To 169 on the write-in of Ohio 2

By Holly Lisle

A lot of stuff is going from this part, to be replaced by some significantly better stuff following a line of thought my editor pointed out to me.

I’m excited by how things started coming together here.

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


Still replotting, still restructuring on Ohio 3

By Holly Lisle

There’s damn little I’m going to be able to save. Ohio 3 is lost in the weeds.

So at this point, I’m barely even looking for things to save. I’m just looking for the story I wanted to tell but didn’t, and if I can use any of what I already wrote, great. If not… well, that’s okay, too. 

This. THIS is what happens when, instead of using my system, I go chasing after that alluring “ooh, awesome” better idea.

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


Good news, BAD news on the Ohio Novels.

By Holly Lisle

Finished up the type-in revision of Ohio 2 yesterday, and I love the book. Printed out the revised manuscript this morning, and have it set up for Matt to edit when he has time.

And then I opened up Ohio 3.

<cue theme from Jaws: beat head repeatedly on desk with vigor and frustration… but in time with the music, because at least I can do this with a little style>

Boy, oh, BOY did I go off in the wrong direction with that novel. I’m torn between:

  • Spending the paper and printer toner to print it out, and trying to revise it into a keepable novel
  • Exporting it as a pdf I can read off of my Kindle, just to get a read-through to see what — if anything — I can salvage
  • Shoving it into the Dead Zone on my hard drive (projects over the years that I’ve killed off for being unworthy, unfun, or just bad…), and writing a new Ohio 3
  • Deleting the thing unread, and doing a brand-new Book 3

Today, however, I’m going to do nothing.

I’m just off the pretty-tough revision of Ohio 2. I have to concede that my objectivity is not at its highest.

Also, I’m kind of queasy, and I don’t think it’s entirely from that first encounter with Book 3.

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


Ohio 2 Revision: To page 398 of 431

By Holly Lisle

Pretty decent day. This part of the book took significant reworking, and I’m betting this is going to be one of the places where my editor finds out I struggled a bit.

But I love what I finally ended up with. 

And I stand a pretty good chance of finishing the revision on Monday. I am, of course, taking the weekend off. Sanity requires down time.

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


Revised Ohio 2 through page 369 — and very happy with my progress.

By Holly Lisle

Today was one of the weirder parts of Book 2, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen it. I was afraid it might not hold up.

But it did. I found myself laughing in the right places, and getting choked up in the right places, and while there were some story issues I had to fix, this section was overall pretty clean.

Tomorrow, I’ll pick up on manuscript page 369 with Chapter 23, and I should be able to finish most of the rest of the write-in revision. If not all of it.

The last page of this manuscript is page 431.

That’s less than a hundred pages of write-in — should be doable if everything else goes smoothly.

It would be pretty cool to have the type-in revision finished this week. I’d then be able to start fresh on the read-through of Book 3 on Monday.

I’ll see how it goes. 

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


Catching up on the updates: Starting at page 291 on the Ohio 2 revision

By Holly Lisle

The last couple days have been hectic, and I’ve managed to miss blogging twice.

But I’ve gotten my revision pages every day. This morning, I’m starting the write-in revision on page 291. The last page in the novel is 431. I won’t get there today, but I’ll make good headway toward getting there, and might be able to wrap up the Book 2 revision tomorrow.

Yesterday’s revision was a lot of fun — I hit a scene I’d forgotten writing, and laughed my ass while working my way through it. My poor main character is under attack by enemies both hidden and right out in the open, and yesterday the bad guys tried to pull a bait-and-switch on her.

This was stuff I’d forgotten having written, so it was all fresh to me, and reading through it, I had a fair amount of stuff to fix.

BUT the scenes I worked on took me by surprise in multiple places, and made me laugh out loud once.

Today I’m onto the next section, and I’m pretty sure stuff gets darker. But when you write in flow — that is, when your brain is making up the story as you go and your fingers are pretty much taking dictation — you don’t labor over words, so when you come back to them, you’re as surprised as readers will be by what happens next.

Therefore… <evil grin> I’m looking forward to discovering what else my writing brain did while I wasn’t looking.

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


74 pages of revision progress on Ohio 2

By Holly Lisle

The words went really well. Don’t know how many I added today — but it was a fair number. And I like what I got.

I’m very grateful I’ve got a weekend starting, though. I’m tired, and I’ll be grateful for two days of when I don’t have to do anything writing-related.

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


OHIO 2 REVISION: Made it to manuscript page 134 of the Ohio 2 type-in.

By Holly Lisle

And in this particular set of chapters, I’ve managed to make myself cry a couple of times.

The fixes in this section have been mostly small (typos, spellos, extra spaces), and the couple of bigger changes let me add a bit more emotion to the terrible thing that my main character is discovering.

It was a very, very good writing day — and I LOVE this world and the bits of story I got to work on today.

But now… forums, and then off to do the Live In The Real World stuff.

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


So today I start the type-in of the Ohio 2 Revision

By Holly Lisle

I was up at six, (when you’re fasting, it’s weirdly easy to roll out of bed at the crack of dawn and be through the shower, done with the first cup of coffee, before seven AM… and at my desk and finished with necessary work emails and the one help desk ticket only I could do not long after that. 

So now I’m on to Ohio Two… The TYPE IN.

I open the manuscript, I drag the big-ass pile of paper over to my right, look at my three big URGENT!!! sticky notes tacked to the right side of my computer screen (the one about Derovi, the one about the absolutely necessary weapons change, and the one about the Hosho) and I get ready to write.

By writing the five novels back-to-back-to-back without going back to re-read the previous books, I’ve done some interesting things.

  • I changed both world and story physics as I got a better feel for how to set hard limitations on the magic
  • I had better ideas that I leapt into the middle of that now must have some antecedents built up front
  • I created some characters at the end who now need to be worked into the beginning (or at least into books two and three)
  • And, working my way through from the beginning now, I did one thing at the end of Book Five that I’m probably going to have to smash with a hammer. Or at least give a MUCH better reason for its existence.

All of this is standard shit for any revision. It’s just that I’ve never revised five novels back to back before with none yet in print (meaning I have the FREEDOM to change stuff at the beginning, and am not stuck with worldbuilding that I regret locking me into story physics that was too unlimited and too open).

The best thing any novelist can do to get good, tight stories is to build good, tight limitations into the worldbuilding. 

If anything can happen, nothing matters.

If just about everything is impossible, you can get your character embedded deeply in the swamp with the quicksand, the alligators, the poisonous snakes, and the half-starved, injured panther with a taste for human flesh, and have helluva lot of fun making your character work for his escape.

THAT’s what I’m doing today. (None of the stuff includes South Florida swamps or wildlife, though. This is all Pure Ohio™.)

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


Character Paranoia, and the State of Revision

By Holly Lisle

I’m past the halfway mark on the read-through-note-taking process on Ohio 2.

I have a lot of the first draft that I’ll be able to use as is.

That’s good. I have written novels where I discovered the first draft was The Story I Don’t Want To Tell (and could still run into that in Books 3, 4, or 5. It happens. Isn’t fun when it does, but at least I know how to fix it.)

About sixty percent of the first draft so far is going to take middling rework (rethinking, taking out wrong directions, adding in the better direction I’ve come up with). About ten percent is just wrong, because what I discovered in books three, four, and five while I wrote them changed some of my understanding of my world.

And there’s one story thread that I discovered while reading that gets expanded, because it’s funny, it’s scary, and I love it like bunnies.

The image is an unrelated keeper quote from the current Chapter 13, which is here because it happens to be on the page I’m starting with this morning.

But about Character Paranoia… (also related to the gray squirrel)…

My MC is suffering a bad case of it right now, because home looks like she remembered, but it doesn’t work like she remembered… and she’s discovering that the stakes attached to the house her grandma left her are a lot higher than… well… than a woman coming home to the small town she loved would hope.

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