Questions and Answers Number One — NOW CLOSED

I’ve decided that on occasion I’ll open up a single thread for questions, (and comments, if you’d care to make them.)
Comments are ON intentionally in this thread. When the comments link disappears,that means I’ve closed the thread for questions.

Please use the REPLY button on the top right immediately under this post to ask your question or offer your comment. That will prevent it from being threaded into someone else’s question, and will keep it from getting lost (and ending up unanswered.) Thanks.

Questions and Answers Number One — NOW CLOSED

About Agents
Authored by: TinaK on Saturday, October 23 2004 @ 07:05 PM

Hello Holly!

First off, I’m so very pleased that you’ve started to blog again and that you’ll be having comments every now and again. I’ve greatly enjoyed your work since I’ve discovered it. So I can’t wait to get your newest books, I’ve run out of older material to catch up on!

My question is this – I am, of course, a writer. I am also, of course, a non published writer. What is the best way to go about finding an agent to represent you? I’m praying that I’ll have reason to look for one soon!
Thanks for your time and generosity!


About Agents
Authored by: hollylisle on Monday, October 25 2004 @ 07:39 AM

I have a fair amount of information about agents on the site. About Literary Agents, and About My Agent, How to Query an Agent, and Questions About Literary Agents.
Beyond the advice given there, I’ll note that writing a book that is complete, polished, and strong; having persistence in querying and pursuing leads; and working hard to develop a track record on your own are the three traits most likely to land you a good agent. I’ll also note that getting an agent is hard. It has always been hard.
Good luck in your search.
General Comments
Authored by: Yolanda on Saturday, October 23 2004 @ 05:32 PM

Hi Holly!

Hope you’re having a great weekend.

I don’t have a question. I’d just like to say that I really enjoy reading your blog. It’s very interesting and being a writer myself, I love the behind-the-scenes stuff that you inform us about here.

I’m looking forward to reading MIDNIGHT RAIN and also LAST GIRL DANCING. They both sound intriguing!
Anyway, on a final note I’d just like to mention that I LOVED your book MINERVA WAKES. It was great, and I didn’t get a chance to tell you when I read it. So, I’m letting you know now.

Thanks for all of the wonderful articles that you’ve published on your website for all of us to read. I’ve used the write-in and type-in revision for a lot of my novellas/novels and it really works, helps you get a clearer grasp on what you’ve written.

Have a nive day Holly!

Thanks, Yolanda
Authored by: hollylisle on Monday, October 25 2004 @ 07:24 AM

I’m tickled that you liked MINERVA WAKES. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for that book. And I’m happy to hear you’re looking forward to the new stuff. I hope you enjoy them.

It’s good to hear from you.

Questions and Answers Number One
Authored by: Yolanda on Saturday, October 23 2004 @ 05:33 PM

Oooops, I meant have a NICE day! 🙂

Ten-Page Proposal
Authored by: sophielabloch on Saturday, October 23 2004 @ 03:55 PM

Hi Holly!

Good to see you’re doing well, and writing well. (and Sheila, too–we’re all thinking of her and her loved ones)

Q is…what’s a ten-page proposal? I’ve heard of three chapters and a synopsis package (with what I assume is a short, double-spaced, 2-page synopsis), but not a ten-pager.

Thanks, and thanks for (still! :D) helping out.
S. 🙂

Ten-Page Proposal
Authored by: hollylisle on Monday, October 25 2004 @ 07:00 AM

It’s what you come up with on the fly when your agent tells you your editor wants to see one to sell your next book or books. <g>


I did mine double-spaced with my standard novel layout (sans cover page) and just sketched in the main characters of my story idea plus the story’s primary conflict and what I imagine to be the main treatment of the conclusion. I tried to make it as interesting and zippy to read as I could. It was about two thousand words long.

Geeklog Install
Authored by: shay on Saturday, October 23 2004 @ 11:52 AM

how do u get the geeklog to work on ur site i’ve tried to install it but i got confused and don’t know how it’s done.
if u can provide help it would be appreciated.
-Sally (

Geeklog Install
Authored by: hollylisle on Saturday, October 23 2004 @ 12:04 PM

I got Geeklog working by having my site hosted by . Jatol offers an enormous list of auto-installed scripts, and Geeklog happens to be one of them. I created a directory, clicked a button, and I had a working install. I also recommend Jatol as being the best (and most reasonably-priced) site host on the planet.

Which doesn’t, however, give you anything you can use. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

Write-In vs. Type-In
Authored by: MattScudder on Saturday, October 23 2004 @ 11:34 AM

Hey Holly,

Good to see you out and about on the web again. I’ve always liked reading your take on writing. My question has to do with revisions:

I notice in parts of your ‘blog you talk about the "type-in" revisions as opposed to the "write-in." I was wondering if you could talk more about those two modes of revision? It sounds like during the type-in you’re still doing a good deal of revision that didn’t get done in the write-in–especially adding new material. I’ve tried using your one-pass revision method, but ran into some tangles, and I think a description of what goes on during the write-in as opposed to the type-in might clear up some of those issues for me (i.e. doing major revisions to earlier parts of the book you didn’t know you needed until getting to later parts during the rewrite).
Hope this makes some sense. And thanks a lot for offering to answer questions. You’re still one of the best sources of applicalbe writing advice I know.


Write-In vs. Type-In
Authored by: hollylisle on Saturday, October 23 2004 @ 11:59 AM

Okay. "Write-in" is when I’m sitting at the table with a hard-copy of the manuscript in front of me, my notebook of comments, problems found, themes, goals, etc., on my right, the two piles (clean page and page with corrections) to my left. I’m going through the book one word at a time, checking against my timeline, all my background material, making sure I follow up on threads — basically, all the One-Pass revision stuff.

"Write-in" is a massive pain in the ass.

"Type-in" is where I take the Page With Corrections pile to the computer, and start typing in my corrections. In THEORY, it should be a simple, brainless task. In FACT, however, it’s anything but, because I have three perpetual issues do deal with.

One is that my handwriting goes to shit during the end of a day’s write-in, but I never realize the point where it goes from just bad to unreadable. Thus, during type-in, I’m left pondering words and sentences that look like they were scrawled in ancient Assyrian. I sit there squinting at these penned-in scrawls wondering what the hell a line says, and sometimes I can get it, and sometimes I have to come up with something new.

Two is that I have this procrastination thing going, where, when I can’t think of a word, even in write-in, I’ll put a [TC] mark where the word should go ([TC] meaning "To Come"). The theory behind this is that once I’m at the computer, I’ll have my database available, and will be able to look the missing word up quickly. [TC]’d words aren’t so bad. Far worse, though, is the [TC]’d text block. At the end of a shift when I’m particularly exhausted, I’ve been known to [TC] an entire new scene, on the mad theory that I’ll be more in the mood to deal with this later. As in [TC — Talyn’s POV, conflict with parents that reveals depth of villain’s treachery]. [TC]’d scenes make me wish I had a time machine so that I could go back in time and club my earlier self in the head until I came up with something that worked and wrote it out. But I still do it.

Three is the "You Wrote WHAT?" reaction, where I’m faced with dumb, ugly, or just plain awful solutions to problems, and where, sitting at the computer with the clock running, I have to come up with something on the fly that’s better.
Therefore, "Type-In" is also a massive pain in the ass. It’s just that the problems I face in each are different.

And Hi, Matt
Authored by: hollylisle on Monday, October 25 2004 @ 07:08 AM

Nice to see you around, too.

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