Category Archives: Writing Videos

Final Editing

What does reading out loud have to do with story writing? Pete Court will explain why it’s a great way to help with final editing, along with other great tips to help you present your story in the best possible way.


Our other Stories of Life writing videos:

Getting Started by James Cooper

Finding your Voice by Pete Court

Five Ways to Improve you Story by Mark Worthing and Pete Court

Watching these videos and doing the associated exercises will help you to write your story of faith and testimony. Now you can either submit it, or hang on to that draft if you’ll like personalised feedback for our editors. Information on how to submit drafts online still to come.

2016 – 2019 Stories of Life anthologies

Will your story be on our 2020 Stories of Life anthology? We hope so. Whether you submit it now or later, please make sure you send in your story by 31 July. Faith is precious, especially in dark times. Don’t waste the light.

Five Ways to Improve Your Story

If you’ve been following our writing videos – Getting Started and Finding Your Voice – you’ll already have a story. In this short video, Pete Court presents five tips to improve your story.

Exercise questions:

1. Does each person, place and event in your story contribute to the main story?

2. Where should the story end? Is the last paragraph necessary?

3. Are there adjectives or adverts that do not contribute to the main story?

4. Is there religious jargon that would be unclear to friends who are not Christians or who do not go to your church?

5. Proof read for spelling and grammatical mistakes.

The most important tip: just write it and send it in. It may never be perfect, but it may still be a great story. Please give us the pleasure of reading it.

Submissions close 31 July 2020.

Finding Your Voice by Pete Court

Finding Your Voice might seem to be more suited to a singing class than a writing competition. But, your voice is what distinguishes your story from every other story on the planet, and makes it worth telling.

Your voice is not something mythical or hard to find. In this ten-minute video, Pete Court, Creative Writing lecturer at Tabor, gives us practical steps on how to find our voice.


Pete read several examples from our 2017 anthology, The Gecko Renewal. These stories were also selected for broadcast over 1079 Life over the Australian summer of 2017/18. You can listen to their entire story below, which is a great way to experience each writer’s voice.Gecko on Bookcover‘An Unlikely Rescuer’ by Amy Ireland


‘Encountered’ by Yvonne Smuts




  1. Read the the story that you wrote after watching ‘Getting Started’ by Dr James Cooper.
  2. Think of who one other person present at the event. How would your story differ from his or her recount of that event? This would include details you noticed and emotions you experienced. (If there was no one else present, put an imaginary friend, or even your dog, at the scene.)
  3. What is the feeling you want to convey?
    • Which parts of your story convey that feeling? Expand on it and see if it improves the story.
    • Which parts of your story do not contribute to that feeling? Remove it and see if it improves the story.
  4. Read the modified story out loud to check if it makes sense and reads smoothly. Adjust as necessary – wow, there you have it. A story told in your unique voice! Well done.

Stories of Life is so more than a writing competition. We exist to help people of faith to tell their stories well, and to provide a platform for the best of those stories. Check out our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life.

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

Will our 2020 anthology have your story in it? We hope so. Keep up with our writing videos in order to get your Story of Life submission ready for Feedback Month in June – personalized feedback on your story draft before submission closes on 31 July. (Details to follow. No fee for requesting feedback.)




Getting Started by Dr James Cooper

Follow-up Exercises

1. To help you find the focus of your story, try to answer these questions:

  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it take place?
  • Who was involved?
  • What was it about?
  • How did it unfold?
  • Why did it happen?

2. What did you learn or discover (about yourself, about God, about life) as a result?

3. Call your Uncle Fred (watch video if this puzzles you) and tell him your story. If possible, record your conversation.
The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

In the video, James refers to several stories from our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life.

Listen to a reading of The Cab Trip in our previous blog post, or get our books delivered to your door.


James Cooper

James Cooper is Head of Creative Writing at Tabor College, Adelaide, where he has taught writing for over ten years. An active writer of both fiction and poetry, James’ work has been published in journals both locally and overseas. He has edited and co-edited numerous anthologies, including Tales from the Upper Room and the Stories of Life collections. His YA novel Never Let Go was shortlisted in 2016 for the Text Prize.