Worldbuilding Is Going Well

I’m getting a lot done, and what I’m getting is good. I’m excited about the stories that are popping up from the worldbuilding, I’m fascinated by the characters I’m meeting, and the quirks of the world are drawing me in and forward.

Here’s the thing, though. If I sell this world and these stories, I’m unlikely to write them under my own name. I’m unlikely to link them to this site, too — they’re a long, long way from anything like what I usually write, and not something that I think most of the readers I’ve won over the past decade and a half would appreciate. I’m editing HAWKSPAR now, and I hope to maintain a long relationship with Tor and continue writing in the world of Korre for years to come. I want to hang onto my long-time readers.

I don’t want to betray their trust.

The world I’m developing at the moment would be for a line of books we’ll politely call ‘sensual.’ I’ve been upfront with sex in just about everything I’ve ever written; TALYN and the recent suspense novels LAST GIRL DANCING and MIDNIGHT RAIN would be good cases in point, but I’ve included sex in everything from my very first fantasy novel, FIRE IN THE MIST, to the WORLD GATES books.

I’ve never written books, however, where the sex was the primary story, and what I insist on thinking of as the real story makes up 50% or less of the book. Some of my work is fairly racy, but I have observed some personally-imposed limits on what I’m willing to include.

From what I understand of this project, however, my editor will be looking for more sex and fewer limits (and consequently, less story, though I do insist on making the real story a critical part of the books if I’m going to do them. I have no interest in stringing sex chapters together with filler — I don’t think this is what’s being asked for, but if it is, I’ll move on.) If I’m mistaken and we’re talking about less sensual, more story-centered books, I’ll do the books under my name and discuss them here. If I’m making the right assumptions, though … well, this is why God invented pseudonyms.

So I might not be posting snippets, or announcing new releases, or titles, or anything else, about these particular books.

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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.

10 comments… add one
  • Zoe Mar 21, 2006 @ 11:09

    *cheers*

  • hollylisle Mar 21, 2006 @ 6:52

    So, good news. My editor wants sensual, but NOT erotica. [sounds of cheering in background]

    This means I’ll be willing to admit I wrote them, which means that if I get the contract, while I’ll still probably do them under another name, I’ll let folks know about them here.

  • Jackie Mar 20, 2006 @ 18:29

    Yes, this is exactly what pseudonyms are for, and I don’t see any reason to hide it. “Holly Lisle writes her sensual books under the name XXX.” Everybody knows it and we have a choice to buy, or not. As for seeing if it sells first… I don’t buy new authors, whereas I buy your books the day they come out. So, if I didn’t know your pseudonym, I wouldn’t buy it.

  • ca.bookwyrm Mar 20, 2006 @ 16:26

    In case you need more votes on the “opt in” idea, you can add mine. I like reading – uh – sensual books, but only by authors who have an actual story involved, too.

  • hollylisle Mar 20, 2006 @ 15:40

    Opt in sounds like a good possibility. I’ll keep it in mind if these things A) go in the direction I think they will, and B) sell.

  • kalbzayn Mar 20, 2006 @ 13:21

    Could you let us opt in? If we specifically ask you could tell us how to find the books? Maybe have a form for us to fill out and get our email address and then email us back with the title, author, or order form link.

  • alisons Mar 20, 2006 @ 13:09

    Personally, I’m very hard to shock, but I find explicit sex boring unless it’s very well written. I know I’m not the only person who feels their eyelids drooping if they spend too much of a book reading about multi-partnered werepeople writhing around in one bed after another, for example. But I, like Tina, read a huge range of genres, many of them with diametrically opposed value systems and moral codes, and if I find an author I like, I’ll read stuff they wrote that I might not read if it had been written by someone else. So my vote, for what it’s worth, would be for having a separate identity but a slender link between them that those who want to can follow, but those who’d rather not, needn’t. Then you could jump-start the new ID with the undeterred fans from the old one, too. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

  • PolarBear Mar 20, 2006 @ 12:43

    Ditto to what Tina says.

  • TinaK Mar 20, 2006 @ 12:32

    I wouldn’t be torn. I’d just be downright frustrated. LOL While I can understand your hesitation I wonder if there is some way to let those who would like to know what these books might be. Of course, if you choose not to I can totally understand and will of course, respect it.

    You’re an incredible writer Holly. And my tastes and interests are wide and varied. From smut to Christian fiction, there is very little that offends me. I’d love to continue to follow your career even if it took you off the familiar beaten path.

  • Zoe Mar 20, 2006 @ 12:02

    Ack! I’m torn. On the one hand, it would be frustrating knowing there are books out there by you hidden away somewhere that we can’t find, because 1) I love your books, and 2) I’m insatiably curious. On the other hand, if they do go in that direction, I probably wouldn’t be interested; sex stuff isn’t my cup of tea.

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