I’ve devoured how-to books and checked out a great many writer websites looking for information on the writing process. From how to get ideas and shape them into story ideas, to the nuts and bolts of beginnings, middles, and ends, to revision, and to the long and winding road of publication. There’s a lot out there – and I know I’ve only scratched the surface. And if you have any ambitions to write, you’ve probably done the same thing. It’s overwhelming. How do you narrow it down? How do you find what works for you? How do you create something different, something that will make you stand out from the slush pile?
In all my searching, I’ve never found another single source of practical, straight-up information like Holly Lisle. I’ve mentioned her here before, but I thought it was high time I devoted an entire post to her and her incredible writing resources. Between the vast amount of information she has for free on her website and the very affordable writing clinics and big writing courses she offers, I have learned so much and gained more confidence as a writer. Right now, she’s opened up her two big writing courses, How to Think Sideways and How to Revise Your Novel. I highly, HIGHLY recommend these courses. Here’s an idea of what they are like:
How to Think Sideways It’s a cool name, huh? It doesn’t begin to describe it, though. If I remember correctly, when she first started mentioning offering this course, it was more about teaching us her brand of “sideways” thinking for getting different, unusual ideas for our short stories, novels, whatever. But, as often happens due to Holly’s generous nature, it morphed into an entire step-by-step course on how to write a novel from beginning to end, send it out and sell it, then do it all over again and again to build and maintain a writing career.
I completed this course and I have to say, even though it sounds corny, it changed my life. Honestly. Not only does Holly have bare-bones practical advice about how to write a novel and build a career, she shows you a new way of looking at writing, life, and yourself. Two things in this course shook me out of my complacent little world.
First, when I started out wanting to write, it was mainly that I wanted to tell a story, a great story, like all those novels I’ve read and loved over the years. I didn’t realize just how much a writer puts of himself into his writing, or, maybe I should say, some writers. Holly shows that to make your story great – not just good – it takes something more, something only you, with your own perspective and personal history, can provide, to make that story a richer experience for the reader. She shows how you can find this in yourself.
Second, I learned what it was that really motivated me to write in the first place and how to keep myself motivated while writing. You know those hard slogs of writing the middle chapters and the soul-whithering problems that crop up at the same time as your family is demanding to be fed or worries over finances break your concentration or your whole world implodes? Holly helps you find that motivation to keep writing during the tough times.
I was so impressed with this course and her other smaller writing clinics that I signed up for her latest course:
How to Revise Your Novel In this course, Holly shows you how to take the story you wrote, break it down, figure out where you went right and where you went wrong with it, and how to fix the problems. While I’ve really only completed the first lesson in this course, I can see already it’s going to be just as compelling and life-altering as How to Think Sideways was for me.
Click on the links and see the course descriptions and what others who have taken these courses have to say about their experiences. It could be a step in a new direction for you and your writing. Holly tends to only open these big courses for enrollment for a short period of time. Mainly because it takes so much of her time to maintain the course – she’s very hands-on.
While I had a basic desire to write, I don’t think I would have continued through the hard times without the knowledge I gained through Holly’s writing courses and the incredible support system of other students through the forums attached to these courses. I started with a tiny wish that I wanted to write, but I never realized what a roller coaster it would be – and it’s been a hell of a ride since I found Holly’s website!