Help me build the How To Think Sideways Surprise
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I’m putting together the How To Think Sideways Surprise—the extra course material that everyone gets when they join the new version of How to Think Sideways, ULTRA.

(Legacy students and grads will upgrade automatically and for free—but you can still help build the Surprise.)

I want to make sure the Surprise is spectacular.

To make it great, I need to know this:

What part of writing do you find most difficult?

Anyone—even folks who aren’t considering joining the course, can comment here.

I’ll let you know what the HTTS Surprise is going to be in a week or two.

(And I’ll get back to writing soon. I’m still working from 7AM to midnight every day getting this put together—once it’s done, I’m back to Create A World Clinic. And Write A Book With Me will resume. Clearly I’m not a great pace rabbit anymore, though. :/)

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Favorite I want to promote my students’ writing #htts
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WinnerI would like to include the names and cover art of any students of mine who have published (and who found the course helpful or essential to your publication) on the course page on my sites and sales pages. For those of you who have published multiply, I’d like to include up to three of your favorites, plus “…and [X] more titles…”

If you’d like to see an example of what I’m talking about, go to the How To Think Sideways enrollment page. SCROLL about a third of the way down, and you’ll start seeing student book covers and comments.

I don’t care about genre, I don’t care about commercial or self pub. Story length doesn’t matter. If you’re selling shorts, I’ll happily include magazine cover art along with the title of your story. I KNOW my students have published in every imaginable genre (and in a couple other mediums, too). That is, in fact, the POINT.

What I care about is that you wanted to write stories for people to read, and you DID.

And you can do some self-promoting here. Simply reply with:

  • your name (or pen name),
  • a link to your books (with copyable cover art),
  • and the titles you’d like for me to include.
  • Fill in the reply form with your How To Think Sideways student e-mail address. Don’t worry: It won’t show up here. But with it, I’ll be able to validate your account.
  • If you use a name or pen name very different from your student account, contact me via Support and let me know your details.

If you also tell me in a single, short sentence the most important thing about the course that helped you succeed, I’ll include your quote with your name and cover art.

ADDED LATER: Answers to email questions (specifics removed)

“Would you want to use my erotica/romantic books?”

Of course. I’ll need covers with some clothes on (or I’ll do something cute to keep the title showing, and a little package graphic to cover anything…well, graphic)—but a LOT of my students write erotica/romantica. Post your links, let me have your necessary details. :D

“I took the course, but I write nonfiction.”

No problem. Writing fundamentals and the creative process work across all forms of writing. I’ll happily add you and your nonfiction covers and credits to the page, and you can post your links here.

“After I took HTTS, I started working as a columnist with a paper.”

I’ll be happy to promote you. Ask if you can use your paper’s logo. I’ll add that, plus your column name and your name—and of course, provide a link to your column here.

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Create A World Clinic, plus How To Think Sideways ULTRA Big News #htts #wabwm
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First, got 1087 words on Create A World Clinic yesterday, so hit my mark. :D

I’m now doing two things: Mornings, I’m writing “World”. Afternoons, I’m putting together the new version of How To Think Sideways, which will be Ultra.

The BIG NEWS For Grads and Current Students of How To Think Sideways LEGACY Version

You folks have stuck with me for years. Your loyalty got me through hard times, your emails made me laugh (and occasionally cry), your Eureka moments made bad days into good one, and your progress and accomplishments thrill me. I appreciate you.

When How To Think Sideways ULTRA goes LIVE, I’m putting you into the new classroom (with Margaret’s technical wizardry) with no upgrade fee, no extra charges…nothing. You’ll get everything in the new formats, plus you’ll get all the new materials, the new surprise, and anything else I can think of to put in there. THANK YOU.

BONUSES for Think Sideways Direct and Think Sideways Premium Students

The software Margaret built for me is COOL.

If you’re an HTTS DIRECT student, why do you care?

Because it means if you already own all the lessons (or own enough that you’d prefer to Bring Your Own Lessons [BYOL]), you’ll be able to upgrade to the BYOL version How To Think Sideways ULTRA and not be charged for them a second time. This is something the old software could never have done.

But what about if you’re an HTTS Premium Student?
You’ll ALSO be able to subtract your Premium membership from the cost of your upgrade to ULTRA. (Again, new software lets me do much more for my students).

What’s NEXT?

I’m going to be asking HTTS Grads (who know what the old versions included), what do you still need to know?

And I’m going to be asking current students and folks considering the course, what do you need to know?

We’ll be talking about a new (additional) bonus course, your ideas, wishes, dreams, and hopes…

And before the course goes live, I’ll let you in on the surprise.

But today I just wanted all of you who took the course, or are taking it, than when ULTRA debuts, I’ve got you covered.

“What Happens If I Don’t Upgrade?”

Apparently there’s been some concern that folks who don’t upgrade will lose their boards, or their access, or…

No. I don’t DO that to people. If you don’t upgrade, absolutely nothing will change. You’ll have exactly what you had before. :D

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Back! Survived my journey through Heck. #wabwm
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Margaret (my amazing tech wizard) and I have been working fourteen-to-sixeen hour days regularly for a while, and the last week has been dawn-to-pass-out with neither of us doing anything else.

But the end result as that the software she built for me that will allow me to offer all my multi-lesson courses in classrooms with all the goodies right in place and lessons delivered on a schedule…

…well, it works.

Our live test was 7-Day Crash-Revision Workshop, which accepted a small group of students on Wednesday, and a larger group on Thursday.

The software still has some rough edges—it can be slower than we anticipated in getting students into their classes—but she’s programming a fix for that now, and I’ve figured out faster ways to get to students with fixes for problems.

By the time How To Think Sideways Ultra goes live, it should be pretty smooth.

In celebration, I’m writing on Create A World Clinic today.

Don’t even remember my last word count.

But there will be words today. And on the weekend. That’s what I’m doing for fun before I start building the HTTS Ultra course into the classrooms next Monday afternoon. Because there will be words on MONDAY, too. :D

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Working on my focus with World Clinic #wabwm
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Had a couple of weeks where I took off, then lost my focus when I got back. Yesterday, I finally got my feet under myself, and today I want to continue that.

Objective, 1000 words on World Clinic. And then the rest of the stuff. At this point I’m playing catch-up with getting old courses back online, plus putting the new versions of HTTS and 7-Day Crash Revision into the new system, so I haven’t even been able to TOUCH my eventual work schedule.

But for now, I’m just working my list of to-dos, and putting the writing first.

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How To Think Sideways site redesign begins
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I have had another brutal migraine. My creativity is at low ebb. I’m struggling for concepts. Writing World Clinic is beyond me right now.

So, since this also needed to be done, I started into the HTTS site overhaul.

My objectives are clarity of purpose and simplicity of use.

I figure getting the entire site fixed will take me about two weeks, but I got the initial stuff laid out and live today.

I’d appreciate a few folks to tell me (just reply here) where you ran into any problem areas.

It’s NOT done. But it’s mostly workable…

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Progress on World Clinic and 7-Day Crash Revision #wabwm
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Pretty decent day yesterday, in spite of the persistent headaches and intermittent icepick migraines.

Got 1380 words on Create A World Clinic, and did some additional organization and structuring to make sure it will be easy to use, and got a lot of the backend built for the 7-Day Crash Revision Workshop.

“Building backend” is setting up pages, doing course layout for clarity and ease of use, setting up every single download as a button…things like that. I’m building documentation and a checklist at the same time, so the next time I do it, it won’t be so difficult. Putting together this little course is teaching me the process ahead of setting up HTTS Ultra.

Still have to build all the worksheets for 7-Day Crash-Revision Workshop. I’m adapting it from its original form be a little broader in scope, and it’ll be 100% upgradeable to HTRYN for folks who need the full in-depth process.

Onward.

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Vacation OVER! New story, bigger maps, and starting Create A World Clinic today. #wabwm
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I enjoyed my vacation, which is to say that I slept through the end of 2012, and woke up in 2013 feeling human again.

So over the last couple days, I put a novella I wrote years ago (REWIND, which is the precursor to C–The Secret Project) into Kindle and ePub format, and I’ll put that up on Amazon, B&N, and my site later today. I ENORMOUSLY expanded the Cadence Drake Minecraft map, and that’s already available for download. I made the Cadence Drake “Goodies Page” open to everyone without membership, and fixed the broken links and missing content. So you can get both the HTCB theme song and the Minecraft map there.

Margaret and I tested the software she’s been building for me that will allow me to offer HTTS as a complete sequential course again, while also allowing affiliates to offer it along with every other product in my shop from one link (something we’ve been working on for about two years now, so this is a BIG deal for me. :D). She’ll install it into the live classroom for me in the next few days, and I’ll start rebuilding the course. This will take a while: How to Think Sideways is an enormous course with a LOT of pieces, and each piece has to be created as a separate product, tagged, and added to the appropriate page. It will be available as quickly as I can manage it, and when it is, HTTS LEGACY students will be able to upgrade for a small one-time price to get all their lessons in Kindle and Nook versions.

(This allows me to only have to build ONE version of the course, and moves Legacy students who want to be there into the new version, so they’ll be eligible for new-version upgrades. It also puts HTTS back into the queue as a live course to which I can add upgrades and expansions.)

But the big news today is this…

I’ve opened up the Create A World Clinic document in Scrivener, and I’m starting to write that now.

About time, too. :-/

So if you’re playing Write A Book With Me, this is my entry in the game.

I’ll post stats later. Right now, I want to get writing.

P.S. I have more news, but it’ll have to wait for another post.

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I’m officially on Holiday Hours #wabwm
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Getting the whole month of December off didn’t quite work out.

But I am taking off the rest of the month. I don’t remember ever having been this tired before, but I now have a chance to rest. Mostly. Sort of.

UNTIL MONDAY, JANUARY 7th, I’ll do Student Support on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It’s just me in there. Margaret is going on holiday, so it’ll mostly be me WITHOUT major techie backup, so big problems will be “as I can fix them” or “when Margaret gets back”.

On Monday, January 7th, I get back to work for real.

So what does next year’s work look like?

What Happens Next Year

First, I write CREATE A WORLD CLINIC. I have my outline in Scrivener, the first couple chapters are done already, and I’m FINALLY going to finish the thing. Starting in January.

Drip (the piece of software I needed to offer new BIG courses) is done and working. (Margaret built this, and it’s wonderful.) This is HUGE. It means I can do workshops with small class sizes and personal feedback, new bigger courses, and “textbook” classes for things like CREATE A CHARACTER CLINIC and the upcoming CREATE A WORLD CLINIC, where we’ll meet a few times in a single week, and I’ll crit your creations. Real assignments. Real deadlines. :D It’ll be fun.

Next year I’m bringing back the FULL, timed-lesson, everything-included version of How to Think Sideways. I have had a ton of requests to make the structured version with the walkthrough, all the downloadable stuff, the bonus course, and the community as a single purchase available again.

HTTS Direct will still be around, and still be a less expensive and unstructured alternative. HOWEVER, after the new year, HTTS Direct lessons will come off their extended introductory price. Individual lessons will be $5.99. The community + additional downloads option will remain available at the same price. When I have the Walkthrough finished, it will become available as a separate upgrade.

How to Write A Series will move to the new classrooms, and get the promised 6-lesson extension.

I’ll write THE EMERALD SUN.

How to Revise Your Novel will move to the new classrooms.

I’ll start WISHBONE.

I’ll begin doing some live (online) workshops.

These are not in sequential order, and I’m not putting dates on any of this. I’ll just work through the list, and get as much done on it as I can, take next December off (jumping up and down on this one), then pick up wherever I left off in January of 2014.

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