writing is hard work—but what many kids don’t realize is just how much fun that work can be.

Join Douglas Bond, author of more than twenty-five published books, for a no-more-excuses summer writing camp on the Bond’s hillside farm.

From the Optimist Club’s 2015 “Teacher of the Year,” your kids will learn Bond’s C4-Explosive Writing method. Using CS Lewis, Tolkien, and other greats as models, this intensive, hands-on writing camp will launch participants forward in writing fiction, poetry, and essays. (writing students' testimonials)

WHERE: The Scriptorium of The Red House Farm (in Olalla near Gig Harbor)

WHEN: August 3-5 (Wed-Fri), 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

FOR WHOM: Young people entering 6-9th grades

COST: $125 each (sibling discount available; contact me about scholarships)

WHAT TO BRING: Writing materials (pencil, notebook or blank book); sack lunch and drink (bottled water and snack provided); sunscreen; bug repellent; any medications you need; boots if you'd like to explore the farm and animals for writing inspiration.

Space is limited--Register today

Call 253-381-1961 or email [email protected]

Let’s give the Devil more to hate!


Bond Books Reading Service. For well over two decades, along with writing twenty-five books, I have taught hundreds of young adults how to write. To my delight, I have seen many of them win writing awards and valuable scholarships; go on to be highly successful in college, graduate school, and the work place; some take up their pen in professions that involve them in writing every day; and--to my great pleasure--several have gone on to be published authors. 

Recently a number of former students wrote to tell me about the far-reaching impact of our time together: One student, now in medical school, wrote, "Bond's literature and writing classes were some of the most useful I have ever taken, and the care and effort he puts into his students is bar none," and another, now a consultant for Microsoft, wrote of his time at university, "English professors, history professors, political science professors, communication professors, and religion professors asked who taught me to write; I would always answer, 'Thank Mr. Bond.'"(other writing students' testimonials)

Last year alone, thanks be to God, my students experienced the greatest writing success of any year of my teaching career. For example, in the double-blind judged, Pierce County Library Foundation's creative writing contest, my high-school-aged students managed to win seven of twelve monetary writing awards in both poetry and short story fiction. And in a North American regional high school essay contest (student writers hailing from three-states and British Columbia), my students managed to sweep the entire writing contest, winning first, second, and third places. We give God the glory for these successes and are grateful to him.

Now, in the providence of God, I have the opportunity to spread the net wider so that more young people (and adults) have the same opportunity to improve their writing skill, for the glory of Christ. As a writer and as a teacher of writing, "I count myself among those who learn as they write and write as they learn" (Augustine). I am now available to help you do the same.

If you're serious about improving your writing, follow these three steps:

1. Read the writing categories below and see which one fits your writing project. 

2. Email Douglas Bond at [email protected] and briefly introduce yourself and your writing project. Attach a Word document of your writing project. 

3. You will receive a PayPal invoice for the reading service (or you can pay by check). 

Unless there is unusually high volume, I will complete my critique within two weeks.

“No teacher shaped my love for the written word more than Douglas Bond. Under his instruction, I learned to craft essays, formulate theses, and articulate research so effectively that one university writing professor insisted I write a thank you card to my high school English teacher." Bekah Ueland


Common Application and College Entrance Essays: Is your son or daughter anguishing over common application essays for college? Have they realized how critical these essays are to their success in being accepted at the college of their choice or to winning significant amounts of scholarship funds for college and avoiding crippling debt accumulated through four years of college? I have been blessed to coach hundreds of students transitioning to college as they craft mature, scholarship-winning essays. I look forward to helping your son or daughter as well (I critique and guide with integrity; I do not write essay for anyone). [Fee: 6 cents a word] 

Creative Writing--Short Story Fiction: Send me a typed, double-spaced, electronic copy of your short story (1,000 word minimum), and I will give it a close read and critique, returning to you tracked suggestions in the margin, as well as a written critique of the strengths and weakness of the short story, and offering you specific ways to improve your writing. Should your work merit it, I will also suggest publishing options for your short fiction work. [Fee: 3.5  cents per word]

Creative Writing--Novel: Send me a typed, double-spaced, electronic copy of a synopsis of your novel (100-150 words), the first chapter, and two other chapters from the manuscript (4,000 word minimum).  I will read and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the work, returning to you tracked suggestions in the margins, as well as a 1 1/2 to 2 page written analysis of the merits of the work, with clear recommendations of how to improve your writing. Should your work merit it, I will also suggest publishing options for your novel. [Fee: 2.5 cents per word]

Creative Writing--Poetry: Send me a typed, double-spaced, electronic copy of your poetry (left margin, no center-lined poetry). Write a brief paragraph explanation of the inspiration for the poetry, the form and structure you have chosen, and the poetic conventions you are employing in the poem. Likely, I will not read the paragraph until I have read and considered the poetry on its own merits, but it will be beneficial to have your explanatory to consult as I prepare my comments and critique. Should your poetry merit it, I will suggest publishing options. [Fee: $2.00 per line; 14-line minimum]

Creative Writing: Hymn or Song Lyric: Send me a typed, double-spaced electronic copy of your hymn or song (left margin, no center-lined poetry). If you were inspired to write the hymn from a biblical text, type out the passage at the top of the hymn. Be sure your hymn lyric is in a consistent meter for ease of singing. Should your hymn or song lyric merit it, I will suggest publishing and possible composer options for your work. [Fee: $2.50 per line; 12-line minimum]

Research Paper: Send a typed assignment page that gives precise details of the prescription and requirements for the research paper. Formatted according to the usage style required (MLA, APA, Chicago Style, other), send me an electronic, typed, double-spaced copy of your research paper. You will have the choice of having me give 1. General Critique. 2. Proof Reading. 3. Style, Editing, and Content Evaluation. [Fee to be arranged]

Novel manuscript: I copy edit fiction at a rate of about 10 pages per hour (pages are about 250 words). So a novella of 25,000 words will cost about $400. A novel of 50,000 words will cost about $800. A novel of 100,000 words will cost about $1,600 and so forth. We can negotiate price based on whether you want proof reading (grammar and basics), copy editing (consistency and some reworking of text), or content editing (more heavy revision and recasting of content). Contact me about discounts and special offers that come up from time to time on my reading services. 

Custom Writing Project (movie or audio scripts, advertising copy, brochure copy, website text, other): Contact me for a critique of your specific writing project. [Fee to be arranged]

[Publishing industry standard copy editing rates range from $35-$50 hourly. Compare editorial rates at this link

Some of you may be interested in a unique opportunity to hone your writing skills in my OXFORD CREATIVE WRITING MASTER CLASS conducted twice yearly. This is a highly selective writing tutorial on location in Oxford where so many great writers honed their craft over many centuries. Join us for the next OCWMC!

Thanks to Miranda Marquit for this helpful piece on editing:

 What Type of Editing Are You Doing?

The first task is to identify what type of editing you are doing. Different types of editing come with different challenges and difficulties. Some types of editing are more involved than others. There are three main types of editing:

·         Proofreading: This is the easiest type of editing. Proofreading is about getting rid of the cosmetic errors. It is usually the last step in the writing/editing process. It’s not meant to be comprehensive; when you are proofreading, you shouldn’t be re-working text, or re-arranging content. Proofreading is about doing a last run-through to catch surface problems with the content.

·         Copy editing: Copy editing is about improving style, formatting, and accuracy. Copy editing is about making sure there aren’t inconsistencies, and that the style flows well — in addition to being grammatically correct. There are different levels of copy editing: light, medium, and heavy. Light copy editing might consist of double-checking accuracy and taking care of most grammatical issues. Medium copy editing includes heavier lifting, such as correcting flow and re-working some of the text. With heavy copy editing, the editor might re-structure some paragraphs, or heavily correct style, flow, and grammar.

·         Content editing: When you are involved in content editing, the work is much more intensive. You might need to add things that were left out, or re-write sections of content. This takes copy editing to the next level, and can include some level of content creation along with making corrections.


According to The Writer’s Market, the average for proofreading is $3 per page, for copy editing $4 per page, and for content editing you can expect to charge around $7.50 per page.


Written by Miranda Marquit 


   O'Conner               Lewis                Spurgeon            Sutcliff            Shakespeare           Milton             Calvin


“I have very little to say about short-story writing.... Asking me to talk about story-writing is just like asking a fish to lecture on swimming.” Flannery O’Connor

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading; in order to write, a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” Samuel Johnson   

“Beware of advice—even this.” Carl Sandburg

 “Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.” Ray Bradbury

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." Mark Twain

"Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head." From the movie Finding Forrester

"The greatest thing by far is to have a command of metaphor. This alone cannot be imparted by another; it is the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances." Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) - Poetics (1459a4)

"A good style must, first of all, be clear. It must not be mean or above the dignity of the subject. It must be appropriate."Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) - The Art of Rhetoric

"What is written must be easy to read and easy to speak; which is the same." Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) - The Art of Rhetoric, tr H.C. Lawson-Trancred, Ch 3, Sect. 5

"Drama, instead of telling us the whole of a man's life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible." Leo Tolstoy

"The best style is the style you don't notice." Somerset Maugham

"Might we not say that every child at play behaves like a creative writer, in that he creates a world of his own, or, rather, rearranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him?" Freud    

"Writing with hands and feet."

"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." Augustine, Letters cxliii.2, as cited in John Calvin to the Reader, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1559  Read an author Interview about writing 

"Luther once said, 'The devil hates goose quills,' and, doubtless, he has good reason, for ready writers, by the Holy Spirit's blessing, have done his kingdom much damage." C. H. Spurgeon (May 29, Morning and Evening)

After reading John Calvin's incomparable response to Cardinal Sadoleto, who was trying to woo Geneva back to Rome, Martin Luther said, "Here is writing with hands and feet."


Teaching Truth With Fiction, Douglas Bond speaking at Heritage Home Educators Conference, 2009

Here are important considerations to keep in mind as you write:

1. Be a careful observer of people and events around you. Keen, perceptive observation is essential for any good writer.

2. Write down your observations. Keep a blank book handy for writing careful descriptions of people and places. Keep paper and pencil by your bed at night so that when ideas come you are ready to write them down--then you'll be able to get back to sleep. 

3. Find the best books and read and reread them. Study them carefully and decide what makes them so good. 

4. Write about things and places with which you are already familiar.

5. Show; don't tell.

6. Avoid clichés--like the plague

7. Avoid adverbs. Show action with active verbs, and you will not need adverbs.

8. Never aim at style; aim at authenticity.

9. Be brief. Keep it simple and clear.

10. Don't cave in to gender inclusive language. It violates the most basic principles of good writing: be brief, and less is more. He/she fulfills neither principle.

11. Read good poetry. Practice writing poetry in conventional forms, like sonnets in iambic pentameter.

12. Know the English language, the quintessential multicultural language. Study Elements of Style, by Strunk and White.

13. Read what you have written out loud. This is the big test.

14. Remember the three keys to good writing: Rewriting, rewriting, and rewriting. I am not a good writer. I am, however, making progress as a rewriter.

15. Carefully examine your motives for writing.

16. Above all, prepare your mind and heart to write by reading the Bible. It is God-breathed. We are image bearers of God. We have been made new creations in Christ Jesus. There is no greater book than the Bible, the Word of God, or "The Law of Christ" as John Wycliffe termed it. Master its content, and you will write from the heart about enduring things. Master its style, and you will write about them in the most imaginative, Christ-honoring, and winsome ways. 

AUTHOR'S DAUGHTER'S prize winning short story

The author's daughter, Brittany Marie Bond (then 18), won 2nd place in the Our Own Words, Pierce County Library Foundation, the Pierce County Arts Commission, and The News Tribune high school writing contest. Of twelve high school poetry and short story regional honors and cash prizes four were awarded to the author's Covenant High School English students that year (five in 2009, with CHS sweeping the 11/12 fiction-writing awards). Brittany and her fellow award recipients were featured in a News Tribune article May 16, 2006 and read their poetry and short stories in an awards ceremony at Lagerquist Hall, Pacific Lutheran University, May 24. How well did Brittany implement the writing tips?


Not For Time

 by Brittany Bond 

    I rowed as quietly as possible across the glassy bay—squirming on the thwart because I’d stepped on it with wet feet before sitting on it. As I rounded the spit the house came into view, looking more like a fortress made of silvered wood than the humble dwelling it had been. Its once brightly lit window stared vacantly at me without recognition.

    "Well, what did you expect," I muttered to myself, "it to welcome you with open arms? You hardly gave it cause for that."

    After beaching the dory, I stepped gingerly up the seaweed-coated stairs that led to the empty doorway to the basement. The basement was now bare but for a few sawhorses in the far corner. Yet in my mind’s eye the room came alive, as it had been long ago.

    "John, John, Danny’s here!" shouted my Aunt Meg as she dragged me by the hand down the steep stairs.

    Uncle John nodded in my direction but said nothing.

    Still smiling like a three-year-old, Aunt Meg skipped back up the stairs, despite the silver braids that swung behind her. I was left alone with the silent man, who was to be my guardian. Getting one slim strip of wood perfectly smooth seemed to be his only concern. As if I needed a guardian; I was twelve years old and big for my age, and here I was packed off to some obscure bay in Puget Sound with two old relatives. For what seemed like hours I sat, eyes half closed and lips sneering at him. He was humming softly, apparently rejoicing in his work. Now and then he sang a few snatches of words, "…sands of time are sinking…" his head wagging to the tune but his hands all the while worked steadily on the dory slowly forming before my eyes. My stomach growled.

    "Get that thwart there sanded and fitted—then we’ll think about dinner," he said, without glancing up. I did not move.

    Presently a great din came from up the stairs—like someone was kicking pots and pans down some stairs. But it was only Aunt Meg setting the table.

    "She’s hint’n she’s hungry," Uncle John said, with the slow smile he always had when speaking about his sister. "So am I." He stumped up the stairs deliberately, but when I tried to follow, "You will not be welcome at dinner till that thwart there is finished, Dan." And he closed the door.

    While they ate, I slaved over the thwart—my first meal with them and I never ate it. That was fifteen years ago, just after I had been suspended from middle school.

    I climbed the now rotting stairs leading to the kitchen which was still yellow and the evening sun still glowed through the west wall that was all windows. Ivy had invaded through the arched windows and entwined about the cupboards. In a neat row across the ceiling of the kitchen nook were the hooks Uncle John had hammered up for Aunt Meg to hang her lavender to dry. Aunt Meg loved lavender and all herbs, any flower with a scent. She used to sit there, beneath her lavender, listening intently to the sea lapping, the waves breaking over the sand spit and the gulls wheeling above,

    "It’s like listening to a concert to hear all that richness," she would say to me as she breathed deep breaths of the lavender and salt, she even liked the smell of seaweed drying on a low tide.

    She could tell when the tide was ebbing or flowing from the sound of the waves; she could tell the call of a tern from a kingfisher; she could tell where Uncle John and I were just from the sound of our feet. I glanced into the bright little room, off of the kitchen, which had been her bedroom, fearful of the memories it would hold.

    I saw a boy, old enough to know better, slink in and lift the lid of Aunt Meg’s treasured money chest, but as I reached my dirty little paw into it, another hand softly brushed mine aside and closed the lid. I froze for a few seconds, then swung around—her vacant eyes seemed to pierce my soul, and I writhed as one would at the touch of a red-hot poker.

    "I expect you’ll find the view from the kitchen’s the same as here," she said leading me away. I cried silently with shame and anger at letting myself get caught; she pretended not to notice, but she had never missed a sound in that house.

    I hastily left the room and its memories, turning to the kitchen garden. Aunt Meg loved the cool, richness of dirt, but she never grew anything but herbs. She could grow every herb, both commonplace and exotic, except for thyme, which refused to grow in her little plot of land, despite all her coaxings. I think it had something to do with all the salt in the soil there by the bay, but then, all the other herbs grew. She laughed as once again, come spring, her thyme seed refused to show its head,

    "Must be we’re not made for time, Danny," she said; then her face began to glow as if washed in the light of some unknown sun.

    That was the last time she ever worked in that little plot of soil.

    As I turned away from the overgrown plot of land, a phrase from the song Uncle John had been humming flitted like a ghost through my mind, "Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand." Aunt Meg had been overflowing with that dayspring, that "deep sweet well of love." And my life, despite her faithful love, had been a dark, dark midnight. Will dayspring ever come?


                Brittany Marie Bond

Borrowed from...


Top 6 Common Application Essay Tips

1. Think small: When writing the Common Application essay, too many students feel compelled to try and squeeze their entire life story into 650 words. This, friends, is impossible. It is almost always better to think small first. Find a story or event in your life that really meant something to you.  Did you win a competition at the last second?  Was your family stranded on vacation with no power for five days? Have you read something recently that blew your mind?  Now ask yourself- are any of these stories representative of my larger, most valuable qualities?  The perfect essay topic showcases your personality, passions and/or ambitions without trying to do too much at once. Talking about your family’s adoption of a three-legged dog and how your pet’s perseverance and quirky attitude influenced the way you live your life, will make a better essay than a super general diatribe on why you like dogs, for example. If you find yourself getting lost while writing, ask: what am I trying to say about myself, and am I using a specific, compelling example to tell my story?

2. Write first, edit later: When it comes to writing, we are almost always our own worst critics.  So many students want and expect themselves to produce pure, uninhibited brilliance the first time their fingers hit the keys, but that is almost never the way good essay writing works. Writing a compelling essay is a process, and the best writing can often be plucked from our stream-of-consciousness efforts. Don’t edit yourself before you allow your creativity to warm up and pour onto the page. Never judge your writing until you have a few paragraphs written down first. You can always cut what doesn’t work and it is much easier to work with an overabundance of words and ideas than nothing at all.

3. Kill those clichés: We’re not going to beat around the bush here: clichés really get our goats. When you take that trip down memory lane, telling us about the time you were a mover and a shaker putting your nose to the grindstone it makes our blood boil. We’re content and grammar snobs, so we find clichés to be extra unappealing, but we also have enough confidence in your creativity to know that you can do better. Admissions essay readers know it too, and expect you to think out of the box without using phrases like “think out of the box.” So strike those tired sentences from your essay and do it now. Never put off tomorrow what you can do today. It actually hurt us to write that.

4. It’s all in the details: What is the difference between these two sentences? 1. My favorite activities included fishing and cooking my daily catch. 2. My friends and I woke up early every morning to catch bass on Lake Michigan, cooking our spoils with herbs picked from a local farm. In the first sentence, we understand that you enjoyed certain activities. In the second, yes, we know you like fishing but we also understand your commitment to an activity you engaged in every day and recognize that your fishing trips are a social effort. There is a sense of time and place- we can see the setting, smell the herbs. With a few extra words, sentence two tells us much more about your fishing experience. Many students have a tendency to skew generic in the telling of their personal stories.  What makes an essay memorable is often the sum of the little things. If you can paint a clear picture for your reader by providing details, you are much more likely to lodge a marker in their memories.

5. If Nothing Else, Entertain: Imagine you’re a college essay reader at an upstanding academic institution and it is your job to read dozens of essays a day, every day, for weeks on end. Ninety percent of the essays that pass your desk are stone-cold boring, and maybe ten percent break through the fuzz and force you to pay attention. As an applicant, you want your essay to shine a bright light in the face of that oft-bored reader. No matter what your subject, serious, uplifting, sentimental or pithy, your essay should aim to entertain. This will require many elements working together in harmony. You will need a compelling subject, a direct and powerful narrative, impeccable grammar and a memorable style. A little laughter never hurts either. It is often hard to know whether an essay is truly entertaining until the end stages of writing, but when you are reading over your drafts, the question should always be in the back of your mind: Is this essay fun to read? Some students achieve entertainment value by being controversial. Others load their pieces with comic relief. Some are able to describe events in such detail that a reader simply must get to the end of the essay. No matter what tactics you end up using, your goal should be effortless and compelling readability.

6. Brand yourself: In order for your essay to be truly effective, a reader should be able to summarize your subject in a simple sentence. You accomplish this self-branding by choosing a creative topic (or a creative twist on a common topic), and writing about it with enough detail to burn an image of yourself in the reader’s brain. When it comes down to you and another similarly qualified candidate, you want an admissions officer to be able to stand up with your application in his/her hand and say, “I like the girl who performed trapeze in the circus,” or “How about the girl who saved her grandfather’s life?” It will be much harder to remember “the girl who practiced the trapeze, and was also good at riding bikes, and who got an A on every test and who generally worked very hard,” or “the girl who really loved her late grandfather and who feels like she embodies a lot of his core characteristics.” Focus your story. When you finish writing your first draft, do a branding test- try to label yourself based on your essay and see what you come up with. If you can’t easily narrow it down to a punchy description, you probably need to alter or simplify your essay.