Couple of days off

By Holly Lisle

I needed some think time. Not quite sure how to deal with the next bit of revision. I’ll have to figure it out when I get back up today, but Saturday and Sunday I actually took off — first time I’ve given myself a whole weekend in a while.

And something silly:


which Episode II character are you?

Queen of Naboo. You could have a split personality – simply to hide who you really are. You are extremely polite and gentle. However, if needs be, you will take action and can be a very good leader. You have the power to make people believe in you – use this power. The one you love could also end up being the one you hate.

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


The things we were not born to do

By Holly Lisle

I asked a question on the Discussion board, (it’s the current survey question), that goes “At what age did you discover you were a writer? The discussion part of the survey adds, “And what were the circumstances?” Those aren’t the exact words, but I’m composing this offline, so close is going to have to do.

Judging by the survey results so far, I was a really late bloomer. I spent my childhood thinking I was going to be an artist, my teenage years thinking I was going to be either a musician or an artist or somebody’s wife, and my late teens and early twenties becoming an RN, and thinking, “What are dreams if you starve for them? Nursing is challenging, interesting, useful, to some extent idealistic, and practical. And a regular paycheck comes with the gig.”

I discovered I was a writer when I was twenty-six. Which is not to say that I hadn’t written before then. In second grade, a teacher loved my story so much she read it — and only it — aloud to my classmates. I remember writing my own book of the Bible when I was nine and living in Alaska, because I wasn’t too crazy about the contents of the rest of the Bible, and I thought I could do better. I sat on the long bus ride home in 7th grade writing babysitter-in-peril stories and passing out the pages as I wrote them to a number of my fellow bus-prisoners, for whom I could not write either fast or copiously enough. I won prizes for my writing throughout school, and once, after a compliment from a teacher on a particular piece when I was in high school, said I was going to have it published. (Ah, the naivete.)

When I hit my early twenties, I was writing a lot of twenty-five page Tolkein clones and hard SF short stories. I even took a course from Writers’ Digest. On January 1st, 1985, I wrote a New Year’s resolution for myself, that I would finish a novel before my 25th birthday. (Oct. 8th). I sat down and started working through it, eventually typing on a manual, and then an electric, typewriter — final count one thousand-plus pages, from which I got a three-hundred page romance novel. Before my birthday. I sent it out. It got rejected. I got a really good rejection, but I didn’t know that. I quit writing — in my mind, I had walked away from it forever. Except I kept having ideas, and the occasional hideously bad short story kept popping out.

Through all of that, however, I did not make that critical identification — that “Aha, I’m a writer!” connection — until I joined a writers’ group over in Fayetteville, NC, in late 1986 or early 1987. I was twenty-six at the time. And suddenly, there was an audible click inside my head: This writing thing was not a hobby, it was not insanity, it was not wasting my time, it was not another bizarre fetish (like reading) that I needed to keep hidden in polite company because real people watched stock car races and soap operas and if they read anything, read Penthouse or Cosmopolitan. Writing was something real, that real people aspired to, and something, as well, that real people did. Sometimes even for a living. More importantly, it was something that I wanted — the first thing in my life that I discovered I wanted enough to fight for. (There have been others since, but that was the first.)

I might not have to be an RN for the rest of my working days. There might be an alternative that would let me find an audience for the endless stories my imagination constantly spun out, and let me escape the vilest concatenation of administrative dickheads ever assembled on the face of the Earth. I loved to write — the physical act of sitting down and finding words, discovering story, throwing characters I liked into corners that I hated and seeing if I could figure out a way to get them back out. (I still love this.) And some lucky bastards got paid to do this.

Hot damn. At twenty-six, I said, “Eureka! I’m a writer!” And decided that come hell or hard luck, I was going to join the lucky bastards.

I became an unpublished writer — but I was a writer, and said so. (Though still not always in polite company.) It was, for me, a change as huge and life-altering as anything else I have ever done. No part of my life has been untouched by writing, and no part of my writing has been untouched by life.

May it ever be so.

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


Good days happen

By Holly Lisle

Good days happen
Without warning, after bad days, in spite of too much sun or rain
Laughter bursts out of dark corners and explodes whole rooms
Clearing cobwebs with astonishing speed
Dread wearies of itself, and falls exhausted to the floor,
Overcome by its own mutterings, melodramatic in its flung pose
Good news sneaks in over the transom, under the shutters, between the cracks
Surprising in unexpected places, unhoped-for ways
Good days happen

Good days do not wait for big things
For fine news
For miracles
Good days are like a seeded lawn — much nothing
Followed by a bit of something
And like the growing grass, good days don’t change the world
But they smell fine when you mow them, and you can lie on a good day
And watch the clouds float overhead

Good days smell like after the rain,
Pie in the oven,
New-mown hay,
Sweet feed for horses,
Autumn leaves.

Good days grace us with sharp cold air
— Thinking air —
And snowfield silence
And apple-blossom beauty
And anchor us to life, and tether us tight to good dark ground
When we’re in danger of falling off
And so we can go on.

For Zette, Andi, and June, orchestrators of much of my good day, with thanks for the surprise.

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I must cheer

By Holly Lisle

The season ender for Buffy, The Vampire Slayer just so kicked ass!

(We now return you to your regularly scheduled weblog.)

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


Headache

By Holly Lisle

Had to happen sooner or later. Stress, e-mails lacking in anything resembling good news, and some serious worry. Still got about a thousand words, but that’s half what I wanted.

Still, I’ll stick to the plan. Do some revision this afternoon. Maybe write some more tonight.

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


Took most of a day off

By Holly Lisle

I may write later tonight, but I discovered that I needed a break. I was starting to get burned out — don’t want to do that.

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


Well, the site is now running without me

By Holly Lisle

Last morning for a while that I’ll be doing any web-work at all. My e-mail is on auto-responder, the front page has only evergreen links and an apology, and the moderators are running the community.

So. I have the six-book proposal, the line-per-scene outline for the first book, and the first couple of chapters of the first book in front of me, as well as print-outs of Sheila’s crits (thanks, Sheila!) and it’s time to get to work for the day. Proposed book length, 120,000 words. Roughing in at 10 pages per scene, sixty scenes total.

Goals for this morning are, in order:
1) Get the last three thumbnails for the proposal revised
2) Get as many of the sixty scenes on paper in one-sentence form as possible, remembering conflict on every page, and all the stuff Sheila and I discussed that is unique to writing in the romance field

I’ll worry about goals for this afternoon later.

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About one quarter of the book outlined

By Holly Lisle

And about one third of Sheila’s suggested revisions on the proposal thumbnails done. But it’s time to knock off for the night. My eyes are starting to glaze over. I’m not a night writer — not by a long shot.

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


Six books now outlined in short-short proposal form

By Holly Lisle

I’m not sure which of them will stick and which will have to be redone — I’m going to bug Sheila Viehl to see if I can get her to tell me what I’m doing wrong. But in the meantime, I got the layout for the first book, which I’m already about fifty pages into. (Don’t be too impressed — this was work I’d already done.)

Now I’m sitting down to do the one-sentence-per-scene outline for the first book.

So far, so good.

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


Migraine over, time to get to work

By Holly Lisle

Basically, I’ll be moving on. And developing alternatives at the same time. I’ll try to keep up with this web journal. I can do it while I write and not get distracted. However, I’m going to be offline otherwise until I get a massive amount of work done in very, very little time.

I won’t be in the community, and I won’t be answering anything but emergency e-mails. Things at the moment are Not Good, but with sufficient application of ass to chair and fingers to keyboard, there is a good chance they can become good.

Real Writers Bounce.

Goddammit.

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