A second day of uphill — but progress uphill is still progress

By Holly Lisle

I’m at the midpoint of Ohio 5, the stakes are high, my MC has just discovered for the first time in the series HOW high… and, to rearrange some Rush lyrics that THEY borrowed, I’ve just discovered, from John Barth’s The Tidewater Tales, 

My characters will pay the price, but they will not count the cost.

I’d love to write further on the book, but today has not been easy, and brought with it both cause for a headache and the headache that followed. 

So I’m going to take my 701 words, and my nearly 40,000 total, and say “good enough.”

And disappear for the weekend, where I will play video games, and read books, and nap on the couch if the mood strikes me.

And Monday I’ll come back, bringing new words to the story.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

Hoo, BOY!!! 1356 words, and the conclusion to my favorite scene in the book so far!

By Holly Lisle

I have 38,397 words in a novel that I’m thinking will need 90,000 to be finished.

Today’s scene was actually the midpoint scene of the novel — the point where everything changes.

So it’s not in the right place, and to get it to fit the book and be in the right spot, I’m going to have to drag it to the midpoint, and then build out the events that lead up to it.

I’m okay working like this. Scrivener is, in fact, designed so I CAN work like this. What I’ll have to do is write several new thirty-word scene Sentences, drag them to the correct spots, and then go back and write the couple of disasters that took us to this point.

But today, like yesterday, the words flew, and while I had no clue what I was going to write until I wrote it, it fit, and it moved me, and I love what I got.

Days like this are pretty rare. I’m thrilled that I had two of them in a row.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

1250 Words on Ohio Five… and making myself cry. A LOT…

By Holly Lisle

I had no idea the events I wrote today were going to happen.

None. What I had planned was entirely different, and pretty good. But this was…




My eyes are red, I’ve had to stop several times to go walk around in the kitchen and mutter to myself, and here’s the thing. Today’s stuff is not the whole of what’s going to happen. 

I stopped with 1250 words because it just happened to end the first part of the scene.

Tomorrow, when I pick this back up, I’ll write the SECOND twist that I didn’t see coming.

And I guarantee you that I’m not going to make it dry-eyed through tomorrow’s writing, either.

I love this so much. I hate crying, but this part of the story surprised me, reached out and grabbed me, and made be love my characters so much more than I already did.

Done for the day, though.

I’ll be back tomorrow, and I’ll bring more words.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

Ohio 5: 850 words net, and a WICKED new twist.

By Holly Lisle

This was a “book woke me up and dragged me out of bed” morning.

The words didn’t come quickly, and I had to cut out some stuff that had been… well, really weak by comparison.

Love what I got, though. And I have left myself in such an awesome place for coming back into work on Monday.

Word count: 850 keepers, and 35,100 total. I’m getting there!

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

“Something wicked…” might be me!

By Holly Lisle

Mondays can be hard starts. You’re back into work after taking the weekend off, you’re a bit cold on the book because you spent the previous week re-launching your writing classes and your mind has been elsewhere…

And the first hour, I did some gear-grinding and backing and filling trying to get back into the story.

Until I remembered what the guy who’s in the current few scenes does for a living.

And realized that the town has a river I know really well (both in the fictional version and the real one), and thought about what rivers can hide…

And when I had that realization, all of a sudden my fingers couldn’t move fast enough to get the words out.

GOD, I had fun!

Days like this, you just want to keep going…

But if you stop when you hit your word goal (or run a bit over it, actually, but not enough to hurt anyone), you can have a whole week of days like this.

So now I’m going to go work on HollysWritingClasses.com, getting my classes back on sale, and talking to new students, and seeing what it would take to set up a couple of virtual chats.


<pursued by the echoes of my wicked giggles>

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

An even 500 words today, and a conundrum for my hero

By Holly Lisle

I’m a solid third of the way through Book 5, and threw a conundrum at my main character.

I also solved a problem way, way too easily, though, so when I come back to this tomorrow, I have to have the solution sprout horns and fangs and a bad attitude… 

Or at least dump a little rain on her parade.

However… in the middle of relaunching my writing website and getting ready to wrap up the half-price writing-class sale on Friday, and with a pretty nasty headache going on, I STILL got words today.

Right at the moment, that feels like a big damn win.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

I got words today. (Yep, even with a launch going on)

By Holly Lisle

I got the things I needed to do on the HollysWritingClasses.com site launch finished, then set up Ohio 5… and got 1,013 words.

And I like them. They’re dark, and grim, and they surprised me. What I thought was going to happen didn’t… but what did happen was better.

Not happier. But it makes more sense, and it shows that sometimes there are no easy ways to get where you have to go.

My guys are right in the middle of The Hard Way… and the scene worked for me far better than what I had planned.

Going to shoot for 1250 again tomorrow, and pick up where I left off.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

The Write Stuff 2022 Story Bundle… and me!

By Holly Lisle

This year I was invited for into a StoryBundle for the first time… and I accepted the invitation because the bundle includes not just a bunch of really good writers of both fiction and nonfiction, but two of my genuine writing heroes — Lawrence Block, whose Telling Lies for Fun and Profit helped me teach myself how to build a fiction career back when I was a registered nurse working ER…

…And Kristine Kathryn Rusch, whose work I loved, and from whom (in her other job as editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction back then), I received a number of my better rejections.

There are also folks whose names I knew, and two who are brand new to me.

And I liked the cause: AbleGamers. While I’m primarily a solitary gamer, I’ve played with other folks on occasion — and you can build meaningful relationships through shared gaming peak experiences.


Find the story bundle here: https://storybundle.com/writing

2022 Write Stuff Bundle

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Epic Stakes Day: 29,243 words total, 1045 words for the day, and bigness

By Holly Lisle

About a third of the way into Book 5, and today’s words were a blast.

Crazy fun (for me). 

My main character has both just discovered the magnitude of the problem she faces, and has come up with an idea that may help her (and her allies) solve it.

It’s dangerous, of course.

And the stakes if she fails could not be higher.

And she still has a problem she hasn’t identified staring her in the face.


I love where the book is going, and I cannot wait to write the next scene.



Gotta be tomorrow, because right now, I have to get back to getting the HollysWritingClasses.com Half-Price Ten-Day sale built, and that work, unlike writing fiction, is finicky, precise, exacting, requires complete silence and absolute concentration…

And is not fun at all.

And can only be done by me.

Once it’s done, though, I’ll have solved the final problem I face with the new website, and can get back to writing fiction, and hanging out in the forums and doing upgrades on the writing classes.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

Two hours of fiction, nice progress, and wickedness afoot

By Holly Lisle

My MC just met someone who’s going to be important in her life, at least briefly. And has finally discovered the source of the amazing smells coming from one of her neighbors’ houses.

While absolutely terrible things that have been running amok have been, for a moment, slowed down.

The temporary sense of things coming under control is premature, of course.

Very good, very happy writing day. I love what I got, I love the people I’m writing about.

1156 words, 28,198 total, and I left myself in a very good place for tomorrow.

But now it is time to go build pricing boxes and make sure I don’t have any MORE products I forgot to set up for the ten-day half-price writing class sale.

The Ten Day Half Price Writing Class Sale should have started tomorrow, but I’ve delayed the kickoff until NEXT Tuesday (April 18), because I discovered that I hadn’t even set lesson timers on a couple of classes, and I would have had to work the entire weekend to get those missing timers set, AND set up the rest of the pricing boxes, AND build out products shopping carts on the couple of classes I’d missed in the every-second-week versions… and I was exhausted from the previous week’s work, and I would have been prone to error.

This way, there’s no gawdawful rush. I can get my words, do what has to be done, and NEXT Tuesday when the sale goes live, I’ll still be happy and relaxed and in a good mood. Instead of a frazzled wreck running on no sleep.

On that happy note, I’m off to do during five days and normal work hours what I did not try to squeeze into two days working awful hours. 

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved