Why I shut down my Patreon fundraiser

By Holly Lisle

I’d intended to send a Questions & Answers email to my How to Write a Novel launch list, but that’s going to have to wait.Instead, I did THIS.

Closed my “Move out of Florida while writing fiction” fundraiser.

Here’s why — it’s this clause in the Patreon Legal Agreement


By posting content to Patreon you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display or prepare derivative works of your content.

Understand that I read that clause and all the rest of them before signing up.

BUT… I’m not a lawyer, and I understood that clause to mean that Patreon was claiming the right to use my Patreon-created content (in other words, my POSTS) to promote the site.

I DID NOT think that they were claiming the right to use and abuse the content I was giving my patrons. In this case, three monthly chapters of the raw first draft of one of my current novels in progress, Dead Man’s Party.

A friend emailed me with a link to this post, however:


Turns out, I was wrong. Patreon is claiming rights to my novel.

So I’m out. I sent the first copy of this email to my patrons using a private Patreon post, and then I shut down my Patreon fundraiser, and am now trying to figure out how to actually close my account.

I’m not letting this kill my dream of moving us out of Florida…
…(hopefully before the next hurricane, if not the start of the hurricane season).

How you can help, if you want to —

I have created original classes ranging from under ten dollars to way over a hundred. If one of the classes I offer could help you, then you buying it would help me.


*** How to Write a Novel *** 


(IN LAUNCH: On sale ONLY through Tuesday APRIL 8 — Final Discount Launch)

How to Revise Your Novel: 


How to Write a Series: 


How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers: 


WRITING CRAFT SERIES (Each class is under $10)

Create a Character Clinic: 


Create A Plot Clinic: 


How to Write Page-Turning Scenes: 


WORLDBUILDING SERIES (Each class is under $10)

Create A Language Clinic: 


Create a Culture Clinic: 


Create a World Clinic: 



How to Write Short Stories: 


How to Write Villains: 


How to Write Dialogue with Subtext: 


Title Cover Copy Marketing Basics: 


How to Find Your Writing Discipline: 


How to Find Your Writing Voice: 


How to Motivate Yourself: 


Beat Writer’s Block: 



How to Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck




You can help out by buying some of my indie-published fiction.


Light Through Fog: 




Strange Arrivals: 



Fire in the Mist: 


Bones of the Past:


Mind of the Magic:




Both of the Cadence Drake novels Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood and Warpaint, are off sale while I come up with new titles and new cover art for them, and new key words, descriptions, and other marketing that allows me to correctly put them in front of the audience that likes a few vampires and a bit of horror with its spaceships.

The Longview Chronicles (complete Series) is in the same universe — still dark, but without the vampires:


Or you can get the individual stories:

Born from Fire: 


Suzee Delight: 


Philosopher Gambit: 


Gunslinger Moon: 


Vipers’ Nest: 


The Owner’s Tale: 



Minerva Wakes: 



Author Page: 


Midnight Rain: 


Last Girl Dancing:


I See You: 


I have much more fiction that’s commercially published, or which is out of print and has reverted to me, but which I have not yet republished.

I’m not linking to ANY of that fiction, because your purchase of used books or books where publishers haven’t paid royalties in years will not help me.

So there we are.

I want to thank all my patrons again, and I am so sorry that I had to do this, but there is no way I can permit this:

Excerpted from Patreon Legal Terms

You keep full ownership of all content that you post on Patreon, but to operate we need licenses from you.

By posting content to Patreon you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display or prepare derivative works of your content. 

No. Just NO.

P.S. I have had one of my Patreon patrons already ask me how she could continue to support me on a monthly basis.

Here’s the answer I gave her:

“I’ll look into what’s available. Right now, I’m crushed to discover the rights Patreon actually claimed, and worried about getting involved with any other site. So I’m in limbo. You’ll find my blog at HollyLisle.com. I’ll be keeping my folks there up to date on how I deal with this. It sucks.

Hugs, and thank you for asking.”

Why is EVERYBODY on my blog, my mailing list, and in my forums getting this?

Because if you know me, you’re probably either a reader or a writer. If you’re a writer, you may be considering using Patreon, and you need to know. If you’re a reader considering funding someone on Patreon, THEY need to know.

And this is the ugliest, broadest rights-grab I have personally ever seen. Or sadly, been caught up in.

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

Marketing Tuesday: Finished with my survey results (and a game)

By Holly Lisle

So, for as long as I’m doing Marketing Tuesdays, I’ve made myself a little image — with Scary Halloween Lettering, because for me at least, trying to wrap my head around marketing is scary.

But I have the most amazing readers. I had a massive response to my three-question quiz. Thank you to every single reader who answered — there’s a story that will be coming your way once it’s written.

The results were compelling, consistent, and very, very revealing.

  • My readers like what I write, and are not looking for me to switch up genres or be any less… er… challenging in my willingness to drag all sorts of characters, conflicts, and genres into the stories I tell.
  • My readers, however, know a lot of writers who write things similar to what I write, and these other writers are not marketing their work as hard SF, or high fantasy, or space opera, or crossover fantasy.
  • These other writers who write in the genre I’ve been writing since I started market their work as urban fantasy. Werewolves, spaceships, stepping from one world into another, magic in modern settings or strange settings. I’ve gone extensively through their work, bought a lot of it, am reading a lot of it. 

So I’m going to have to do a bunch of stuff over the next months. 

Get or make new covers that accurately reflect the contents of my work.

Change titles on some work: It was noted by a number of respondents (and my husband) that both Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood and Warpaint are dreadful titles that are not even marginally reflective of the contents or genre of the stories they contain. 

Create new editions, making sure that the books contain their previous titles so there’s no confusion or accidental double-buying.

Write new cover copy. 

All of this while still working on the current novels, Dead Man’s Party and The Wishbone Conspiracy, which I’m just letting you know right now is another awful title and is as of today relegated to the status of Working Title That Sucks, and That I’ll Fix In Revision.

In Other News…

Was talking to my older kid, Mark, last night, and he mentioned that he was writing a text adventure using software named Twine. I was knitting while talking on the phone, and made a smartass comment about my software being called Yarn, but after he gracefully bypassed my dumb joke, he described what he was doing, and I realized that Twine would allow me to build the text-adventure game that I already tried to make once — and that failed badly — a game that would let folks play through finding everything they want and nothing they don’t on this ridiculously huge site with all the different stuff that’s on it…

And I started building that game today.


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

Marketing Tuesday #1 – Reading Emails, Building a “Loves, Hates, and Recommends” chart

By Holly Lisle

So because last Tuesday was TAX DAY, in which I had to finish up everything to get to my accountant, today is my first ever Marketing Tuesday.

In which I am building a chart to help me understand who my readers are, what they’re looking for from me, what other work they like and what they like about it.

Reader and Email are on there so the folks who answered the three questions I asked, whether via email, on my blog, or over in the HWC forums, can get their stories.

And so far, it’s looking very much like I’m going to have to write a new story for them. The people who like my work are enthusiastic about it — but in most cases, not for the reasons I thought.

SO FAR… (and I have a LOT of feedback yet to go through) many of MY readers love the fact that I mix genres, love my insertion of grim and gritty and real-world into fantasy and science fiction, love the fact that my worlds feel real, and do not mind at all that I smoosh all the stuff I love from nonfiction (anthropology and archeology and history and science and pseudoscience) into books that are ostensibly about other things.

Turns out… I’m not the only writer who is currently doing this — and the fact that there are folks who write what I love to write and who have really good audiences for it is encouraging as hell.

It just means I’ve been putting the stuff I love to write in front of the wrong people.

And the answers I’m getting to the questions I asked are showing me everything I was getting wrong… and better yet, how to get those things right.

So I’m going to have to write a story for these folks.

I think it’s going to be a short one-off that will introduce a new character, a new world, and an idea I have for my first “now I know what I’m writing” series.

Hugs and thanks to everyone who answered my questions. You guys are magnificent. 

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

Just finished the first draft of The Owner’s Tale — Moon & Sun 3 on deck.

By Holly Lisle

So. Just now the first draft of The Owners Tale, the LAST episode in Tales from the Longview.

Wrote the final thousand-ish words this morning and part of this afternoon, and for now, at least, I like the ending.

I’ve printed off the manuscript (in 12 point Courier, double-spaced and with large margins, of course) where it will sit on my desk for at least one week to cool off.

I like a lot of stuff when it’s still hot that I can see problems with once it’s cooled off.

After it’s cooled for at least a week, I’ll go in, do a read through and a revision, and then hand off to Matt, who will do my content edit. I want to wow him. He already figured out a part of how it will end (he’s just that good). 

But he doesn’t yet know why. That is where I want to really bring this home.

This is a story I’ve been working towards for a long time, through a lot of books. This is the story I’ve pulled from dark corners and bad spots in my own life, from the lives of family, from the lives of other people who have not always had things easy. It’s not personal, not any sort of roman á clef. 

But through the fiction of the characters, I did manage to hit some things I’ve never been able to work into fiction before.

So here’s the process once I get through the revision.

I hand off to Matt.

Matt points out all the places where I got it wrong, where I missed what I was going for, where I failed to give the characters the proper respect.

I go in and to an editor’s revision.

I ask for a few folks to bug hunt THAT version.

I make corrections from the bug hunt.

I publish the final episode.

And then I start into Moon & Sun 3: The Emerald Sun.


I’m not going to rush through writing the final book in the series. In the episode of Alone in a Room with Invisible People that Rebecca and I taped yesterday (Episode 13: Plotting VS. Pantsing, which will go live TOMORROW — Tuesday, Oct. 16th) I talk a little bit about why. 

I remembered to mention:

  • Currently writing my How to Write a Novel class demo novel, Dead Man’s Party
  • Whiles also writing the first draft of the How to Write a Novel class
  • Brainstorming and doing the weekly podcast with Rebecca
  • Doing the other stuff that has to fit in with these major activities, like spending time with my guys, answering emails, paying bills, talking with folks on the forums, and doing the still-less-frequent-than-I’d-hoped blog posts

But the biggest thing about getting back to the series is this:

I haven’t read the first two books in years, and I have to step back into that world. I’m a visceral writing. I write from inside my characters, doing my best to become them while I’m writing.

So I have reacquaint myself with the nuances of these folks, both good and bad. Walk through the concept map I drew for Book 3. Remember how to step back inside those characters, and become again the girl at the end of childhood who has had the weight of her world land on her shoulders, and who, with a brother she sometimes fights with, friends who aren’t as reliable as one would hope, and a cat who’s lying through his teeth about who he really is, has to save her people from destruction.

If she doesn’t do it, no one will.

I’m hoping to be able to announce the start of the novel around or shortly after Christmas of this year.

I expect that I’ll need about a year to write and revise it. I cannot GUARANTEE that’s what I’ll need, because I’m not just doing one book these days. I’m doing a book, classes, forums, and other things that are possible with the Internet.

Life was simpler in the days of just print publishers and just answering snail mail letters from fans a few times a year.

But cooking on a wood stove and dumping a honey-bucket in the midden downriver from your house were simpler, too. Been there, done that.

Simpler is not always better. Vive la Internet!

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

1021 words on The Owner’s Tale, and Lesson 7 of How to Write Short Stories

By Holly Lisle

I’m writing The Owner’s Tale a little little differently than I usually work.  

I generally just do my first draft from beginning to end, but this time, because of the complexity of this story, I worked out the stages in the life of the Longview’s owner, and am having the owner tell the story of each stage as one short chapter.

When I get this story told, I’ll go through and add in interstitial chapters for Herog and Cady, Melie and Shay, and show these in counterpoint to the story the owner is telling.

I might possibly add in a couple other folks, too, though I have mostly wrapped up the stories of the other people in this series.

But I now have 5,524 words of what I’m planning as a 30,000 word story, and a got 1021 of those words today.

And I like what I got.

So, on to Lesson 7 of How to Write Short Stories, where I’m 2260 word into demonstrating by dissection the process of working huge amounts of time into short stories, and have the stories still hold together. I’m having a lot of fun with this… except for the parts that keep making me cry.

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

Longview #4: Write-in revision completed

By Holly Lisle

I finished up the write-in revision this morning, and while I was at it, completed the story blurb:


When freedom is silenced, how does it speak?

Ex-PHTF slave WE-39R (This Criminal, from Episode 1), renamed Jex, is part of a team the Longview’s Owner has tasked with finding the meaning behind Bashtyk Nokyd’s enigmatic final diagram. Drawing the most undesirable assignment, Jex and an unlikely ally fight their way to pieces of the truth.

Note the new title. I’d written up one hundred possible titles for the episode, and asked several people to select possible winners from among them. Got back the selections, but Matt read the story and all one hundred of my possibles, and he said, “None of those,” and spent a few minutes in silence. After which he said, “Gunslinger Moon.”

And he was right. It’s perfect.

Editor wins when editor is right.

So. This is the story of the team the Owner sets to the task of figuring out what the hell the philosopher meant with that diagram he drew at the dinner table (shown above).

This episode is the quiet before the storm.

The storm comes in Episode 5: The Vipers’ Nest, a BIG chunk of which is already written.

And Episode 6, for which I haven’t even a hint of what the title might be, will conclude the series.

Oh, right. Type-in revision tomorrow! Should be able to have it finished in one day.

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

Finding a surprise in my character: 776 Words

By Holly Lisle

I started off this morning not liking the antagonist in my story very much. Which you sort of expect from most antagonists.

One chance comment in reply to my other character changed my understanding of their relationship, though, and gave me this gorgeous twist that is going to completely alter the ending I’d had planned. I just LOVE the way this is coming together.

By my math, I have about four thousand more words to go to hit the ending. Might run a bit longer, but I’m aiming for 6000 words and right now I’m still on target.

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

I’ve started writing fiction again

By Holly Lisle

little aliensThis is such a delicate thing I’m almost afraid to mention it. But stories started sneaking back into my consciousness after the parathyroid surgery, and lately I’ve been starting each weekday morning writing a few hundred words.

It’s what I can make time for before I start into the still-enormous daily workload of getting the HollysWritingClasses.com site up and running and out of beta.

I’m not doing anything on projects folks know about. Those require research, development, timelines, backstory—infrastructure.

And this feels like a seed sprouting after a long, hard winter. Like, if I don’t step carefully, I could kill it.

So I’m stepping carefully. Right now, I’m just putting together a little story in an interesting new world. I’m aiming for about ten-thousand words.

I have about 1200. It’s science fiction. It has interesting aliens.

It makes me happy.

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

Video & Podcast Test: How To Write Suckitudinous Fiction

By Holly Lisle

I chose one of my funnier articles on writing fiction and turned it into both a video and a podcast. I’m testing new software that I hope to use for a number of different applications, including workshops, and I’d like to know how these two formats work for you.




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

Snippet #2 from Longview 2: The Selling Of Suzee Delight

By Holly Lisle

I was planning on posting a snippet yesterday, but REAL LIFETM intruded, and while I got all my words, I never made it back to the blog. I got all my words again today, so at the the moment, Suzee Delight is sitting at 5888 words out of a planned 20,000. More than 25% done.

Here’s the setup. The famous courtesan Suzee Delight is confessing to five murders before Pact Worlds judges, and both legal and illegal datastreams of her confession are going out into space, jumped through the origami points that connect the worlds of Settled Space to an audience of billions.

Charlie, who is the mandatory Pact Covenant Observer and enforcer of Pact regulations on the treatment of convict on the Longview Death Circus, is watching BOTH streams on side-by-side flat screens (not as cool as holoview, but much more practical for tight spaces). I’m bringing you in mid-interview…


NOTICE: This material is copyrighted, unchecked raw first draft, probably buggy. Please don’t post typos or corrections (I do my edits at the end of the first draft of the project and will not see your comments when I revise). This material may not survive to publication. Do not quote or repost anywhere or in any format. Thanks.


Left-side Suzee said, “I am ashamed of my actions. I betrayed the trust of five men I loved, and used my position of trust to murder them because I envied them their power.”

Right-side Suzee said, “I am not ashamed of my actions. These five men betrayed the people they served and used their positions of trust to attempt to enslave free human beings.”

The cutwork on the official version had been skillfully done. Charlie couldn’t see  or hear the blending between the segments that were actually her words, and those that had been inserted.

Most of Settled Space would see the raw version. Most people living on Pact Worlds would only have access to the official version, which had little enough truth in it.

Left-side Suzee said, “I failed my government, my educators, my selectors, my trainers, my clients, and my profession, which is the highest calling to which any woman can aspire.”

Right-side Suzee said, “I accuse my government, my educators, my selectors, my trainers, and my clients for creating laws that make being a courtesan the highest work to which any woman can aspire.”

“Damned right,” Charlie muttered. Charlie had been lucky enough to be born homely and lacking in any discernible entertainment skills, and also infertile—she had been channeled into a low-level government job from which neither her intelligence nor her competence would ever elevate her. But her other government-designated career track had been D-3 Convenience Prostitute, and only the tremendously high suicide rate in the D-3 Pact Covenant Observer career field had saved her from that fate.

In front of her, left-side Suzee said, “Because I am guilty of five murders of men designated A-1, and because I freely confess that I committed these murders by intent…”

Right-side Suzee also said, “Because I am guilty of five murders of men designated A-1, and because I freely confess that I committed these murders by intent…”

Left-side and right-side Suzees both said, “I waive my right to trial in order to save the Pact Worlds the cost of such trial when the outcome is already certain, and instead elect to sell my death to the highest-bidding Death Circus, where my execution will be streamed for all viewers on all Pact Worlds.”

Charlie didn’t hear Suzee’s final words, however.

She was out the door and shooting herself toward the Longview’s Bridge, screaming “I need to speak to the owner, I need to speak to the owner now!” at the top of her lungs, over and over.

Shay, the owner’s representative, was on the bridge waiting for her when the passenger transport unlocked.

“Suzee Delight is selling herself to the highest-bidding Death Circus now,” Charlie shouted.

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