A Tale of Ten Sentences — the first third of Book 5 starts coming together

Ohio-5 Line For Scene


This morning I ended up deleting one of yesterday’s primary story conflicts, replacing it with something bigger, deeper, and more meaningful, and coming up with the fourth and final story conflict — which had eluded me yesterday.

I then ALSO hammered out the first ten 30-word story sentences. (Raw concepts for the first ten chapters of book five.)

This took me the full three hours of my fiction time, required a lot of writing, tossing, reconsidering, talking to myself, and checking back on the previous four outlines to make sure I wasn’t dropping essential threads, or forgetting what I want to accomplish in the last book of this first five-book series.

What do I want to accomplish?

Book Five of series one has to give the entire series a complete, conclusive ending. No cliffhangers, no primary stories dropped or forgotten, no cheating. 

And what I did today was a solid start on that.

I’m happy with what I got — EVEN THOUGH I know damn well by the time I’m writing book five, I’ll have something better.

Here’s the thing I’ve discovered for my own work: To write something BETTER, first I have to write SOMETHING.

And today was a pretty good day of “write something.”


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By Holly

Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.

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Tuff Gartin
2 years ago

“To write something BETTER, first I have to write SOMETHING.” – Holly Lisle.

Love that! Just happened to me last night/this morning.

Last night I was writing a scene with the following Sentence: WOMAN (pretend lover of ANTAG), working with MAN, creates plan to capture SPY with aide of two ANTAG minions, then will capture two men, accusing them of treason.

Some other notes important to the story:
(1) MAN believes SPY is truly a spy. WOMAN believes SPY is actually under the spell of ANTAG who is controlling her, thus effectively a double agent.
(2) WOMAN is a double agent and lover of ANTAG (but she only pretends to be his lover for information).
(3) MAN doesn’t trust WOMAN but is forced to work with her if he has any hopes of seeing his parents again (reportedly captured by ANTAG).

As I originally wrote the scene last night, they captured SPY (with minor difficulties)…they captured “two men” (with minor difficulties)…MAN would return SPY to “good guys camp”…WOMAN would tell ANTAG where he can find 2 traitors.

Immediately after finishing the scene, Muse said, “too easy, here’s what really happened…the plan goes completely awry…”two men” are sent back to ANTAG “for help” (really to get them out of the way at this point so WOMAN can execute PLAN B)…WOMAN incapacitates SPY (hits her over the head with a baton)…MAN is falling in love with WOMAN…WOMAN tells MAN that MAN must hit WOMAN over head with baton then take SPY back to “good guys”…MAN tries to convince WOMAN to come back with MAN+SPY…WOMAN says that won’t work, if MAN has any hope of seeing his parents again MAN must strike WOMAN over head with baton…MAN curses WOMAN then does it…then in last second decision, before ANTAG arrives (because “the two men” went for him), MAN lifts WOMAN over his should to return her to “good guys” and leaves SPY behind.

So that’s what I just finished writing this morning. This is a big change for what I had planned, so the other goal today is review the rest of the outline and hope my Muse tells me how this ties into the things that I must complete in this story (the 5th of a 6 part series).

Love it! Love it! Love it!

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