Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Holly Lisle Courses Now Open!

I don't write much about the two courses I'm taking from novelist Holly Lisle because, until today, they were closed. But now THEY'RE OPEN!!!

Holly's course "How To Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers" is nothing if not comprehensive. It starts by examining our limiting beliefs as writers and continues through writing a book and on to the marketing phases. This includes how to generate ideas, how to narrow those ideas to the ones that are most marketable, how to outline a book, how to write a book, how to revise a book (it includes a very streamlined version of her other course "How to Revise Your Novel"), and includes how to market a book. At present there are 26 chapters and you can either sign up to receive the lessons weekly or every other week. If you want more information, here's my affiliate link for How To Think Sideways.

Additionally, "How To Revise Your Novel" is opening too. Admission is limited to those people who have a completed first draft of a novel and the class usually fills quickly. It's only offered a few times a year. It runs twenty-one weeks (five months). Although, I warn you, it is taking me much longer to do this thorough of a revision. And that's okay. Many others are moving slowly through it with me. This class is so much more in depth than any work I've done so far, even in MFA school. Craft is the focus, but that's what I needed. If you're interested in getting more information about this course, here's my affiliate link for How to Revise Your Novel.

Please note that these courses assume a lot of responsibility on the part of the student. You are left to do the work on your own. It's like being a "real" writer!!! You get the lessons that she's written based on her many years of novel writing and you get the forums. She has published at least 30 novels - mostly fantasy and romance. While you get minimal direct attention from Holly herself, you get attention from the moderators on the forums who are students Holly has chosen to assist her. And you get the wisdom of all the other writers who are doing the course at the same time. Every question I've had has been answered on the forums. It's sort of like MFA school without the cost and with most folks writing genre novels. There's interesting discussions on and off-topic and helpful feedback on your work and on the lessons. It has been exactly what I needed to continue what I started at Goddard.

If you decide to take either course, I'll see you in the forums.

Regardless, continued good luck with your writing!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

When All Else Fails

"Well, I don't know exactly how it's done. I let it alone a good deal." - Saul Bellow

It happened again this month. I spent two days gathering, organizing, html-ing, and posting events to the website. I updated the mailing list to prune all the spammers and bouncers and that guy named John who keeps signing up six or seven times a month each time using a different fake email address. I'd even finished crafting this month's "Paranoid Ex-Lawyer's Release." This left only one thing to do. The essay. The fun part, right? You'd think so. But this is usually when Miss Muse decides to go on vacation. This month was no different.

So, following Jack London's writing advice, I pulled out my club and prepared to beat Inspiration into submission. I did several rounds of writing practice. I surfed the internet for ideas. I skimmed several books. I whined to my dog and, when he didn't respond, I whined to my husband. And, Ta-Da! I got, you guessed it. Nothing! Zippo. Nada. Zilch. Not so much as a dribble from the rusty faucet of creativity.

It was late and I had no choice. There was nothing left to do but call in the cavalry, the cannons, the stealth fighters. I summoned the only resource that works when all else fails. I went to bed.

Any mother of a three-year-old knows the syndrome. Little Elphaba sits quietly before her Dr. Hammer workbench enthusiastically pounding nails into a board. Mommy thinks, "I'll just give Galinda a call while she's busy." She dials. The phone rings. Before Galinda can answer, tiny Elphaba is at Mommy's side tugging at her capris. "Mommy! Mommy! Come play with me." Fortunately, Her Majesty the Muse is also a three-year-old. If I turn my back on her, she's sure to come.

I don't understand this phenomenon. I'm sure there's some scientific explanation, but in those moments before sleep and in those moments before waking, magical things happen. They also happen on slow walks with the dog and sometimes in the shower, often, unfortunately, when I don't have a pen. But they do happen. I only need to engage the part of my mind that wants so badly to come up with an answer in some other, non-writing activity. I'm reminded of something Natalie Goldberg said often. "Let the world come home to you."

Do you let your writing alone? What you do when all else fails? If you'd like, please leave a comment below.