Most of My Books (at Alibris) — in print, out of print, and even rare.
Links to this Book Page
My E-books (at Shop.HollyLisle.Com)
Nonfiction Writing Books
You can create a novel, short story, or screenplay plot from beginning to end, even if you don’t know what you want to write about yet.
- Want to write fiction but don’t know where to start?
- Do you have a stack of 30-page novels that have stalled?
- Are you stuck in the vast morass of your novel’s middle?
- Don’t know how to figure out your ending?
- Or do you have the whole first draft done, with the sinking feeling that something’s wrong with the story, but you don’t know what, or where?
In Holly Lisle’s Create A Plot Clinic, you’ll learn:
- How to choose and use your structure
- How to create story ideas from twenty fun, easy tools
- How to organize your plot before you write
- How to adapt it while you write
- How to fix problem plotting as you write the book and even when you’re revising it
- How to deal with late, great ideas and your stubborn Muse
- And much more
Every tool includes a description, a demonstration, and an exercise. You may need three or four days to get a brand-new working plot in order if you’re just getting started. However, if you’ve been writing for a while–or if you’re determined–you can have enough plot to start writing your book in about a day.
Create A Character Clinic can help you create the characters you need, and teach you to make your work stronger, richer, and better.
In this book, I’ll show you:
- What makes a character interesting (and what doesn’t)
- Techniques for giving your characters compelling needs that resonate with readers
- How to use the seven critical areas of character development to prevent “cardboard characters” and address areas of your characters’ lives you’ve never considered before
- Techniques for developing characters’ individual voices
- Three ways of presenting your character, with proven techniques in each
- Fifteen huge sins writers commit with their characters, and how you can avoid them — or better yet, turn them to your advantage and use them to surprise, excite, and delight your readers
Each step of the way, I’ll give you exercises, examples, charts, and other tools to help you achieve your goals. At every point, you’ll get techniques that you can put to work immediately.
There is no theorizing in Create A Character Clinic. What you’ll find here are the steps I use as a working writer to make my work sell. My objective is to help you reach your goals with your own work.
Learn to build real, working languages.
Start using what you build in hours rather than months.
- Invent good names for your worlds, places, and characters–in 15 minutes.
- Create a complete language, or just the parts you need for your story.
- Add depth to your worldbuilding.
- Discover concepts your characters think and use that don’t translate into English.
- Start changing the way you look at the way we all communicate.
- All in about 5 hours. (Though of course you can spend longer.)
For novelists, scriptwriters, gamemasters, worldbuilders, conlangers, language fans.
My method for adding cultural depth to works set in the present, and for building cultures from the ground up in worlds of my own making. Includes:
- How to build what you need, when you need it
- How to avoid overbuilding
- Tips for using what you’ve built in your writing
- Examples, exercises, and worksheets
- My method for organizing and saving work–you’ll be able to find what you need quickly, no matter how much you build
- Basic and advanced culture building
Non-technical and easy to use, my method will give you a usable beginning culture in about five hours, which you can expand as you work on the book, building only what you need and when you need it.
Zette and I created a large collection of writing workshops that covered everything from Getting Started, to Characters, Plot, Visualization, and Editing. And I added a certain amount of curmudgeonliness about saving the world and writing pompously. People loved the workshops, but asked if they could be put into one convenient book. This is that book.
Zette and I approach writing differently, but since no one technique will work for all writers, our different angles and takes on common writing problems double the chances that beginning writers will find something that will help with that impossible scene or unraveling plot.
In this book, you’ll learn:
- How to plot under pressure
- How to set realistic, workable writing goals
- One way to approach writing short stories
- How to sharpen your talent and organize your research
- Several ways of making your characters more real
- A dozen approaches to plotting
- How to see the world you’re writing in as if it were real, and how to make it breathe for your readers
- How to decide if that story that is making you crazy is salvagable, or if it must die
- How to resurrect old stories, how to revise your novel in one take, and much more
This is learning by doing—you’ll go in, get your hands dirty, and most of the time, you’ll come out with something better than you had before.
Holly Lisle’s long-time best-seller at Booklocker.com is available as a free download with any purchase. Simply click add to cart and it will be included with your order.
Novels and Collaborations
NOVELS OF KORRE
Talyn: A Novel of Korre
In a world where technology is magic, and war is the only way of life, Talyn is a soldier, one of thousands trained from childhood to protect her country from the monarchist Eastil, who would take away the personal freedoms of the Tonk.
Talyn long ago embraced her fate: to die in battle. This is a war of magic, not of swords, and the battles are fought deep inside the View, a place where the magic inherent in everything and everyone is actualized. The soldiers–on both sides–can bring this magic to the physical plane and use it to destroy houses, fields, and people.
But the Feegash came from across the world, and demanded to be allowed to negotiate peace between the Eastil and the Tonk for the sake of the rest of the world. Their success meant Talyn was out of a job, and at a loss for what to do with her life.
Rather than follow most of her fellow soldiers to jobs in other parts of the world, Talyn stayed with her family in her town–and there she is seduced by a Feegash diplomat. With him she experiences a dark side of herself that she hadn’t even imagined, and learns a new kind of magery.
And she discovers the mistreatment of Eastil prisoners of war, still in Tonk hands, and weighs her life against saving theirs.
It’s a matter of honor–and her honor will be challenged again and again as she slowly discovers that what the Feegash have brought with them was not peace but an overwhelming oppression, and an evil so insidious no one noticed it until it was too late.
But if Talyn can hone her use of the Feegash flesh-magery, she can turn their own magic back against them. With the help of one of the Eastil prisoners, she might be able to use it to save the Tonk andthe Eastil, and defeat the Feegash once and for all… if it doesn’t destroy her from the inside out first.
“When artist Emma Beck returns to her small South Carolina hometown to discover the truth about her roots and long-dead parents, everything she thought she knew about her birth begins to fall apart—especially after she moves into the old wreck of a Civil War farmhouse she plans to restore…”
Signet Eclipse, April 2007
I See You
For paramedic Dia Courvant, each day brings the possibility of facing blood and death. But nothing matched the horror of the day she was dispatched to the scene of a terrible car accident and rescued the sole survivor-only to find her own husband dead in the wreckage. Now, four years later, a series of deadly car crashes has brought handsome detective Brig Hafferty into Dia’s life. She’s drawn to Brig, but can she trust him enough to tell him of the terror that stalks her? For Dia has received a message warning her of danger and death-a message that seems to have been sent to her from beyond the grave.
Last Girl Dancing
SHE GAVE HERSELF TO AN OBSESSION.
Ever since her sister, Ginny, disappeared thirteen years ago, Atlanta detective Jess brubaker has been obsessed with discovering what happened. Now is her chance to do it — by disappearing into the same sordid night world that engulfed Ginny.
TO A LOVER..
Jess isn’t going alone. Her partner is Hank Kamien, a martial artist with a shattered past that left him with a rare psychic ability. He’s looking for a reason to trust women again. With a single touch, he’s found that reason in Jess. But their heated affair is igniting someone else’s twisted passion ….
TO A NIGHTMARE.
A serial killer has also set his sights on Jess. He is an elusive figure — with the key to Ginny’s disappearance. Victim by victim, Jess is following the clues. But the closer she gets, the sooner she realizes that the truth can be the most intimate and terrifying trap of them all ….
YOU CAN RUN …
Phoebe Rain’s sadistic ex-husband lies in a coma a thousand miles away — a coma she put him in the last time he tried to kill her. Yet Phoebe knows the voice on the other end of the phone belongs to the twisted man who vowed he’d never let her get away.
YOU CAN EVEN HIDE …
Panicked, she turns to her neighbor, Dr. Alan MacKerrie. Alan finds the story hard to believe. But now he too is receiving chilling, ghostly warnings of danger.
… BUT HE’LL ALWAYS FIND YOU.
Caught between icy terror and mounting passion for Alan, Phoebe knows there’s no escape. Someone is watching. Something is coming. And it’s closer than she thinks ….
THE WORLD GATES
Memory of Fire
Lauren Dane discovers a doorway to another reality in Cat Creek, North Carolina — and she crosses over, driven by a strange compulsion she can neither resist nor comprehend. Molly McColl is brought there against her will — kidnapped from her trailer and carried into a realm that traps her, terrifies her … yet offers her a strange and wondrous escape. In an extraordinary universe of magic and monsters, two strangers sharing only pain and loss must now pursue the destiny that united them. Because worlds are suddenly threatened by an evil beyond imagining — the world they have entered … and the one they have left behind.
The Wreck of Heaven
Continuing the saga begun in Memory of Fire, Molly McColl and Lauren Dane are determined to stop a serpentine evil that threatens the worldchain–a soulless, immortal enemy who feeds on the death which is now turning its hungry gaze on Oria . . . and Earth.
Gods Old and Dark
Live magic has returned to the Earth — as the demons of every universe gather to destroy it … The World Gates offer passage into countless realms, dimensions, and nightmares, changing forever those few with the courage to cross over. Lauren Dane and Molly McColl, two sisters transformed, now hold the future of all living things in their hands — for Lauren’s mission to bring life-giving magic back to Earth and other dying worlds has not gone unnoticed. And Molly’s power to protect her will not hold against the countless ancient evils that are closing in. For the maelstrom is coming to drag down gods and humans alike. And darkness will surely prevail unless a last, desperate stand is made against the dreaded Night Watch, eater of worlds.
Vincalis the Agitator
Based on a science of sorcery called Dragon magic, the Hars Ticlarim is a miraculous place of mansions built on clouds and gardens blooming diamonds beneath canopies of captive stars. But this incomparable beauty hides a dark core; Dragon magic draws its power from the agony of slaves who are killed for sorcerous fuel. And for three thousand years, no one has dared question the empire’s inhuman cruelty … until now.
Wraith, a boy with uncanny power, seeks the art to foment a revolution within the Hars Ticlarim. Solander, a brilliant young mage, believes he has discovered a totally new form of magic. Luercas, a sadistic noble, will commit any crime that furthes his ambition. All three are clever, resolute, driven — and nave. For they challenge the rulers of a globe-spanning power that has endured for millennia — rulers who will do anything to stay in power forever …
Diplomacy of Wolves
Kait Galweigh, a young diplomat cursed with a dark secret, must choose to save a world that shuns her and would destroy her if that secret were revealed. The epic search for the nature of good and evil, the definition of humanity, and the meaning of free will, duty, honor . . . and love.
First in the SECRET TEXTS trilogy, and the book my agent beat me over the head about until I made it big. If you want to see an example of how I build worlds, this has my best complete, complex universe, with greater scope and scale, and characters much more complex than any I’ve written before.
Vengeance of Dragons
Kait Galweigh must find a path to hope when a long-cherished prophecy shatters, leaving its believers, the only people who can battle an evil returned from centuries of hiding, crushed and despondent.
Courage of Falcons
The Falcons, a band of fugitive wizards that includes skinshifters Kait Galweigh and Ry Sabir, struggle to wield ancient magics in their desperate battle against the immortal, soul-devouring necromancers called the Dragons.
At the same time, a thousand tribes of long-banished Scarred declare war on the civilized lands, with a prophesied messiah uniting them into an unstoppable army. Bent on conquest or revenge, the Scarred don’t care that their new leader, Luercas, is a being so evil that even the Dragons fear him . . .
To defeat the Dragons, Kait and Ry must destroy the source of the sorcerers’ power — the Mirror of Souls. But if they succeed, they will lose the only weapon that can stop Luercas from becoming a demonic god who will enslave the entire world . . . forever.
Fire in the Mist
Faia Rissedotte, young hill woman, releases powerful magic and alerts the mages of a distant college to her presence — but her uncontrolled spell also releases an ancient evil.
Bones of the Past
Stand-alone sequel to Fire in the Mist. A tablet discovered in the heart of the Wen jungles hints at the secrets of Arhel’s ancient inhabitants — but in the search for the truth, an unlikely band of allies will discover that the past is alive . . . and hunting them.
Magic runs rampant in Arhel, then dies utterly, and Faia must search for its source, and battle ancient enemies freed by its failure.
There’s a dragon singing in her bedroom, a seductive fiend after her husband, her children are kidnapped into an alternate universe, and both the good guys and the bad guys want her dead. So Minerva Kiakra fights back — and proves that three rules govern life: “Never give up on your dreams, always stand up for what’s right . . . and never mess with the Mommy.”
Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood
Cadence Drake, a finder of lost things, and her best friend Badger are hired to search for the stolen spaceship Corrigan’s Blood. What they find is a terrifying conspiracy that spans a galaxy.
Sympathy for the Devil
Dayne Kuttner, a registered nurse tortured by the suffering of her patients and the much greater suffering of those damned to eternal suffering in hell, challenges God by demanding that the damned get a shot at redemption. . . and God proves he has a sense of humor by answering her prayer literally — setting 56,000 devils, demons and assorted lesser Hellbound loose in North Carolina in the process to seek their salvation or wreak havoc.
Neither Dayne nor North Carolina will ever be the same.
The Devil & Dan Cooley
with Walter Spence
North Carolina disk jockey Dan Cooley has the brilliant idea to boost station ratings in his devil-infested state by hosting the Great Devil Makeover. The devil chosen for the makeover, though, has other ideas.
Hell on High
with Ted Nolan
In the heart of North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, an engineer plagued by angels is working magic with circuits and wires to get his shot at space and the woman he’s fallen in love with, a fallen angel seeks her own redemption by giving faster-than-light travel to humanity, and a poodle-eating detective-devil named Glibspet gets the literal “clients from hell” . . . and a job he can’t refuse.
When the Bough Breaks : A Novel of the Serrated Edge
with Mercedes Lackey
Elves, race cars, and one terribly abused child with magic at her disposal and monsters in her mind. Can help arrive before she turns her nightmares into reality for everyone?
The Rose Sea
with S.M. Stirling
War brings together an obscure officer of the New Armies and a rancher’s daughter; the gods give them a destiny. At stake: a new age of freedom and growth for humanity . . . or an eternal nightmare under the power of an insane demon-god.
with Marion Zimmer Bradley
Two best friends from North Carolina take a vacation to the tiny country of Glenraven . . . and discover that magic is real, and the country itself has plans for them.
In the Rift: Glenraven II
with Marion Zimmer Bradley
A young woman acquires the Fodor’s Guide to Glenraven at the same time that it opens a gate between magical Glenraven and the mundane world that has become increasingly dangerous for her.
Mall, Mayhem and Magic
with Chris Guin
Lighthearted romp with a magical book; wicked little elves; Barbie dolls; an ancient but lovely virgin; Jim — a young man full of lust, hope and courage; a villainous sorcerer; and, of course, a mall, in which Bad Things happen.
BARD’S TALE NOVELS
Curse of the Black Heron
Thunder of the Captains
with Aaron Allston
Wrath of the Princes
with Aaron Allston
Stories in Anthologies
Women at War
ed. Lois McMaster Bujold, Roland Green
My story, “A Few Good Men” — Medwind Song goes to war over a goat and aquires a few more husbands.
The Enchanter Reborn
ed. L. Sprague de Camp, Christopher Stasheff
My Story, “Knight and the Enemy” — Don Quixote, God, and the problem with chickens …
Chicks in Chainmail
ed. Esther Friesner
My story, “Armorella” — Cinderella in chainmail, and Prince Charming … not.
THE FREE WRITING BOOK
Mugging the Muse: Writing Fiction for Love AND Money
* PLEASE NOTE:
Books labeled SUSPENSE and marked with an asterisk are contemporary suspense novels, not fantasy or science fiction novels. In spite of the cover art and book descriptions, there has apparently been some confusion about this, and I cannot guarantee that fans of my other books will find these to their taste.
I like them. But they are tense and in places graphic, and they are very different from everything else I’ve written.