Writing Tips: How Can I Become a Writer?

Write. Here’s the thing: I often get people asking me how I became a writer and most of the time I start gearing up to talk about finding markets to publish stories or how to write a professional cover letter. But then it turns out, that’s not what they want to know, they’re still just […]

Defining Romance

I’m not going to talk about what it means to be romantic. That’s highly individual, and there are no shortcuts. If you want to know what your significant other likes or dislikes, ask! What I’m concerned with is the definition of romance in fiction, because sometimes I see it flung about in wide circles at […]

Fated Love

Fated love really is a thrilling idea, isn’t it? One man. One woman. Destined to be together because of….(whatever). There’s an intensity there, not to mention the cozy feeling of a secure happily ever after. I played with the idea myself, when I was as young as 14 or 15, dreaming up an alien race […]

Tipes for Writers: Third Party Heroes

The main character(s) of your story should at least try to solve their own problems. It’s okay if they get help, but if they simply languish in endless misery until some third party hero comes along to save the day, then my question is: Why isn’t the third party hero the main character? You probably […]

Magical Complications

A breath of magic is becoming a popular prop in modern fiction. Even books that might not otherwise be classified as fantasy will bring in ghosts, psychics, or just a hint of something other. As a lifelong lover of speculative fiction, I am enthusiastic about this trend, but I want to see it use well. […]

Bringing Worlds to Life this September

Bringing New Worlds to Life in Science Fiction and Fantasy Instructor: Christine Amsden. Whether subtly or dramatically different from reality, science fiction and fantasy stories take place in a world all their own. We’ll start with world building, and then work on ways to bring those worlds to life through story and character. There will […]

If it’s not worth knowing now…

If you read my writing tips at all, then you know how I feel about withheld information. Yes, it’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine, one I sometimes overlook but never condone. But recently, I’ve run across an interesting trend: In the end, the great mystery (which was no mystery at all since […]

Tips for Writers: Get a Web Site!

I don’t do a lot of marketing tips for writers, but this is absolutely, positively, marketing 101. You got a book? You want me to read it? Then show me you’re serious, or I’m not going to bother. I get requests for reviews and tours on a regular basis, and I like to give fresh […]

School’s Out

Summer break doesn’t look quite the same from the point of view of the mom. With my son in kindergarten and my daughter in pre-school, I had half a day, every day, with no interruptions. Ahhhhh…. Now they’re home with me all day. Ahhhhh!!!! Luckily, they’re good kids. And thanks to imposed quiet times, I’m […]

Professional Critiquing Services

As of this month, I have decided to offer professional critiquing services for novelists interested in honest, insightful feedback. As many of you know, I’ve been teaching workshops for the Muse and Savvy Authors for years, but you may not know what I enjoy most about them: I love reading a promising piece of work, […]