These essays were written over many years for a variety of purposes, but all are presented here to help students of writing improve their skills.

Advice for Beginning Writers

Practical advice and resources for the person who can write, but can't seem to get published.
Click Here to read Advice for Beginning Writers.

Conflict in a Fantasy Romance

This essay was written in the summer of 1999 for the WorldCrafters Guild course, The Essence of Story, that I taught with Jacqueline Lichtenberg. The romance novel mentioned in the essay has not been completed; it is one of those many outlines every author collects and stores away to write when the right time comes.
Click Here to read Conflict in a Fantasy Romance.

The Character Driven Plot

Another essay written for The Essence of Story.
Click Here to read The Character Driven Plot.


What are the legitimate uses of flashbacks in storytelling?
Click Here to read Flashbacks.

Female Archetypes

Is it possible to create a new archetype?
Click Here to read Female Archetypes.

The Development of First Channel

A very old essay about how my very first professionally published novel came about. This and the next several essays are reproduced exactly as they appeared in Sime~Gen fanzines at the time that the novels were actually being planned and written. They have not been rewritten in any way.
Click Here to read The Development of First Channel

Son of First Channel

Another very old essay, this one about how best-laid plans gang aft agley! In this case, how one novel got divided into two. As you can see, Jacqueline Lichtenberg and I discovered that we had told the complete story of our protagonist when we had finished half our plot--the rest of the plot was somebody else's story, so it got its own book. We hope that the lessons we teach in the WorldCrafters Guild will prevent other writers from making the same mistake.
Click Here to read Son of First Channel

The Man Who Came to ... ?

Here is an article about how a minor character can take over a major role. These essays from my early writing career show how even after a writer achieves professional publication, she continues to learn her craft.
Click Here to read The Man Who Came to ... ?

The Expanding Universe

More early discussion about how a continuing series grows.
Click Here to read The Expanding Universe

What--Another New Universe?!

This article is about how, in the middle of working on the Sime~Gen universe, with a little help from my friends I developed the Savage Empire universe.
Click Here to read What--Another New Universe?!

The Case of the One-armed Donor

This article concerns character development. We created Owen Lodge in order to answer a persistent question of Sime~Gen fans, but of course he quickly become a fully-rounded character.
Click Here to read The Case of the One-armed Donor

Of Wer-Gens and Red Killer Whales

More on universe development, as well as what the publishing industry does to writers.
Click Here to read Of Wer-Gens and Red Killer Whales

Outline of Zelerod's Doom

This is not an essay. Rather it is the actual selling outline of a novel. Yes, this is the proposal that sold Zelerod's Doom and therefore it may be of help to neo writers wondering just what you put into an outline for a novel. As you can see, you outline the plot, completely, beginning, middle, and end. It is in regular prose, sentences and paragraphs, not the outline form used for school essays. I hope this example is helpful as a model.
Click Here to read theOutline ofZelerod's Doom

This page created with Arachnophilia.