Today I found the meaning of something enormous: 888 words today, 5962 total.

Fifth book in the series. The other four are written (but not revised), and I’m almost ten percent of the way through this one…

AND TODAY I found the primary subtheme of the entire five-book arc.

It’s been there all along. It’s been there since the first scene of the first novel in the first draft.

It’s been in every single book.

But TODAY is the first day I saw it — and it took a time-traveling smack on the back of the head from my seventh-grade Ohio History class over at West Branch Junior High back when I was thirteen years old to make me see it.

Parts of what this series and this world I’m building are about have been clear to me from the start. I love Ohio, I have always loved Ohio, and in the forty years I was away from it, I never stopped missing it. This is the dirt I was made of, and the place that made my ancestors even back before this was a state.

That love was, and is, and will be the baseline on which the series is built. Love of a place long-lost, never forgotten, and finally regained.

Not the same when you return as you remembered… because you didn’t see a lot of what was here when you were little.

But some parts of this series have come leaping out at me and grabbed me.

This just slipped up behind me and whispered in my ear… and then chuckled before disappearing back into my subconscious mind.

It’s a huge plot point, so I can’t even hint, dammit.

But it was beautiful to discover what the part of me that works without telling me what’s its doing has been doing while I’ve been writing the parts I DO know about.

I love this job. It’s a nutty, weird job. But I love it.


Get Holly’s Free Fiction Sampler, plus Weekly Fiction Updates, and when these books go on sale, get invited to the launch.

image_pdfDownload as PDFimage_printPrint Page

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


8 comments… add one
  • Bev cobbett Feb 14, 2022 @ 12:16

    I can relate so well to your back-to-your-roots emotional ties, Holly. This post make my heart squeeze.

    My mother separated from my dad and moved us kids back to her home town when I was seven, turning eight. I spent the next six years immersed in the tiny, but rich and robust farming community life surrounded by my maternal grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. I loved my life and planned to put down my own roots there. But on a whim, Mother again packed up the car, dragged me (the youngest and only kid left at home) across two and a half provinces to the wild, densely-forested British Columbia far north—far, far away from my beloved prairie fields.

    Like you, Holly, I never stopped missing it. But too much happened, too much time passed, and there were too many changes in my life to ever go back.

    I think it’s interesting how your book series came from this hidden source within you, unbeknownst to you all this time. How satisfying learning this must feel.

    I’m very new to reading your work but have loved everything I’ve read. I look forward to all your books. I love how you write! It’s now my challenge–my dream–to learn to write like you.

    Thank you, so much, for all that you’ve given to us students, for all the hard work that you’ve done, so that our work is less. I can’t begin to tell you how much I admire your writing.

    • Holly Feb 15, 2022 @ 11:37

      Wow. Thank you so much. I’m delighted you’re enjoying my fiction. And good luck on your own writing. Just from your post, your writing is clear and compelling and your ability to create scenes and convey emotion is very, very good, and not even a little bit overdone.

      From my own experience, there are the places you live. And there is the home in your heart and soul and bones. If you’re lucky, you may eventually get to go back home.

      When they’re the same, some very good things can happen. And even just being able to draw stories from your spiritual home if you can’t live there physically can make your work a daily joy.

      Being here is letting me get small details as well as large ones right. But I got the first book right, and nailed the opening chapters, with a more-than-forty-year gap between my times here. (I was eleven and twelve when I lived in this town the last time. I was fifty-eight or fifty-nine when we moved here.)

      And driving here, I got to experience in real life the scene I’d written months before from memories of that time. And I got it right. I didn’t have to change a word in that part of the revision.

      Use the power of the place you love. It will feed you, and bring you joy. And it will feed your fiction, and make it breathe.

      • Bev Cobbett Feb 15, 2022 @ 11:58

        Thank you, for all of this. It means a lot.

        On another note . . . I don’t know where you’re at with things, but you had been asking for help with proof-reading . . . If you still need help and will direct me, I’d be happy to help out.

        • Holly Feb 15, 2022 @ 12:07

          We can’t do the copyediting, proofing, and link-fixing until we’re on the new site software. Because we’re going to be on a completely different class set-up (same forum), and ALL the class-related links will change. Every single one.

          I can guess what the links will be, but I cannot be absolutely 100% certain those are what the links will be. And there’s no point breaking volunteers by giving them links, getting them started on fixes… and then discovering that I had all the links ALMOST right.

          So no volunteers have done anything yet, and there won’t be anything to do until I’m sure I’m not wasting people’s time and effort.

          Thank you so much for asking.

          • Bev Cobbett Feb 15, 2022 @ 12:40

            I’ll be here if I’m needed.

  • Christine Randall Feb 13, 2022 @ 17:47

    Yayyyy. A real a-ha moment for you then!

    • Holly Feb 14, 2022 @ 9:35

      Oh, MAN. It was huge. And it made the story so much deeper for me personally.

  • dragon Feb 11, 2022 @ 18:50

    That sounds amazing. So much fun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.