The Grueling Revision Of Penitence and Disbelief

By Holly Lisle

He Who Punishes HubrisWhere revision is concerned, making the assumption that you have the process of knocking out an upcoming revision well in hand before you start in is an act of hubris that will be punished by the Manuscript God.

This I know, for I have walked through the Valley of What-The-FUCK-Was-I-Thinking many and many a time before, and have had my ass handed to me by simple black ink on white paper more times than I can count.

Knowing this, I like to think I have learned something from my previous revisions.




But, you see, THIS revision was going to be a piece of cake. 22,000-word story, knew what I was writing when I was writing it, I’d knock the whole thing out on Friday, do the type-in on Saturday, give myself a well-deserved day off on Sunday, and be back in here bright-eyed and perky today.



So I am now clawing my way out of a three-day ordeal that left me battered, bloodied, and unrested, to face type-in today with much more to type in than I had anticipated, with both the addition of a shitload of new words to the story, and a significant addition of plot that I’m going to have to track back-brain as I work to keep out the stupid, and one item that I FORGOT to deal with in the write-in and that I must now remember to address during the type-in.

Odds are high that I will not be finished with this today.

Nothing else happens in my universe until this is done.

I have a ton of other things that MUST happen soon, but this must happen first.

Watch this space. Once this manuscript is done, a bunch of things are going to start rolling out very quickly.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

2,357 words today, and BASHTYK NOKYD is done.

By Holly Lisle

Longview Oil Painting Talyn StyleThe first draft of Bashtyk Nokyd Takes The Longview is now finished. It runs 21,790 words, and I am damned pleased with the way my ending came together.

Melie spots something important, Shay loses something even more important, and the monster get an excuse to come out of the box.

So I have tomorrow to do a write-in revision, and maybe type that in, and then get the story to my editor over the weekend. Next week, it’ll go to the copyeditor, and then back to me.

But while it’s out of my hands, I’ll do the next lesson on HTWAS Module Three, and do my best to have that in the classroom next Friday.

Which means the How To Write A Series class will be starting back to work next week. Which means next FRIDAY, the price goes up again, in recognition of the development of the third module. If you want the course, you have until next Friday to get it at the current price.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

Off-topic, while researching growing food on high-population space stations

By Holly Lisle

I have no time for people who wear their causes on a ribbon, or on their car bumper, and who think this means they’re doing something.

I have all the time in the world for people who look at their causes, ask “What could I personally do right now to make this happen?…and then do it.

This is a website by two such people. (Link opens in new tab.) If you think agro-ecology is boring, think again. This is some amazing stuff, and has the potential to be so much more.

And this video shows how they got there, and more importantly, why they got there.


I only watched this video because in the site text it mentioned that some of it was in Costa Rica, and I lived there when I was a kid.

Turns out it was the most useful bit of “growing food on a space station” research I did.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

Bashtyk Nokyd doubts the “truth”: And words—now have 17,669

By Holly Lisle

Hit 17,669 words today. Since I’m pushing for 20,000 to 22,000 words, that’s pretty good. (I may run long, but it isn’t going to be Suzee Delight long.

Melie has proven the value of her skills again,

Shay has convincingly demonstrated that she has the worst boss in Settled Space,

Bashtyk Nokyd is planning the overthrow of the Pact Worlds—or at least the freeing of their slaves—with my heroic pirate of a lawyer to help him…

Tikka has discovered something deeply disturbing in her new job as a GenDaring employee in the City of Furies branch…



I have my new villain—who is an old villain returned. It took me the full weekend to think through the relationships, the issues, and connections to other parts of the story, and the WHY of this (because if you don’t know why, faggeddaboudit).


The really big thing is still coming, and it ties this all in with Cadence Drake and The Wishbone Conspiracy.

There hits a point in every story where my stomach turns wacky on me: where I have butterflies and jitters and a faint, persistent queasiness that comes from knowing what this CAN be if I can pull it off—and having to finish the thing to see if I CAN pull it off.

And I’m there.

Because of deadlines, though, this should be about the shortest case of butterflies and quease I’ve had in a while. 😀

Onward.  Hope to have this finished in first draft by the end of the week, to my editor over the weekend, and to my copyeditor next week.

Once it’s live, HTWAS officially goes into Module Three (price bump) and I get back to doing Ugly Workshop stuff, Ugly Baby Stuff, and ReadersMeetWriters stuff.

But for now, it’s just me and the words. And I love this!




Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

If you kill your villain halfway through the story…

By Holly Lisle

Today was a bit of a catch-up day for writing. I got 871 words, which does not do a ton for my writing schedule.

But two days ago, in a moment of sheer inspiration, right in the middle of Bashtyk Nokyd Takes the Longview, I killed a whole lotta people, and dead among them was the pretty-well-developed hidden villain I’d been planning to kill at the end of the episode.

It was a cool damn scene, and I’m still totally revved about it.


If you kill your main villain for the episode halfway through the story, you have a problem. So today I spent most of my writing time digging through Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood and Warpaint. I found my villain—and now I’m building some backstory to tie this into the LONGVIEW series, so that I don’t derail the series itself.

I have to keep this on track, because this series has to lead directly into Cadence Drake 3: The Wishbone Conspiracy.

Tomorrow I’ll probably be doing a lot of doodling on paper. The only thing I have ever found that lets me think as well as a pen and paper is a Minecraft map.

Go figure.

So once I get this figured out, I know what Lesson 2 in Module 3 of HTWAS is going to cover. 😀

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

Melie, Shay, treachery, and mystery: 2048 words

By Holly Lisle

2015-01-22_13.34.11 copyCrazy back pain this morning—sometimes the damn twisted spine is just unbearable, and I had to do a lot of stretching this morning to even get mobile. So it was after 7 AM before I got my first words.

But once I got rolling, they flew. I had to pull out the Minecraft map to see if a couple of things I needed to have characters do could be done, and discovered that, with a bit of tinkering, they could.

2015-01-22_13.33.35 copyEnded up doing a bit of reconfiguring back of the bridge, (because if you don’t update your map as you make changes, you break it.)

But the real gem of my interaction today was between Melie and Shay, figuring out how they’re going to handle their hell of a mess while sitting right in the middle of it.

2015-01-22_13.32.52 copyAgain, got two things I hadn’t anticipated—one a change in how they see each other, and one Shay’s very neat way of getting information of Melie.

Good damn writing day, and at this pace, would put me just a few days out of finishing the story, except that I look like I’m running long again.

I think I see a way to take out some of the planned scenes though, and maybe scoot them into the next episode, so that I can keep this tight and get it done and get started back on HTWAS, Module Three.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

1970 words on Bashtyk, and a whole lotta dead folk

By Holly Lisle

Scary Monster's EyeYeah.

That went well.

Have been up since six AM today, writing, undoing, rethinking, pushing, and my net gain was one chapter.

Good chapter.

It ended with the line that made my blood run cold (and not because it broke the entire storyline in this episode for this story’s second main character).

Just because it was the dead opposite of what I’d planned, of what I’d been writing toward, of my anticipated midpoint twist. It twisted my twist, and made it better.

And I had no clue it was coming until the killer walked up to my MC.

The line?

After a moment it said, “And you’re the new captain.”

I cannot WAIT to get to work tomorrow morning.

Today, though? I gotta finish 1099s.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

Back to Bashtyk: The power of play

By Holly Lisle

Longview Oil Painting Talyn StyleSo. I woke up at 2AM today, because there was story stuff in my head. And I wrote for four hours and got over 1000 really good words on Bashtyk Nokyd Takes The Longview.

But let me drop back on this for a minute.

In spite of the work list I revealed on January 1st, last weekend, I sat on the couch all day Saturday and all day Sunday, and did nothing but play Minecraft.

More specifically, I finally built the owner’s quarters in the Longview, which included ripping out ALL the previous owner’s quarters section, because THINGS CHANGED. I got Shay’s place built. I discovered a bunch of hidden areas in the ship, and ripped out some previous access pathways to private areas to build new and better ones.

A screenshot of the secret that gave me today’s writing. (Click for bigger image)


A screenshot of the secret that features in a candy-bar scene I’m going to love to write. (Click for bigger image)


So there’ll be a new update on the Longview Minecraft map pretty soon.

And I also built some of my map of the City of Furies. It’s enormous, and right now it’s primarily land covered with cows, sheep, horses, and the occasional bunny. But I have the basic outlines laid out now, some of the gold wall built, a couple of the roads, and a GOOD start on the Pinnacle.

I played, dammit, which left me feeling happy, healthy, and rested for the first time in ages, even though I was, and still am, still coughing a lot.

So. Back to 2AM today, and the head full of story.

The story crawled out of a little secret I’d stuck into the bottom hold of the Longview a couple days earlier, and damn if it didn’t solve a bunch of previous problems, add a bit of Special Evil, and set me up for an even cooler bit of business about midway through this episode.

You must not EVER discount the power of play. It’s what lets your brain unhook from whatever stressed-out crap you’re looping on, and jumps you right over obstacles to cool solutions. It lets you understand how things connect. It brings sweet secrets out of the deep dark corners of your mind and drops them in your lap where you can touch them and turn them over and discover how you can use them.

It is beautiful stuff, is play.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved