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.
Practical advice and resources for the person who can write, but can't seem to get published.
to read Advice for Beginning Writers.
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.
to read Conflict in a Fantasy Romance.
Another essay written for The Essence of Story.
to read The Character Driven Plot.
What are the legitimate uses of flashbacks in storytelling?
to read Flashbacks.
Is it possible to create a new archetype?
to read Female Archetypes.
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.
to read The Development 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.
to read Son of First Channel
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.
to read The Man Who Came to ... ?
More early discussion about how a continuing series grows.
to read The Expanding 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.
to read What--Another New Universe?!
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.
to read The Case of the One-armed Donor
More on universe development, as well as what the publishing industry does to writers.
to read Of Wer-Gens and Red Killer Whales
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.
to read theOutline ofZelerod's Doom