Whether you’re a writer just getting started, or writing your fiftieth short story or novel, or even if you’re a reader who is curious about the real story behind how fiction gets made, come hang out with us.
I’m Holly Lisle, and I’ve been writing and publishing both professionally and independently since 1991. Meanwhile, my daughter Rebecca Galardo, is a long-time fiction writer but a new novelist. Together, we discuss our own adventures (and misadventures), answer listeners’ questions, and explore the weird job of writing fiction for a living.
And the show title? That’s not a strange joke. That’s just the job description.
I loved Apple computers for a long time.
Frankly, I still love the two I have: A late 2013 iMac, and an even older MacBook Pro.
But Apple has definitely been embracing the Dark Side since Steve Jobs died, and its walled garden, along with its pressure to push users into the Apple store and to make getting software from independent developers outside of its store (because in its store, of course, it gets a cut of everything created) is a giant, tedious pain in the ass.
And then there’s the fact that everything it’s doing right now is designed to FORCE people who love its hardware into an “Apple way or the Highway” scenario, which is simply ugly.
Awesome way to get folks to quit loving them is to FORCE them to do things they don’t want to do. And I’ve spent enough time on the “highway” to prefer it to the way things are going.
So here’s the latest ugliness:
At the point where I can no longer use my current computers, I have no interest in going to Windows. But Linux remains a possibility, one I’m now investigating.
This has to be quick, because I still have to do my OWN worksheets before the show so I can discuss how I got the idea I got. Since I don’t yet HAVE the idea… you see the problem.
Download your worksheets here: https://www.alonewithinvisiblepeople.com/downloads/#youtube1
The workshop is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etaIXTw7BbM
Starts at 1:00 PM, I may open a couple minutes early to test sound and make sure Becca and I have the process for getting questions from the workshop to me organized.
We’ll run for about an hour. Maybe a little longer, but not much, because this is planned to be short, focused, and to help you understand what goes into creating a novel idea. And what doesn’t.
I have launch going on. Not going to talk about it, because that’s not why you’re here.
BUT we had an interesting (in the “may you live in interesting times” curse sense of the word) bug that popped up this morning when so many folks hit the page that they broke a part of the software.
This bug affected everyone who bought with a PayPal subscription. We’ve manually added all those folks to class, and Dan is fixing the software (and making it more robust).
Everyone who bought the class is now in class, and the folks who are buying the class are being put in manually by Becca and me as fast as we can add them.
HOWEVER (and this is why you ARE getting this email)…
A lot of folks who bought the class are NOT on the launch list. Are not previous students. We had a surprise number of brand new members come in, and I don’t know where they came from.
But I KNOW they didn’t get their login instructions.
So if you bought the class and did not get your login instructions:
- You have the class
- It’s in your account
- Here’s how you get to it.
Go to https://hollyswritingclasses.com and click the Login button
Add the email and password you created when you bought the class.
If you CAN login, AWESOME. You’ll find your class on the classroom hub page, which is where the login takes you. Look for the green How to Write a Novel button. You’ll find your instructions and a bunch of other stuff in there, including your first lesson. To get past the introduction and sign-up to your lesson, use the Drop Down Lesson Menu on the top left corner of the page.
If you CANNOT log in, breathe. We got this. Your class is waiting for you, and we will get you to it.
Create a help desk ticket here: https://novelwritingschool.com/support/
Titled your ticket PURCHASED: CAN’T LOG IN.
To get you in, we’ll need to do a manual confirmation of your account, and give you a new temporary password, which you can change immediately inside the member area.
For everyone to whom this does not apply, I apologize for the extra email.
I have to know that my folks get what they paid for, and this is the only way I can do that.
A LOT of folks bought in the first hour. Far more than I expected.
Stripe (our credit card processor) held up under the strain.
PayPal single payment processing held up under the strain.
Our PayPal subscriptions option, which got hit the heaviest, broke.
Payments went through, but so many sub setups were hitting at the same time that that the process of adding folks into the classroom went CLUNK.
Dan is fixing this now so that it will go back to being automatic, and making it more robust.
MEANWHILE, Rebecca and I are manually adding all folks with subs into the classroom.
So if you buy via subscription, until Dan gets this fixed, you won’t be starting your first lesson in five minutes, but we’re getting PRETTY close to clearing all the folks who’ve already purchased, and doing this manually, we’ll stick as close to that as we can manage.
And this is what happens during launches. You test everything you can test, and then the thing you CAN’T test — massive traffic — is what hits you on the head with a brick.
S’okay. We’ll get through this.
So I’m plugging along trying to get everything set up before the How to Write a Novel Super Early Bird class launch goes live, and Matt comes in.
“Make sure you let them know that folks who already have novels written do not have to wait to finish their class projectto have me edit for them. If they’d like to have me do something for them now, I’ll do one of their existing novels.
“As long as they’re paid in full on the class BEFORE they schedule and know there are no refunds once I’ve received their manuscript, I’m happy to work on whatever they’d like me to work on.”
Like this should have been obvious.
And this is going to be a big deal for a few folks.
So I’m sending out an email on this to the folks on the launch list, but there might be some folks who aren’t ON the launch list who would like to get a content edit from Matt for a price I had to double-check on because I wasn’t sure I heard him right.
So here’s the offer. One full novel content edit, $197.
- This offer is only for the folks who buy during theFIRST (Super Early Bird) launch of How to Write a Novel.
- The offer ends the minute this launch closes.
- It will NEVER be offered again to any class.
- The offer is a comprehensive content edit by Matt (who has been my content editor since 1995) of ONE complete novel manuscript revised to the author’s best ability before sending.
- Maximum word limit 100,000 words. Not a word over, and the price does not scale. No exceptions.
- When you schedule your edit, you state that you understand that by scheduling your edit and sending your manuscript, you agree that the How to Write a Novel class you purchased (which got you the massive discount) is nonrefundable, and the edit price is nonrefundable.
- Edits are First Scheduled, First Served, and we only take payments two weeks in advance. There will probably be a waiting list. To be ON the waiting list, you have to have your receipt.
When you schedule your edit, you’ll have to include your receipt (or receipts) as proof of paid-in-full purchase, and you’ll need to include the following statement in your scheduling ticket:
I understand that by scheduling my content edit on my novel for the price of $197, the purchase of the class that gave me this discount becomes nonrefundable, along with the purchase price of the content edit, which is a physical product requiring one week of work by the editor, and I agree to these terms.
As long as you’re good with that, he’ll start work for you as soon as we can get you onto the schedule.
At 1:30 PM ET, Thursday. September 6th, I’m going to be taking questions on my upcoming How to Write a Novel class.
If you’d like to download the lesson list and descriptions (35 lessons at the moment), you can do that from https://HowToWriteANovelClass.com
If you want to show up tomorrow to hang out, ask questions, and chat, join me here:
If folks show up (I’m not presuming), I’ll stick around as long as there are questions (up to two hours).
If not? Well, it’s going to be a very short live broadcast, because I’m just going in to talk to folks.
I’m going to do a live YouTube chat on Thursday, September 6 at 1:30 PM ET, and will be sending out a reminder email for folks who want to come. I’ll be answering questions about the upcoming class during the chat, and making sure I’ve covered everything folks need to know.
So you’ll know what I’m planning on covering, you can download the PDF I put together about how I’m currently planning to present the class. My planned lessons are subject to possible additions if folks ask questions that I don’t have covered AND that are essential to helping you get your novel written.
Download your PDF of the current Class Lesson Outline
If you have questions about writing a novel and DON’T see the answer to your question, come to the chat on Thursday and ask there. This is a provisional lesson. I’m not removing any lessons, but I am open to adding a few more if the questions hit something you need to know about novel writing that no one else asked.
- Important: This class will cover novel writing.
- It will NOT cover revision, marketing, or publishing, which are enormous subjects on their own.
Because of a certain amount of chaos in my daily life right now, I forgot to mention LAST week’s TWO Alone In A Room With Invisible People podcasts.
In the Brainstorming Workshop, Part 1, Becca and I develop idea pieces from scratch (using the free, no-opt-in downloadable worksheets linked from the podcast page).
In the mini episode, we go over the problem writers face as readers, and what you do if, as a writer, you’re not enjoying reading fiction in your genre anymore.
And in THIS week’s podcast — the Brainstorming Workshop, Part 2, — we take Becca’s raw ideas from the first half of the workshop, and do a second brainstorming session in which she takes the material from the worksheets and turns it into a solid story idea that fits in her world and that she wants to write. (You can download the Brainstorming With A Partner hints and rules for this episode without an opt-in, too.)
In May, my daughter Becky bought me Noro yarn for Mother’s Day. Gorgeous stuff, pure wool, the kind of yarn where you open the bag, shove your face against the yarn, inhale, and sigh with happiness.
But it had to sit there for a while, because…
Well, LIFE first, and then with yarn, you have to get to know it for a while before you can start to see what it might become. (More on that in a bit.)
But in July, I had an idea of what to do with it. Nothing solid, just “Sweater for Becky.”
So I called her. Said, “Got some questions for you.”
She was wary. (Smart, my kid. Questions from mothers always require caution.)
The conversation went like this.
“Cardigan or Pullover?”
“Cardigan… And I like where this is going.”
“Fitted or oversized?”
“Pockets or no pockets.”
And that was it. I started playing with the yarn, doing some cast-ons and some rip-backs until I considered Becky.
Test squares, I thought.
I was walking through JoAnn Fabrics to pick up a few more knitting markers, and discovered these buttons, which were, I thought, the same colors as the Noro Becky’d gotten me.
Bought them, took them home, and…
They. Were. Perfect.
Not just perfect for the sweater. Perfect for HER. Not the same color, not tiny, not timid.
They were bright and bold and happy.
Meanwhile, the test squares had become some coherent pieces.
And Sheldon had taken up his position as “Associate Knitter in Charge of String Pouncing.” Note the feigned disinterest.
So, anyway, I got the raw body pieces together, and shoved one of the sweaters I’d made for myself inside to make sure I had the armholes and pockets in the right places.
I don’t use patterns, you see. I think up what I want the sweater to look like, I consider the couple of measurements I need to make sure it’ll fit the person I’m making in for, I test what I’m building against my numbers as I knit. It’s an always-interesting exercise in three-dimensional artifact construction, and the way I do it, it takes a little math, and sometimes a sketch on paper (though not this time), and a little twiddling at the beginning when I’m working out the bugs.
Example—getting the left-side squares on the back to slant in the opposite direction from the squares on the right required me to knit from bottom to top rather than top to bottom, from left square to right rather than right square to left, and to use an entirely different cast-on.
With the main body pieces made and knitted together, I discovered that I was not going to have enough yarn to finish the sweater, however… and I also discovered that Webs was out of that color, and that I couldn’t find any more elsewhere.
So I… er… “shopped the stash,” and found the very first good yarn I’d ever bought. Elspeth Lavold wool-silk, very dark purple, that back when we were living in Georgia, was my step away from Red Heart. Only not, because once I got it, I discovered that I was going to have to buy a swift and a yarn winder before I could use it, and it was sport weight, which I’d never worked with. And by the time I got the yarn winder and the swift and smaller needles, I’d discovered Noro.
So the Elspeth Lavold has been sitting in the stash for, at this point, about thirteen years.
I knitted on the left button placket with doubled Elspeth Lavold, and sewed on the buttons so I’d know where the buttonholes would go and how big they’re need to be when I moved to the other side.
And ended up with this.
At which point my impatient daughter said, “Oooooh! Vest! I want it now.”
Vest. Is. Not. Cardigan.
I made her wait.
Figured out how to use the Elspeth Lavold for detail stuff, and started working out the sleeves.
And ended with some spiffy cuffs in the Elspeth Lavold that work into the diamond shapes at the top with some fancy ribbed decreases, and finished the collar and the hem, all with Kitchener bind-offs. (Makes it look smoother and of higher quality. And is a lot of fun to do.)
Looks done, right?
Not so much. On the right side facing you, you can see what it looks like with the ends sewn in. EVERYTHING else is what it looks like everywhere but that one little haven of done-ness.
Meanwhile, I’m getting, “But I want it NooowOwwOwww!” from my impatience oldest child.
And at the point where I started sewing in ends, Sheldon, who had managed to restrain himself throughout most of the construction, suddenly lost his mind and became Lunatic Cat of Button-Chewing.Note the pretense of being uninterested.
Note the little stretch that moves him closer.
Note the button attack. In all fairness, the button did call him a name.
A bad name.
Anyway, I got the ends sewn in on the front…
And the back…
And washed and blocked it…
And waited three days for it to dry…
Drying with towels — the Noro dried quickly, but the Elspeth Lavold took forever.
But Still Not Done…
Which took an age to knit, and another age to sew in while keeping the stitches hidden from the front.
Sweater, inside out, with pockets sewn in. They’re big, and deep, and they went in AFTER I’d blocked the sweater so they would not cause any puckering.
And now it’s done.
I’m writing The Owner’s Tale a little little differently than I usually work.
I generally just do my first draft from beginning to end, but this time, because of the complexity of this story, I worked out the stages in the life of the Longview’s owner, and am having the owner tell the story of each stage as one short chapter.
When I get this story told, I’ll go through and add in interstitial chapters for Herog and Cady, Melie and Shay, and show these in counterpoint to the story the owner is telling.
I might possibly add in a couple other folks, too, though I have mostly wrapped up the stories of the other people in this series.
But I now have 5,524 words of what I’m planning as a 30,000 word story, and a got 1021 of those words today.
And I like what I got.
So, on to Lesson 7 of How to Write Short Stories, where I’m 2260 word into demonstrating by dissection the process of working huge amounts of time into short stories, and have the stories still hold together. I’m having a lot of fun with this… except for the parts that keep making me cry.