A thought I had while writing

This occurred to me as I was editing, and I went ahead and put it into the Plot Clinic.

Anyone can write one book, and perhaps even sell it, and in the rarest of circumstances, become famous from it—because lightning does strike. To make a career of writing, though, you must take up the burden of making lightning strike regularly, where and when you want it.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

12 comments… add one
  • katiehasen May 2, 2007 @ 17:56

    That’s a very quotable quote.

  • unxplaindfires Apr 27, 2007 @ 21:19

    I had lightning strike the ground five feet from me once…partial deafness isn’t as cool as it sounds and the hair on the left side of my head still doesn’t sit quite right. Well got to write. (runs off with lightning rod)

    Cheers

  • hollylisle Apr 26, 2007 @ 18:25

    I used to start with the worldbuilding stuff first—mapping and creating languages and cultures and then characters.

    Now I start by plotting. It keeps me from building a lot of stuff I don’t need right now. (I now worldbuild as I go.)

    But I learned a lot from doing it the other way.

    There is no one way to write. There isn’t even one better way to write. Experiment, and find what works for you. So just pick up whichever book interests you most at the time. Your gut is a good place to look for writing answers.

  • PolarBear Apr 26, 2007 @ 14:46

    Tyson, here’s an example of why you’re going to have to trust your gut — no matter what any of us tell you.

    Language clinic as the first one presumes you’re developing a language for your work. If you’re not, that might not be the right one for you.

    I happen to believe I could write for centuries and never, ever have purchased or read the language clinic. Sure, it’s a fascinating book and helped me develop an appreciation for the content, but I wouldn’t have needed it for my writing work.

    That’s me. For other authors, writing certain kinds of work, it’s simply indispensible. Because of that, I firmly believe Cuyler’s absolutely correct in his order — for his work.

    Each of us has to evaluate ourselves and research what we believe is going to work best for us. Then the real key? Apply what we’ve learned and adjust. For most of us, that’s butts in seats writing. Everything else just helps us refine that.

  • Cuyler Apr 26, 2007 @ 12:14

    Hmm, an order to use Holly’s books. Well Holly could probably answer that better then I, but from what I have learned, and from my own experience, probably the best way to use her clinics would be the language clinic first, then the culture clinic, then the character clinic. Though once she gets the plot clinic out, I’m not sure where that would fit, possibly before or after the character clinic. The main thing is to build the world first, then put your story into it. It could be possible to use the plot clinic first, then build your world to fit around the plot as well. Many different ways to use the plot clinic, but as for the other three, it is most best to use – in my opinion- language, culture, then character. Hope that helps.

  • heather Apr 26, 2007 @ 8:39

    Funny. I was going to ask pretty much the same thing as Tyson did: Is there a specific or recommended order for the clinics? I have all of them and am anxiously awaiting the plot clinic. Just wondering of you had any specific order in mind for them.

  • Bettye Apr 26, 2007 @ 7:52

    Oh yeah, Tyson I still treasure my copy of Mugging The Muse. I got so much out of it that I purchased two copies before Holly began offering it for free. I don’t regret the money spent one little bit either.

  • Bettye Apr 26, 2007 @ 7:50

    LOL Holly, simple answer; stick up a lightening rod.
    In reality it is probably easier to get lightening to strike the same spot over and over than it is to write multiple books and sell them. Shoot, it may be easier to win the lottery.

  • PolarBear Apr 26, 2007 @ 7:36

    Tyson,

    Nothing wrong with being organized. Holly has a lot of workshops available for free on the site. If you haven’t looked at them, please start there. Click the “writers” tab at the top. Scroll down the sidebar, but off the top of my head, “How to Start a Novel” under the How To’s section seems like a logical place to start.

    After you’ve devoured this area and begun applying what you’ve learned, you’ll have a better idea of where you want to spend your money on the other books in HollyShop.

  • Tyson_13 Apr 26, 2007 @ 4:50

    Firstly, i’d just like to say how sorry I am to you Holly and anybody else who happens to read this and get annoyed at how ‘off the track’ it is. But, I have looked at a great many of the posts in this forum and have not been able to find a category where i could post this without being ‘off the track.’

    I am currently writing (well, trying to write) a fiction novel and just cannot get myself started; every time i go to start I just dont know wher to do it. could you (Holly) or anybody else that happens to read my post advise me or direct me where to start.

    What i mean to say is, what writing book of Holly’s should i read first, then second, then third, then fourth, then fifth (haha wouldn’t we all love that?).

    Im an organized person (I need to break that habit i know), but right now I think I need a little bit of structure to start my creative writing flow.

    Thankyou to Holly and or anybody else who happens to read this, even if you cant provide helpful answers. And sorry, yet again.

    Tyson

  • RayaPenName Apr 25, 2007 @ 19:33

    Hi, I wanted to say I’m glad to finally be able to comment, and be a member. I just registered and I wanted to say, thank you for all your work on mugging the muse and the plot clinic. Also, it would be silly not to add that this web site has helped me take my novel from an ify at best 30 pager, to 149 and going strong.

  • Chassit Apr 25, 2007 @ 17:00

    Ah, so all you’re asking is that we control nature, ha ha.

    I really like that Holly, that describes it exactly.

    (and on an unrelated side note, last night we had some bad storms and lighting struck my work…twice…and they still wouldn’t let us go home.)

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