On Writing for Comfort (And Why It Matters)


I just wrapped up another installment for a really fun-to-me project. The story is for a younger audience and I can’t wait to tell you more about it. Part of the reason why I loved this process so much, is because I enjoy worldbuilding to create that sense of wonder and whimsy. The stakes aren’t life or death, either, which is a big change and a welcome relief from the “Oh gods, oh gods, we’re all going to die!” stories and games I often pen.

Why do comfort stories matter? Stories written for comfort create safe emotional spaces. These are places our minds and hearts can go to rest from whatever is happening in our corner of the world. I strongly believe these books are not just for children. We all need a reprieve from time to time and reading a comfort story can be an act of self-care. Comfort stories can take different shapes, too, and aren’t always about obstacles that need to be overcome with violence. Those obstacles can be puzzles or misunderstandings that need to be worked out instead of a solution that can only be resolved by grabbing the biggest hammer you can find.

Some of my favorite comfort authors include Terry Pratchett, for his biting wit and commentary embedded in a gentle narrative style even when the fate of the universe is at stake, and Diana Wynne Jones who wrote several books including Howl’s Moving Castle which was adapted to a full-length animated film and produced by Studio Ghibli. Many comfort stories offer kids the ability to see themselves as the heroes in fantastic or everyday environments. Children’s books are so important in any timeline, in a world fraught with uncertainty and meanness they gift kids with the one thing we all need from time to time: hope.

What about you? Do you have any comfort stories you like to read? Any authors you’d like to recommend? Please share!

Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

Want an interview? If you’d like to interview me or request a guest blog post, please connect with me via the contact page, too. Due to time constraints and other communicative concerns, I typically don’t follow up on requests via social media.

Keen on sending fan mail? I am also happy to engage with readers and fans. Please note that I am unable to reply satisfactorily to certain types of queries related to the companies I work for due to the agreements I typically sign. If you have a question about a TV show or a line of books, the best way to get your answer is to contact the studio or publisher directly.

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