amazing stuff


Holly Lisle hasn’t announced it yet (I got a note from her affiliate manager), but she’s closing the How to Think Sideways novel-writing class to new members on October 9th, so she can work on some other projects. She plans to open the class to new members twice a year; the next time will be sometime in 2010.

So if you’ve been thinking about taking the class this is the time to join.

Right now, I’m on lesson 14 (yeah, I’m behind, but it’s okay, since you just pay for the lessons and they’re available for as long as you like), and wow. That’s all I can say about it.

It sort of goes like this: you ever write, going along great, and something weird pops up? That’s your subconscious putting a hint of something about your story that – if you want – might make your story REALLY good. Holly shows you how to use that.

(which of course means I’m now going back through all my stories to put this into practice!)

So go at least take a look.

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How’s everyone doing?

Since April, my sons have started high school band (they integrate the 8th graders in at the end of the year), my daughter has graduated high school, and the house is all in a flurry because she’s getting married next month.

It’s bittersweet to be losing a daughter (yet gaining a son, so to speak), but they seem to love each other, and she’s continuing with her education. So I’m pleased about it.

I’ve been working on the garden (which has really perked up this year), taking care of home and rabbits, driving kids places, and working on the Think Sideways class. I’m a bit behind, but learning A LOT.

Each class builds on the one before it, so it’s a bit difficult to explain, but the homework for this lesson is to split your planned story into scenes then write a one-sentence blurb for each scene. For example, the Council of Elrond in Lord of the Rings could be summed up this way:

The Council of Elrond meets, and after much controversy, appoints Frodo and eight others to go to Mount Doom and destroy the Ring.

As you can imagine, this homework is taking me a while to do. But it’s a great way to get a handle on the book before you write it. I had an idea of where I wanted the story to start then realized that I really needed to start the story a few scenes earlier. Also, doing this has shown me where I need to do research (anyone know how to sail?) and where the logic holes in my plot are. All this before I spend weeks writing this thing.

So I’m very happy about the class.

What have you been up to? Anything good going on the rest of us need to know about?

I just started lesson five on the How to Think Sideways class (lesson six is up but I’ve been slow). This lesson … mind-blowing. If you can imagine tapping into your subconscious for all the things that motivate you, then putting THAT into your writing on a conscious level … it’s incredible.

I have two great ideas for stories from lesson 4, but I’m going with the SF one (any surprise?) because I can do a better job on this without a ton of research — I’ll need some (know someone who curses in Chinese?) but it’s set in Los Angeles and that’s a place I already know.

Click the box at the top of the sidebar on the right there for more information on the course, or you’re welcome to ask about it. I’ve gotten my money’s worth already and I still have the rest of the year to go.

Right now I’m taking Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways class (the 12 month edition, which I recommend if you’re coming off a slump, have a lot of outside work going on, or are in general a busy person, as it’s the same lessons, only once every two weeks instead of once a week), and it has been just what I needed.

The first lesson is deceptively simple: what are four barriers (she says THE four barriers) to success?

At first I thought this was one of those first class ‘gimme’ lessons, but when I really took a look and did the work on it, boy, it kicked my butt.

The thing I like best about this class is that you’re assigned to a workgroup. We’re having some very thought-provoking discussions that are changing the way I look at life in general and writing in particular.

And the second class homework is one of those assignments that is so outright FUN that I look forward to working on the project more. (Yeah, it’s a project, already!) I’m getting excited about writing again.

Anyway, if it sounds interesting go by and check it out here. You can start the series at any time, she just assigns the workgroups as a bunch of people join up.

It’s been a bad winter for me personally, not the worst but not real good. So when my sister sent me this link today it helped. I needed to see this little video and you might too.

Are you going to finish strong?

Congratulations to Barack Obama.

Now any kid really CAN be the President.

Just got done reading Sly Mongoose (which comes out in hardback August 19th), and this is the best one yet.

Set seventy-five years after Ragamuffin, a teenager who supports his family on the planet Chilo by scavenging metal from the toxic surface loses his best friend in a freak accident caused by falling debris. Someone hit the city … from space … and lived!

Who the stranger is, why he’s there, and what he’s running from lead to Tobias Buckell’s wildest SF adventure novel yet, as well as his best-developed characters and plot of the three. If you liked the others, you’ll love this one. He just gets better with every book.

Highly recommended.

They have the novel on preorder at Amazon. For more information, visit Tobias Buckell Online.

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