Finished Book 3 Outline, Three Scenes into Book 4 — and the mysterious origins of the funny bits.

By Holly Lisle

As I’ve mentioned before, I outline. One 30-word sentence per chapter (knowing even as I do it that I will write extra, unexpected scenes; will write AGAINST some planned, outlined scenes; and will come up with some shit out of nowhere that suddenly has to be in the book, and that changes everything).

Mine is a messy, gory, grubby process that leaves a lot of bent and broken stuff in its wake — which is why I am the Small God of ferocious One Pass Revision.

But first, I outline. 

And today I finished the Book 3 outline, and got three GOOD scenes into book 4.

Things are twisting, shifty, getting messy and scary and grim in the main storyline — and the funny stuff never appears in the outline. The funny stuff only happens when I’m actually writing, when my Node Of Perversity observes that one character has a bad addiction… and then follows another character unknowingly feeding that character’s addiction to its logical conclusion.  

Which made me laugh my ass off, and made Matt, my editor (and husband), laugh so hard he snorted. That almost never happens, so it was a huge win.

But that’s all shit I can’t plan.

The PLAN is dark, and twisty, and dangerous, and filled with people I love getting deeper into muck they’re going to have a helluva time surviving.

I just have faith that Smartass Holly will show up while I’m writing that stuff, and make all the rest of us laugh.


No word count. It’s pointless in outlining. But finishing Outline 3 and getting partway into Outline 3 is GOOD progress.


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Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved

Intern Program #1: FICTION Critter, Editor, Copyeditor, Text Layout, Cover Design, Fiction Launch Path

By Holly Lisle

I’ve created my first intern program: COMMERCIAL FICTION DEVELOPMENT. The first intern program is for people who want to work with WRITERS OF FICTION (and personal non-fiction). And who want to get paid to do this.

I’m looking for people with whom I can work LONG-TERM. I want to build a team I can rely on to work with every fiction project I write, and ideally the first interns who join the program would become my team, and will still be working with me as indie contractors 25 years from now.

However, I know other writers need help, too—and I know where hundreds of these writers are (, and I can train more folks than just my own team.

Whether we end up working together long-term or not, I’ll make sure that, if you take the program seriously and apply the necessary effort to learn the skills I teach, I’ll recommend you in ReadersMeetWriters for the skills you learned, and you can offer your skills in the RMW Market with my recommendation as your first client.

This is the program to apply for if you want to get to read a lot of fiction, and work with writers to help them make their fiction the best it can be, and to learn how to get it out into the world to reach other readers.

If you maintain your active status as an intern, you will get hands-on experience and training in doing:

  • Professional-quality crits
  • Manuscript Content Editing
  • Manuscript Copy Editing
  • Manuscript Text Layout and Manuscript Formatting
  • Cover copy and promotional copy
  • Cover Design
  • Fiction copy and launch building

Each of these skills is needed not just by me, but by the members of

And I’ll be recruiting FROM the membership of for my first interns. Here’s the program.

BEGINNING INTERNS—You’ll work with my previously published work doing:

  • Reading and bughunting
  • Manuscript layout and pre-formatting (for novels) and ebook creation (for short fiction)
  • Writing cover copy and other promotional copy
  • Designing cover art
  • BASIC fiction launch training

ADVANCED INTERNS—Interns who perform well and reliably and hit deadlines consistently will move on to working with my new fiction as I write it, doing:

  • Reader crits of first drafts
  • Content editing of final drafts
  • Manuscript copyediting
  • ADVANCED fiction launch training

BEGINNING INTERNS will receive my downloadable training for bug-hunting, manuscript layout and formatting, writing cover copy, designing cover art, and basic fiction launches, and you’ll get my input on each step you complete.

When the split-tester becomes available, we will split-test cover-copy, cover art, and launch elements, and you will be able to see which of your own work is best (you’ll do multiple entries), and how your work stacks up against the work by others—and you’ll be able to use what you learn to improve your skills.

By successfully completing each section, interns will receive my recommendation and points in, as well as the courses I offer that include additional training.

Interns will also receive an acknowledgment in each book on which they are an active participant.

I have room for twelve interns who will work in teams of three on the 19 projects I have ready to go. I will open up replacement slots for any interns who drop out of the program.

Interns with whom I work well and who enjoy working with me will progress to the ADVANCED PROGRAM.

All advanced interns will take How To Revise Your Novel at an accelerated pace, and will use this course to understand how to revise and edit fiction. You will each receive first-draft manuscripts of previously published works of mine to use for practice, and once you have completed the course and a full edit of a first-draft manuscript, will work with me on live fiction as I create it.

ADVANCED INTERNS will also take the advanced fiction launch training I am currently developing, and will set up test launches. Successful test launches will become live launches. When each ADVANCED INTERN runs a successful live launch, that intern will receive fiction launch certification for use in RMW. I will contract with one or two certified fiction launchers to plan, set up, and run my own launches, and will recommend certified fiction launchers to RMW members looking to hire them.

This intern program will be a lot of work, will not cost you anything, but also will not pay you anything.

You’ll receive free training; you’ll receive points and recommendations in RMW if you do well; you’ll receive acknowledgement in the books you help fix.

And as I’m able to move from the intern-training model to hiring contractors, I will.

If you want to apply for an internship, watch your email from the RMW list. If you are not currently a member, you can join, which is still in its BETA stage. I’ll send an email out early next week.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved