Introducing TalysMana

So I’ve discovered something interesting.

Writing a complex 300,000-word novel while writing a complex, massive novel revision course is turning my brain into mush.

This is not fun. Sort of hurts, actually.

So in the shower this morning, I was kicking around the issue—put the question to myself of how to define the problem, got my definition in about ten seconds. “You have too many critical balls in the air.”

Brainstormed the solution, that took about 20 seconds.

For the duration of writing How To Revise Your Novel, I need something simpler—a single-thread fantasy, something intended to be short (I’m thinking 50,000 words), something lighter, something that isn’t a centuries-spanning epic, and most importantly, something that doesn’t have a huge amount of performance pressure attached.

So THEN I started playing around with what I could do instead for my Write A Book With Me novel.

That took longer.

But by the time I got out of the shower, I had this VERY cool idea. A multimedia collaboration with my daughter. She does handmade jewelry, and she’s really good. And in the shower, I’d had these images of fantasy artifacts and fantasy jewelry with magical properties, and a contemporary crossover story of an artist who discovers that within every human being lies a second world, as real as this one, incredibly beautiful, but deadly dangerous, only reachable by a few.

And I got the title. TalysMana.

So I pitched the idea to my daughter—“you design real pieces of jewelry based on the story I write. I’ll send the story to you a chapter at a time as I write it, when you have a few limited-edition pieces of the jewelry done, you send out the chapter via e-mail with a link to the artifact or jewelry related to that chapter. We’ll both autograph the pieces. When we’re done, I’ll put together a little signed, numbered, limited print edition of the book with all the pieces you created as full-color illustrations, and we’ll both sign that, too.”

She loved it. We’ve never gotten to work together before, and I think this will be a blast. (Plus, she’s the one who has to do all the hard stuff.)

It’ll be fun, it’ll be something special just for the folks who read my weblog and newsletters, and it won’t have the pressure attached to it of me doing something I’m intending for pro publication.

So that’s what I’m doing tonight. Putting together my cluster, calling down lightning, doing my Sentence, doing my Sentences Lite for scenes…

Fun stuff.

Becky and I will get a link put together pretty soon where you can get the chapters as they come out, and buy one of the pieces of her jewelry if something strikes your fancy.

Meanwhile, Dreaming the Dead is on hold for the duration of the writing of How To Revise Your Novel, because having my brain melting out my ears isn’t good for anybody.

Especially not me.

No words that count tonight. But stuff that will lead to words very soon. πŸ˜€

How about you?

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

31 comments… add one
  • Rabia Nov 13, 2009 @ 15:24

    What an awesome idea! I love this kind of outside-the-box thinking. πŸ™‚

  • June Nov 12, 2009 @ 19:13

    I’ve had a headache for 3 days. This is odd for me as I don’t really get migraines, but if that isn’t what this is then I don’t know what to call it. Fortunately, it’s now slowly vanishing.

    So, I didn’t manage any words Tuesday or Wednesday, but I did get 150 words today.

    This is an unusual situation, I have most of this scene written in bits and pieces and now have to figure out how they all go together. It’s a scene where my hero reveals his long range goals and discovers a few magical hints. I think it will be good once I can make the jigsaw puzzle form a single picture.

  • Faith Nov 12, 2009 @ 17:25

    That sounds like a fantastic and incredibly fun idea πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see the story/jewelry as they’re done!!!

    Yesterday I wrote 4,521 words on my NaNo novel (we had a write-in, so I wrote for 3 straight hours)… which was followed by a relapse of a stress-induced tension migraine, the likes of which I haven’t seen for about 2 years. Sigh. Time to de-stress my life… and maybe take a day or two off.

    Maybe I’ll use the rest of today to catch up on my ‘Think Sideways’ lessons πŸ™‚

  • PJ Nov 12, 2009 @ 14:10

    This idea is full of AWESOME! πŸ™‚

    And I agree with red_dot; there’s potential for other things. Even if you could only put out some drawings and patterns – having the chance to make some costumes that resemble those in a movie or book is cool.

    I can’t wait to see the designs … and read the story, too. πŸ˜‰

  • red_dot Nov 12, 2009 @ 12:33

    I saw the post for “Multimedia collaboration” I was expecting video of content for your new book, cartoons, writing excerpts, live video for classes on writing, video on demand. Jewelry….I wasn’t expecting that. Sounds like a good idea if the book has a big enough audience. Why stop at jewelry. As a tolkien fan, we buy jewelry “Evenstar”, swords and would buy clothing if we had more money. My daughter wore the evenstar at her wedding. I don’t know how successful your daughter is with her jewelry business, but as a D & D fan while we are roll playing we sometimes put out some old fake jewelry while we play. I don’t see anyone making midieval replicas that are cheap. Only $500 to $3500 stuff. Market is wide open.

    • Holly Lisle Nov 13, 2009 @ 1:09

      She’s just getting started. πŸ˜€ The pieces are going to be priced quite reasonably.

  • Nancy Nov 12, 2009 @ 11:29

    Holly, you never cease to amaze. Inspired idea! Can’t wait to read the chapter and ogle the jewelry!

  • Lisa R Nov 12, 2009 @ 10:19

    That is an amazing idea. I can’t wait to see the story and jewelry!

    Yesterday I had an awesome day of writing. When I checked my word count, I couldn’t believe it. So, I back tracked and I in fact had written 1896 words. I finished up the chapter for a total of 2270 words for the day. The best part is that I never pushed the words; they just flowed.

  • Debora Nov 12, 2009 @ 9:10

    This does sound fun, Holly! I can’t wait for the first installment.

    I had a very weird writing day yesterday. I thought I’d been wasting time, following various trains of thought to the very end of the internet and back — when suddenly everything coalesced, complete with background music (Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone), and I found myself plunged into the climactic scene of my book. With a cool new twist. Gave me goosebumps.

    I need to get my hands on a copy of The Third Man Factor: Surviving the Impossible. I am as passionate about Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton and the “heroic age of Antarctic exploration” as I am about the civil war and Gettysburg. And to have these two, quite disparate passions unite is a true validation of Holly’s think sideways techniques. Throw in one of my favorite scenes from The Fellowship of the Ring — Frodo battling the Ringwraiths on Weathertop — and I’ve got a third surprising element thrown into the mix.

    Shackleton + Gettysburg + LOTR. (And Yo-Yo Ma, can’t forget him!)

    Scary, but cool!

  • Peggy Nov 12, 2009 @ 8:59

    1378 on DG yesterday, and today between errands and online check-in for our flight tomorrow and checking the weather at our destination and a guest for dinner, I hope to get a scene between the MC and his dead wife.

    Then his girlfriend walks in….

  • EJ Nov 12, 2009 @ 8:59

    How fun! Working with your daughter sounds great. I can’t wait to see Becky’s jewelry. Will any of it be available for Christmas?

    • Holly Lisle Nov 12, 2009 @ 11:57

      I’ve just asked her, she says yes. We’ve already traded back and forth on the description and ideas for the first piece, the one that starts the story.

      πŸ˜€

  • Ieva Nov 12, 2009 @ 8:55

    It sounds like, as you said, fun πŸ™‚

    I’m trudging along with my NaNoWriMo novel (currently at 20K). Too often, I run out of the words and so I don’t show up as regularly as I used to, but WABWM has been most helpful for me during the previous novel. I’m still lurking.

  • Larkk Nov 12, 2009 @ 8:55

    Sounds fun, especially the β€œcalling down lightning” part!

    1685 words that I am absurdly proud of because they actually made a decent transition between two scenes. (And I made the NaNo minimum count) Not great words, but serviceable until editing time.

  • Khena Nov 12, 2009 @ 8:28

    That sounds like great fun, for you and your daughter. Makes me feel a little less guilty for setting aside Dragonfly for a month to start something shorter… =)

    I had to play catch up for my nano, unfortunately, all the progress I made over the weekend to give myself a buffer got eaten up when I didn’t write for 3 days. But, I pushed myself and wrote a little over 3k words to hit 18464 words.

    Rose finally figured out someone is really after her Lord and is going to keep trying to kill him. She also felt something strange inside her unfurl when she just barely stopped her Lord from drinking poisoned wine. Not quite sure what that was all about yet, but she’s been a bit of a surprise the last few days.

  • Gary Townsend Nov 12, 2009 @ 8:23

    That sounds like a very interesting project!

    I got a good start on the short story I mentioned yesterday. Wrote 1253 words. Since I plan for it to be about 7500 words, that means I’m a little less than one-seventh done. My goal is to have the first draft completed by next Wednesday.

  • Sonya Nov 12, 2009 @ 5:39

    Fab idea!

    I wrote 3027 words, which brought my overall NaNo wordcount to just under 30K. I could have written 500 more words, but I knew that those would just be cut again in the revision process and I’m still on the “only words which advance the story” trip.

  • DasteRoad Nov 12, 2009 @ 5:10

    Now that’s some cool idea Holly!

    You know, for some weird reason I always feel a little guilty if I jump from one project to another, mostly because I’ve had a serious problem with actually finishing things in the past. But it’s really exciting to have a fresh start! πŸ™‚

    370 words on the 11th, that got me to the end of the scene: Erthel, my main MC, makes her choice and things don’t really go as expected. My writing got a bit too fuzzy near the end because I was writing late at night and I was dead tired, struggling at some point to keep my eyes open, but I really wanted to put in place my idea for the scene’s ending as long as I had some momentum left. But I don’t mind that: next session I’ll look over the last bit and spice it up as I feel like it before starting the following scene.

    • Holly Lisle Nov 12, 2009 @ 11:56

      When I had a problem finishing things, I felt guilty about stopping in the middle, too. All those thirty-page starts back when I was getting started hung over my head like Damocles’ sword.

      Now I finish most of what I start (and what I don’t finish I have good reasons for not finishing). And I’ve discovered that when I’ve put projects on hold for good reason, and have come back to them and finished them when I was ready.

      For three examples, look at Midnight Rain, The Ruby Key, and Talyn. I know the process works for me, and that if I walk away when I need to, I’ll come back stronger when I’m ready.

      • DasteRoad Nov 12, 2009 @ 14:56

        Glad to know I’m not the only one then πŸ™‚

        I’ve spent the past 10 years or so endlessly fiddling with a huge epic fantasy project I called Infinity. It had many of the problems you often point out: over-the-top worldbuilding (as in: I’ve built tons of things I don’t actually need but feel obligated to use and explain), overgrown cast of characters, endless series, too many ideas crammed in the same place. Last year I decided I’d had enough: I’m letting it rest for a while until I understand what I want to do with it, and in the meantime I’m going to have fun with a much more focused stand-alone project.

        From time to time Infinity still visits me. I know the whole project is wrecked, but I miss the characters, especially my MC which I’ve come to know so well. My muse pings me ideas now and then while I’m working on other stuff, and I let them float. I don’t know what the story or the world will be like, but I know the mistakes I’ve done in the past and I understand *why* I’ve done them. When the moment comes, I want to be ready to make it the best it can be πŸ™‚

  • Greg Nov 12, 2009 @ 4:28

    D&D: 509
    OFL: 1023
    RFW: 1009
    Hoping that a couple of weeks from now I’ll be writing THE END on D&D, but I have the bones of D&DII in place!

  • Teri Nov 12, 2009 @ 4:06

    That’s a great idea. I look forwards to seeing the results.

    I got 2,232 words today, to just bring me up to where I should be on the Nano total.

    The religious demogogue has made an appearance, and Baron Zhaer neatly deflected him before he could make a scene by confronting the Crown Princess, whose succession to the throne the demogogue believes is illegal and impious.

  • Christopher Walker Nov 12, 2009 @ 3:46

    A whopping 3384 words today, pushing my NaNo total to 18650.

    I found another plot twist that I didn’t outline by exploring one of the main characters reflections on recent events, then seeing two characters together who shouldn’t be together. I did NOT see that one coming. At all.

  • The Pencil Neck Nov 12, 2009 @ 2:39

    Very cool idea.

    382 words.

    The Bodyguard continued his chat with a Bad Man about getting safe passage out of the kingdom. There were threats, there were promises, there was a discussion of respect and disprespect, there was a man being slammed through a table, and guns being drawn. But the Bad Man finally smiled and said, “Sure, I’ll get you off this rock.”

    So. Do you trust a Bad Man who smiles at you? Especially in a novel about loyalty.

    This was just finishing the scene from last night. I’m not sure about the fight. Should be a bit tougher.

  • Michelle Nov 12, 2009 @ 1:25

    Wow, what an incredibly cool idea!

    1650 for me tonight.

  • S. Megan Payne Nov 12, 2009 @ 0:52

    Brilliant! I’m so looking forward to this one. Not much writing done, but got an article set up for publication in Skipping Stones. Yay! It’s a kids magazine, so I couldn’t put my website in the bio. Sigh. Oh well. It’s my first MAJOR pub credit. Double yay! In celebration, no writing. (Actually more in I-already-used-up-my-writing-time-taking-care-of-this…)

  • Kao Nevar Nov 11, 2009 @ 22:58

    Got 5,000 words in tonight in a span of about 3 hours (doing NaNoWriMo). Feeling pretty good to have hit the halfway mark.

  • Tori Nov 11, 2009 @ 22:12

    I love it! It sounds like it’ll be loads of fun. I am so amazed by how quickly you come up with ideas that are so amazing!

    Tonight I got about 1700 words done for my Nano Novel. And I am happy with that considering my brain has been like mush the last few days. I am surprised I have gotten anything done.

    • Holly Lisle Nov 11, 2009 @ 22:37

      I think sideways to get ideas. This process, which I’ve used for years, was the birth of the Think Sideways course.

      And congrats on the good word count.

  • Claire Goverts Nov 11, 2009 @ 22:06

    That sounds like a wonderful idea, both the story and the collaboration. Good luck with it πŸ™‚

  • Amy Bryan Nov 11, 2009 @ 22:01

    Love your idea! You are so creative, I always enjoy your novels.

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