Free Writing Class: Find Your Fiction Mojo

By Holly Lisle

This is one of those classes I built and then forgot I built.

(Yes, there are more of them, and I’ll get them all back up and running over time.)

But today I stubbed my toe on THIS one.

Just click the cover below to go to the sign-up page for the class.

Mojo 300x300

This is a simple email class with some downloadable PDF worksheets — no payment, no classroom, no personal information except the email address you want the class to go to (has to be your address because you’ll have to confirm the email — you can’t have it emailed to anyone else).

This is a quick start for folks who need to find their way to being excited about writing fiction, and loving what they write. If it sounds like something you could use, go here.

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The Wishbone Conspiracy: 2068 words, and I passed the halfway point

By Holly Lisle

This was a good writing day, in spite of the fact that I slept in, AND in spite of the fact that I had a hard time getting started this morning.

Pushups and coffee only go so far. Problem was, I woke up at around four AM, and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I went out to hang out with Matt for a while, played several hours of No Man’s Sky, and then napped for about an hour starting at 8 am.


Got Cady into a desperate situation, in which in spite of having taken every conceivable precaution, she is now disarmed and on her way to a process she knows is one hundred percent certain to kill her. And will have absolutely no opportunity to escape.

And I have just set the stage for the second conspiracy in the novel, the one that is the reason for the current (probably awful) working title.

Which I hinted at earlier, and which is going to have a nifty little twist before I hit my ending.

The Mid-Point Twist (for HTWAN students reading this) was completely unplanned, but it fit within the structure and world I’d built, so it evolved to surprise me. I love when that happens.

Time now to get going on the other work of the day. But small happy dance here, because I am halfway done with this The Wishbone Conspiracy,  and I still love it.

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Mondays… -@*~&#$^

By Holly Lisle

Got my words on Dead Man’s Party — that was the fun, interesting, easy part.

We did a site update over at that was overall just buttery smooth. But I did not have “Test Downloads” in my list of post-update checking, and downloads were not, therefore, tested.

And guess what was broken?

Dan fixed them quickly and beautifully, but in the meantime, between the time we identified the presence of a problem and the time he fixed them,  I stressed out all over the place.

And there was just a ton of not-fun email.

And I’m just now getting to the FUN email, which is folks getting me their answers on my search for the identification of the genre I actually write…

Which is NOT Space Opera.

And while research has turned up some amazing gems, and while I had the coolest idea for the next stuff I want to to write (after I wrap Dead Man’s Party, The Wishbone Conspiracy, and The Emerald Sun), I’m still not even the littlest bit solid on how I can get my existing books re-classified and in front of the readers who will actually like them.

Should be an interesting week. I could totally give Monday Drama a miss, though.

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Dead Man’s Party: Things turn mean on the Caravan road

By Holly Lisle

I haven’t talked a lot about the story of Dead Man’s Party — and twenty chapters in is probably not the time to start giving complex plot hints.

And, really, Dead Man’s Party is a messy, messy first draft, jumping through three broad concepts before finally settling into the fourth, so the revision is going to be MEAN.

But today was an interesting day for me as a writer, because I was writing the protagonist’s true love, who has been having to fight his way through zombies and cannibals to get to her, who is traveling with a caravan of people carrying bits and pieces of valuables and trade goods and people from surviving small town to surviving small town in this post-Apocalyptic world…

And who today got hit on by a girl who (correctly) identified him as a good guy, and who asked him if he needed a wife.

And her actions forced me to dig deeper into the lives of the folks who wait for caravans, who tend caravaners, who live behind walls under regular attack as sitting targets, and made me think about the people  who live in the caravans, and are moving targets without the walls, who get killed and eaten in high numbers.

I was shooting for 1515 words today, and got 1719.

And some good questions that are going to have to become a bigger part of the story in the revision.

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Last 6 hours of my HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL Early-Bird Sale

By Holly Lisle

How To Write A NovelAt the top of this (and every) page on the site, you’ll currently see a little timer.

Today is the last day of my How to Write a Novel Early-Bird Launch, where the price is about 50% off my projected final price once the class is done.

And as I write this, we’re down to the LAST SIX HOURS.

I have not flogged the launch — we’re close to Christmas, I know money is tight for most folks, I know most folks’ thoughts are going in other directions.

But I promised some of my writers who requested it that I’d give them another chance to buy the class for a low price before I passed the halfway mark creating it.

That’s now.

And right now, the class is $57/month for 8 months, or $456 as a single payment.

There are folks who have a dream of writing a novel, but I can say from experience (having shared that dream), that until you decide to do the work, it never stops being a dream.

And if this is a dream you share, my process will help you turn the dream into your reality.

STILL not going to flog the thing… I put up two downloadable lesson samplers that you can get here:


The timer’s going, and once the countdown is done, I will not offer this price again.

Right now, you still have some time, and can look over the first parts of the first fourteen lessons, missing, of course,

  • most of the techniques and demos,
  • all of the worksheets,
  • the class discussions,
  • the assignments,
  • the videos…
  • and the fact that I’m only 15 out of 38 lessons (so far) into creating the class…


So the samplers are pretty thin. But they’ll give you a taste of what this is about.

And you can decide from there.

If this is your dream, though, I hope to see you in class, and help you make it your reality.

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The Titanic of Launches

By Holly Lisle

Yesterday was EPIC…

And by that I mean that it was the worst launch start I’ve ever been through.

Better yet, the wreck was my fault. I had, you see, this wonderful idea. We would have a way for folks in the shop to buy gifts for other writers, and to send those gifts directly — nice little note that the writer included straight to the friend’s email, link in the note to the class the writer bought for the friend, account created automatically for the friend IF the friend didn’t have one…

Neat, right?

And I pushed to have it ready for the launch. So if you wanted to, you’d be able to buy How to Write a Novel for your friend at the awesome Early-Bird price.

And at the last minute, I realized there was no way we could have it ready in time, so Dan shut it down, put us back on the regular launch, and off we went…

We thought.

But I did not give Dan the time he needed to test the launch process, because of that whole LAST MINUTE thing…

“We have a deadline, and we can’t see where we’re going, so let’s just drive faster.”

The captain of the Titanic…

And me.


The class registration page is working now.

Class registration is open. Folks are heading in, getting their first lessons, introducing themselves, starting on their new novel.

I apologize for yesterday’s chaos, and I hope I’ll see you there.

How to Write a Novel

Early-Bird Price, $57/month x 8 months, or $456 single payment

This price will only be available now through next Tuesday, and then never again.

(The count-down timer is up at the top of the page.)

  • The class is self-paced, so you cannot fall behind,
  • includes lessons with step-by-step instructions,
  • worksheets,
  • demonstrations,
  • forum discussions, and
  • answers to your questions from me, moderators, and other students who are doing what you’re doing.

The class is already full of amazing people who are writing their novels.

And you can be one of them, AND get the Early-Bird Bonuses:

  • Weekly “Write-Along-With-Me” demo video of me writing MY class novel live
  • Brainstorm the Class Graduation Bonus (this is a separate small class I make exclusively for the folks who buy HTWAN — it’s not available for separate purchase)
  • Vote on the Class Graduation Bonus you want

You want to write a novel. Start it. Build it. And FINISH it.

You can do this.


P.S. It takes about five minutes from purchase to starting class. If you’re new to my classrooms, don’t skip the instruction video on the course intro page.

How to Write a Novel

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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. All Rights Reserved

The Big Week of Fiction Only includes Getting My Ass Kicked

By Holly Lisle

Vipers' Nest

Vipers’ Nest

Monday morning…

Wild Optimism. Will have Vipers’ Nest done by end of day Tuesday.

Seven hours in, I was only a short way into the new bug-hunter’s sheet I’d started.

Tuesday morning…

Well, I’ll surely at least be finished with this one bug-hunter’s questions by the end of today.

Seven hours later, I’d finished one third of of the SAME bug-hunter’s finds. And that’s working straight through, no food, coffee and water only, two bathroom breaks.

Wednesday morning…

I’m still just one THIRD of the way through the questions I started on Monday from this one particular bug hunter, many of which have resulted in additional detail, and one in an entirely new chapter.

If they weren’t good, thoughtful, necessary questions, the book would be for sale by now.

But it wouldn’t be as good. 


How to Write Short Stories

How to Write Short Stories

I have writers waiting for their revision lesson in the Short Stories class, and until I revise A Few Good Men, and scan all my red-ink manuscript slaughter and filled-in worksheets demonstrating the process of thoughtfully and intently ripping a story to bloody shreds to get a BETTER story, they can’t get their lesson.

So today, Vipers’ Nest goes on the back burner until the revision for A Few Good Men is complete.

Wanna hear something funny?

I think I can get this revised today. You may laugh. Even as I wrote the words, my Muse snorted. The bitch.

At least I’ve already filled in most of my worksheets. 😀

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Readers, Writers, and Affiliates: Meet the Guardian of the World-Rift Forest

By Holly Lisle

My Choose-Your-Own-Adventure email game has gone live!

You can play the game now if you’re already a list member, or restart at ANY time (using your same email) by joining the adventure at the bottom of any page on this site…

Or if you don’t see the Adventure sign-up on your browser, you can join the game HERE.

The game is not a new thing I’ve added to my email list.

It is the list, totally replacing “Welcome to the list, this is how things work, get these emails here, get announcements there.”

Now, you choose the character you want to play as, and you CAREFULLY work your way through the adventure, discovering things that interest to you, and meeting with adventure along the way.

As I have new things for you, I’ll add new sections to the adventure.

But today?

Just have fun.



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Finished the revision of Vipers’ Nest!

By Holly Lisle

It’s done! It feels like I’ve been working on Vipers’ Nest forever.

I can’t believe it, but it’s finally fully and completely revised, and I LOVE the way it came out.

This has been a brutal project, because it hit in the middle of personal chaos, website chaos, GDPR chaos…

And for the longest time, I couldn’t find the ending.

Well, yesterday I suddenly realized what had to happen to get me to the ending, and ripped out one old scene, and wrote one brand new scene today, and nailed it.

It took me four and a half hours from the time I started today until the time I did my many, many back-up saves.

But THIS is the story I wanted to write.

So now there are the following steps I have to get through before the book goes live.

  • Matt has to fit me in between clients for a content edit.
  • I have to revise to his edit.
  • I have to gather up volunteers for a bug hunt.
  • I have to revise to clean up what the bug hunters find
  • I have to build the publishable edition of the book, assign ISBNs, and put it up on all the sites where it’s going.

I’m going wide with this one — publishing it from the very beginning on every site that I can find that will pay me regularly and reliably.

From this point on, I’m eschewing Amazon exclusives. They haven’t done anything for my sales, and they have kept my books off of other platforms. I gave them the best run I could, and I can only conclude that following that path is not in my best interests.

So I have everything working its way out of KDP select, and by the time I have everything done to take Vipers’ Nest live, MOST everything else will be available for distribution elsewhere.

So… Back to work. Still have about a few thousand more words to write of How to Write Short Stories Lesson 4: How to END Short — Landing, Twist, Resolution, and Meaning.

Contents © Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved