David H. Safford

Author & Story Coach



2nd Place Winner!

“Whatever Happened to Jeremy Mankin?” is today’s featured story at Short Fiction Break! Continue reading “2nd Place Winner!”


Reasons Readers Quit #8: No Consequences


All of us grew up with them.

And we learned that adulthood is full of them, too.

But so often when we read a book or watch a movie, the rules of life and consequences don’t seem to apply.

And this is a sure-fire way to repel readers forever.

Continue reading “Reasons Readers Quit #8: No Consequences”

How I, a Former Judge, Won a Short Story Contest

Honorable Mention counts, right?

First and foremost, props to the Grand Prize winner, Sef Churchill and her wildly imaginative story, “Porthole.” She should write her own (legitimate) version of this post.

But my Honorable Mention was included in the “Congratulations to the Winners” email – and I call that #WINNING!

So here’s how I did it, and how you can too. Continue reading “How I, a Former Judge, Won a Short Story Contest”

Featured Winner at “Short Fiction Break!”

“The Warmth of Blankets” is the featured story at Short Fiction Break today!

If you haven’t yet, give it a read and leave a comment!

As always, thank you so much for reading. It means the world to me!

Reason Readers Quit #6: No Authentic Conflict

In 2004, I wrote and produced a play. I was convinced it was brilliant

(It wasn’t).

I was especially proud of all the conflict between its two main characters, believing that this made the play an honest portrayal of life’s complicated issues.

When it debuted, I hoped that my friend and professional actor, Landon, would be mightily impressed.

(He wasn’t).   Continue reading “Reason Readers Quit #6: No Authentic Conflict”

“The Warmth of Blankets” – Winner of Honorable Mention!

After many nights hiding in the hot, lonely swamps of the Deep South, Celestine and her daughter decide to risk staying at an unproven Underground Railroad Station. “The Warmth of Blankets” is the story of their terrifying and heroic trip into the home of a white farmer that may, or may not, be worthy of their trust. 

Read “The Warmth of Blankets,” winner of Honorable Mention in the 2017 Spring Fiction Contest (hosted by The Write Practice and Short Fiction Break), here! Continue reading ““The Warmth of Blankets” – Winner of Honorable Mention!”

Why Readers Quit #5: No Resistence

I love The Lord of the Rings. 

I fell in love at 17 when I saw The Fellowship of the Ring in the theater, and I immediately picked up the books.

I trust I’m not alone. Authors of great fantasy like Tolkien, Rowling, Martin, and more, fill our shelves and our imaginations. Continue reading “Why Readers Quit #5: No Resistence”

Why Readers Quit #4: No Flaw

I want you to meet Tim.

Tim is a well-meaning, energetic writer – probably just like you.

But (hopefully) unlike you, Tim writes stories that are deeply flawed. And he isn’t alone. A lot of amateur writers make the same mistake, and its killing their readership.

Are you?

Continue reading “Why Readers Quit #4: No Flaw”

Why Readers Quit #2: No Physical Goal

“I want to write something that’s deep.”

If you’ve ever spoken or thought these words, then I have some tough news for you.

Readers are probably walking away from your stories.

And the reason is going to shock you.
Continue reading “Why Readers Quit #2: No Physical Goal”

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