Upcoming Stories and Classes #writer #reader

I’ve been nearly invisible here for ages because migraines left me with barely enough energy to keep courses running and get some writing done. But a low-sodium diet is proving to have a 1:1 correlation with the migraines—if I accidentally eat something high in sodium, I pay for it with three days of migraines, starting within 24 hours of whatever I ate.

When I manage to avoid the salt, I feel normal. No vertigo. No icepick migraines. No regular migraines.

So if they aren’t curable, the migraines are starting to look like they’ll at least be controllable.

Second, because for the last three or four weeks I’ve been MOSTLY feeling better (you’d be amazed what has a lot of sodium in it, dammit), I’ve moved most of How To Revise Your Novel to the new platform. This is NOT a course upgrade—it’s the identical course, but once I get it up and running, (I’m looking at June 28th as my target goal for opening on the new site) the student discount on HTTS will come back. It will become available to students once they have completed the first month of HTRYN.

Then I’ll move How To Write A Series over.

I’m nearly finished with Create A World Clinic, too, and I’ll bring that out right before I start doing the How To Write A Series Expansion.

Because of the necessity of doing good, complete demos, and equally because of my desire to do the expansion in a timely fashion, I’m going to put off writing The Emerald Sun: Moon & Sun Book Three until I finish the expansion.

The How To Write A Series Expansion, will, instead, be six linked 10,000-word novelettes set in Settled Space, but with mostly different characters. This way, I’ll be able to demo the complete, start-to-finish arc of a series, and all the details of keeping everything running between crossing storylines involving multiple characters.

After that comes the simultaneous writing of The Emerald Sun and the HTTS Walkthrough Completion.

And then I’m taking a frikkin’ vacation. :mrgreen:

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38 responses to “Upcoming Stories and Classes #writer #reader”

  1. MJ Avatar

    Very interested in the Writing a Series Expansion with linked novelettes. Any idea when it will be available. Thanks!

  2. Jill Avatar

    Hi Holly, I’ve found another avenue of research that may help out with your migraines. I’m suffering with more migraines ever since 40. I think that as we women reduce our estrogen production, we are more sensitive to our mineral deficiencies. Someone told me to try Magnesium for migraines and I found a lot of research connecting magnesium, calcium and sodium levels to migraines. We don’t get as much magnesium these days since most of us drink bottled or filtered water. Hair testing is the best, but I’m too busy and cheap. I’m trying Magnesium spray on my skin (best absorption, no digestion issues) and calcium supplements to see if I get less migraines. Here’s two websites that explain more details:



    I’m an engineer, so I’m into research and sick of migraines lately. I do find that even 25mg of Imitrex does head off my migraine since I do not like using these drugs. Let me know if you try magnesium or do any hair testing. I just started my $10 spray on magnesium this week and happened to look up The Emerald Sun progress since my daughter and I read first two books together and I happen to see that you are suffering like me. I’ve already tried to abstain from bacon (salts) and ice cream and fortunately not triggers. I have had more since my thyroid slowed down too (on meds). Good luck with your migraines! Jill

  3. Silas Avatar

    I’m so glad this is working for you!

    Notes on biochemistry from a scientist-but-not-biologist: sodium exists in a seesaw with potassium. Short version: they need to have the correct ratio, and if you’re having to basically eliminate sodium, then it’s likely that you’re a tad low on potassium. Worth looking into, at any rate – a *lot* of people are a tad low on potassium.

    But you do just get salt-sensitive individuals who eat salt and get blood pressure problems, which can cause migraines (and other mechanisms too…) so it’s not a sure think. Worth a few extra bananas though, maybe.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Or kale and fresh spinach, which are less tasty than bananas, but a lot higher in potassium.

      Am looking into this now. ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks.

  4. Lewinna Avatar

    Just a quick question; do you have any courses specifically for short stories–or can HTTS etc be used for this format as well as novels?

    1. Holly Avatar

      HTTS has been successfully taken by novelists, short-story writers, nonfiction writers, folks working on screenplays or stage plays, journalists, editors, and more.

      You can use my techniques, processes, and system to create any form of fiction, as well as adapt much of it to nonfiction.

      1. Lewinna Avatar

        I suspected so, but you have given me new confidence… I skipped writing a novel last year but I’m going to write one again this year I think. I was just digging back through HTTS and I found the sweet spot maps I made a couple of years ago (or so)… WOW they pack a punch!! Good to great, indeed!

        I was thusly reminded (again after being first reminded thru your new flash fiction course) that your techniques are nothing short of absolutely BRILLIANT. You are a genius! Thank you ever so much for sharing with all of us ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Emma Avatar

    Ms. Lisle,

    I am a fan of your Moon&Sun series, and can’t wait to get my hands on book 3. How close are you to finishing it, and how long will it be?

    Thank you!

    1. Holly Avatar

      I WAS about a third of the way done. At some point, however, about two years ago, I put the file into a location on my hard drive that I then deleted while cleaning out a bunch of trash files.

      So I am back to Page One, Word Zero. That was disheartening. But Iโ€™ll start writing it later this year, in conjunction with a writing course Iโ€™m teaching.

      I hope to have it in print next year.

  6. Kristen Avatar

    I’ve had the same problems with migraines recently, and my mom figured out that I shouldn’t be eating anything with MSG in it, because she has the same problem. My dad can eat that stuff without suffering from anything though. Curse him.

  7. LisaM Avatar

    I’m so glad you found what was triggering the migraines and that you’re feeling much better, Holly. Take good care of yourself.

  8. Amazingrace Avatar

    Migraines are the Devil’s torment. Glad you’ve ID’d the trigger.
    I also am returning to writing after a long struggle.
    Where do I stand – have yet to comlplete HTRYN.
    Am looking forwards to reading your Settled Space stories.

  9. Judy corduan Avatar
    Judy corduan

    I am delighted you found a solution. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies, fresh meat. You’re going to be so healthy ๐Ÿ™‚ .
    All processed food has salt and corn syrup for preservatives. Try to avoid genetically engineered frankenfood. That’s one of my soapbox farmer issues. Just a thought, since sodium is the issue, be wary of water softeners, too. The salt in those made my feet swell. Could potentially effect your inner ear as well. Sneaky salt rabbit. Get the Elmer Fudd gun and shoot it.

  10. Michelle Avatar

    I’m so glad you finally found a way to manage, if not beat, the migraines. Matt and your kids must be relieved too.
    Looking forward to World Clinic and the expanded series stuff. I’m trying to plan an interlinked series myself. Scary how you read my mind sometimes with the timing of your courses!

  11. Mary Pax Avatar

    I’ve been watching sodium for years. It’s amazing how much is in prepared food. Yowza!

    Glad you figured out how to control your migraines and yay on the progress of your work.

  12. Cheryl (Wulfie) Avatar
    Cheryl (Wulfie)

    I’m so sorry to hear about your continued battle with migraines. I’m glad you figured out the salt thing, at least that way you can try to manage them. You do amazing work and an amazing amount of writing and are inspirational, especially considering the headaches (no pun) of site glitches and everything else that goes with the massive amount of material you’ve made available to writers. Thank you. And I wish you success in meeting your stated goals. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thanks, Cheryl.

      Matt gets ALL the credit for figuring out the salt thing, though. I was on my fourth or fifth straight week with the same migraine, and he got on the internet and started digging. Isolated Meniere’s Syndrome as the the the neurologist told us couldn’t be ruled out, figured out that middle ear fluid build-up that cause pain and vertigo might go away if I cut out the salt, and made sure we only had food in the house that I could safely eat. Within three days, the migraine was gone.

      We don’t know I have Meniere’s Syndrome. We know I don’t have brain aneurysms, a brain tumor, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a bunch of other things, but Meniere’s is defined by ruling everything else out.

      Doesn’t much matter what it is. Cutting out the sodium fixes it.

  13. gabby Avatar

    As a thought, I’ve also heard potassium and sodium levels are strongly linked. You might try also focusing on eating high potassigm foods to help combat sodium.

    Anyway, I’m really glad you’re finding something that works and feeling better.

  14. Therese Avatar

    I’m very glad to hear that you’re feeling a bit better!

  15. Cheryl Avatar

    Stay away from monosodium glutamate. Where too much salt might give me a headache, MSG gives me life-sucking migraines. MSG has lots of other names, so look it up on the internet if you don’t know what they are. It’s even included as “natural flavorings.”

  16. SharonW Avatar

    So glad you’re feeling better AND that you have a straightforward (if not easy) way to prevent the headaches! You’ve probably already noticed this, but sodium’s fairly easy to avoid – if you do pretty much all your own cooking. Processed food or restaurant food or takeout food will make you pay. Alas.



    1. Holly Avatar

      Eating fresh fruit helps a lot, too.

  17. Char Avatar

    Food triggers are just awful. I have a garden and I can and freeze. Makes a diff I erence.

    If you’ve been plagued with migraines these past weeks then I must congratulate you on your staff. I enrolled in HTTS Ultra and just couldn’t get into the thing. ‘Your people’ helped me out and I thank you and those invisible people who took my hand and guided me to the right place. I know it was my problem (I’m only one step above taking a sledge hammer to my computer every day because it does’t think the way I do).

    Thanks again.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Char,

      I work THROUGH the migraines. The emails you got from me were from me. No one else EVER answers questions using my name. However, my amazing forum moderators and Margaret, the tech wizard for my site (and now a number of others) also do enormous amounts of work to keep the site and classes going.

      I’m glad we all could help.

      And yes, food triggers are nasty.

  18. CS Willson Avatar
    CS Willson

    I learned a couple of years ago, don’t ask me how, that salt, don’t even give it scientific status by calling it sodium, is the primary ingredient of prepared, packaged, and canned foods.

    If you have to open a can or bag, rinse it before you use it. That helps a lot.

    It’ll be a pain for a week or two, but the the next time (and you may want to avoid my advise for this very reason) you eat at a restaurant you will be appalled at how salty your meal is — even a baked potato.

    My bride and I do Sushi for this very reason.The only salt is what the fish lived in.

    I’m not a radical, but a few weeks without salt, like a few weeks without TV, will change your life.

    But, it won’t make it easier.

  19. AutumnKQ Avatar

    I get migraines whenever I drink soda or eat foods with artificial colors. When I eat a whole foods diet (dairy-free), I get very few migraines. Dr. Fuhrman is all about the low-sodium diet… maybe he’s got it figured out. I can’t stick to a vegan diet, though.

  20. AutumnKQ Avatar

    I’m so excited about the novelettes!

  21. Morgyn Avatar

    Holly, I’ve looked at this course for some time now.

    I sent an email, then just got this post, suggesting I use this venue instead.


    If I saw what I think I would in the first class, would you ship the revision course a month “on demand?” Not the weekly thing? I’m swapping between two wip revisions and if am going to do this, need to be able to move at my speed.

    I worked through your first page wb and really liked it.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Email sent to you.

    2. Holly Avatar

      General response to the question above.

      Unless you are a pro with a contract on a deadline who has discovered yourself with a broken book, I will not offer the course in any form other than the weekly lessons.

      The first lesson alone takes the vast majority of students with longer stories (more than about 60,000 words), more than a week, and those who have written books in in the 200,000+ range have needed as much as six months.

      This is the toughest, most rigorous, most mentally demanding course I offer.

      1. Jean Avatar

        It is tough, rigorous, and demanding, but participants can ALWAYS complete at their own pace. I’m in the inaugural version of the course (almost three years now?) and have not finished yet, but I highly recommend it.

        1. Holly Avatar

          You’re making progress. And I’m looking forward to the finished book.

  22. Yog-Sothoth Avatar

    Is it sodium specifically, salt generally, or something like MSG that’s the trigger? If you take an unsalted food (like, say, home-made mashed potatoes) and put salt on it, does that trigger problems?

    1. Holly Avatar

      It’s sodium. Which means I’m now drinking only water, eating no packaged foods, and that we’ve stopped almost entirely going to restaurants.

      I have fresh fruit in the morning, fresh fruit at lunch, and generally some form of pasta with fresh sauce, or meat and a fresh vegetable, at night.

      Holidays with family have become…complex.

      And in spite of liking salt even more than I like chocolate (which is saying a lot) I am no longer using the salt shaker. At all.

      1. penny Avatar

        I guess at this point you have to stay rigorous with not using any form of it? Like sea salt? i hope you’re better very soon.

        I’m looking forward to your create a world clinic with great excitement!

    2. Wendy Avatar

      while it’s obvious you’ve narrowed down sodium as the culprit, you might also consider looking into MSG – it’s rarely labeled on processed food items because it can be finagled in under “natural flavor,” “seasoning,” “natural spice,” and “yeast extract.” Apparently it’s something that is produced under certain methods of heating proteins as well AND it’s exuded in packaging such as coated metal cans. There’s interesting research by a biochemist named Katherine Reid who found it positively correlated with her daughter’s autism symptoms – removal from her diet allowed her daughter to reach age-level competence in nearly all ways.

      Obviously a migraine is a different creature and it sounds like you’ve gotten your list of acceptable foods in order but I just wanted to point out that MSG might be a contributing factor (given that it IS a sodium) if it’s in things you don’t suspect it being in that seem to inexplicably trigger a migraine.

      I know, unsolicited advice…

      anyway, while I’m looking forward to the upcoming results of your finding the New Super-Holly under ten tons of headache, I can only imagine how ecstatic YOU are!

      1. Wendy Avatar

        oh, if anyone else is interested, here’s an article from the Santa Cruz local paper about Reid’s findings: http://www.santacruz.com/news/2013/03/06/biochemist_pushes_for_new_approach_to_autism – and if it needs to be said, I have no attachment to this viewpoint and am not trying to “sell it” …

      2. Holly Avatar

        I’ve diverted completely around that by not eating processed foods.

        And I feel human again. Elated pretty well defines it.

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