I mentioned in an earlier blog post that my entry for Flash Frontier Micromadness accepted for publication. Well, it was published online today 13 June, New Zealand time.
22 Finalists will have their entries published between 1 June 2016 and 22 June 2016, National Flash Fiction Day in New Zealand. The winner of the competition will be announced on 22 June.
I wrote my entry Midnight a week before the 13th anniversary of my son’s death. He is the theme of my short story. His death was so unexpected, so sudden and changed me deeply. A small warning: This story is not for the faint-hearted or those who have suffered recent bereavement. It’s only as years have passed that I can allow myself to express some of these emotions via my writing. If you’ve recently lost someone you love, sometimes it’s best to be kind to your self and not ‘go there.’
My entry is here. If you’re viewing this after 13 June, you’ll need to scroll down to 13 June entry, next to the gorgeous oil painting Owlmoon by Sandra Whyte.
Holly Lisle has limited registration on her writing-career-survival course, HOW TO THINK SIDEWAYS. The course will only be taking new students until Thursday, March 5th, at 11:59PM USA Eastern Time. After that, no new students will be able to join for a year.
I stared writing my first novel in 2009. After a year, it was finished — and as long as two-thirds of Lord of the Rings! I revised for a year and shaved a few thousand words off it, then decided to take Holly Lisle’s novel revision course. Her methodology was great, and helped me to knock about 60,000 further words off my novel.
But while I was on her forums I heard students discussing her HOW TO THINK SIDEWAYS course, and raving about it. Knowing Holly was a teacher with remarkable insight, and because I’d enjoyed her other course so much, I was keen to see how she developed her novels.
This writing course wasn’t what I expected. I thought I’d just learn how to plot better and create a cohesive story. Instead, I used art, diagrams, visualisation, sweet-spot-maps and many other right-brained techniques to develop the themes in my new work before I even started plotting.
I also learned how to query and submit my work to publishers, and how to set up a platform as an author or indie publisher – with step-by-step guides to help me through all the aspects of platform building.
My left-brain was also challenged to analyse many aspects of writing that hadn’t occurred to me. And then there was my favourite type of activity – setting off Muse Bombs – sure sources of inspiration that gave oomph to my writing.
Holly was great at explaining her procedures and giving me new tools to work with. She provides worksheets, videos and chat sessions and continues to add to her courses as she develops new resources. (Once I bought the writing course, more material was added, which has been great.) And Holly has been great at cheering for my successes!
I’m Holly’s affiliate because this course helped me in ways I didn’t expect — as well as providing the basic building blocks of crafting an interesting novel, it provided tools to analyse myself psychologically and determine the most effective way to move my work forward.
While doing one of her ‘quick ten-minute’ exercises, I came up with a new idea for a novel — I’ve since written that novel! Of course Holly also discusses good story beginnings, building characters, dealing with soft middles and how to create endings that sell your next novel. There’s so much content in this course, and Holly outlines it all here.
How To Think Sideways is worth your time. But if you don’t agree, Holly has a GREAT money-back guarantee — you’re not risking anything by taking the course.
Go take a look. You’ll be glad you did.
But hurry. If you miss this, it’s a long wait until next time.
(Remember the course closes on Thursday, March 5th, at 11:59PM USA Eastern Time. After that, you’ll have to wait a year to join.)
Writing a book utilizes many different skills, some from the right hemisphere of your brain and some from the left. Some writers are brilliant at planning their scenes, plotting their stories and editing – all left-brained activities – but may find it hard to find great ideas and craft prose that flows.
Others are great at spontaneously coming up with ideas, and creating fantastic stories and great characters – right brained activities – but never get around to organizing their ideas or editing their first drafts into a decent story. Some are not quite sure how they produced their first book, and would love to produce a second, if only they could figure out how they did it.
How To Think Sideways, by Holly Lisle, is a writing course that maps out the creative (right brained) and logical (left-brained) processes in the creating ideas, planning, writing, editing, querying, publishing and marketing your novel – and establishing a writing platform. How To Think Sideways helps you to harness your writing potential, by teaching you, step by step, how to use both sides of your brain and helping you identify the steps you need to get your work written and published.
How To Think Sideways is only open for a few days then it will be closed for a year! Holly Lisle is giving away bonus one-on-one & group sessions and workshops as prizes for those that participate now.
I did this course a couple of years ago, and as a result, have been involved in publishing successful anthologies and short fiction, writing a junior novel, and writing a new novel that popped up as the result of one of the activities in this course. I’m editing that novel now, using Holly’s great revision techniques.
I’ve learned a lot from Holly. I love the concise and logical way she sets out her lessons and always surprises me with content that I don’t expect. She’s thorough. She’s innovative. She has a great online writers forum, lots of additional bonus content and she’s always celebrating my successes.
How To Think Sideways (HTTS) is only open for the next few days, so hop on over and see what the course is about. Holy has a few surprise tips on her video for those that don’t buy the course – and just reading the lesson outlines will give you a great ideas of what’s in the course. Go for it and have fun. And feel free to contact me via my contact page with any questions.
I have taken many of Holly Lisle’s classes over the past three or four years and have LOVED every one of them. She’s a great teacher, outlining principles in a way that gets me fast results every time. In a few days, Holly will be closing How To Think Sideways, one of her large online courses, for the next year, then only taking registrations for a week each year. To show people how cool her techniques are, you can take her 3 free writing classes right now. But be quick, they’re only open for the next two days.
In her words:
Today, tomorrow, and Thursday (USA time), I’m offering three free writing Mini-Workshops with downloadable PDF worksheets that you can use forever.
These are original, created by me to introduce you to the process of Thinking Sideways.
Today, you’re going to come up with a brand-new story idea you want to write.Tomorrow, you’ll create two great characters who will live in that story.The next day, you’ll write the first scene of a story that will thrill you.
No obligation, no credit card, I don’t even ask for your name. Find out how to set your muse free, and write with joy.
Have a taste of Holly’s work with her mini-classes, just a sample of the great tools she provides in her larger courses. I learn something new every time I revisit one of her lessons – and the first two of these mini-classes have given me fresh insights all over again.
Sign up to Write On!, my writing newsletter, before 10 May and you’ll get
a FREE 3-week FLASH FICTION COURSE by an author who has published over 30 novels and developed a novel writing school.
A discount coupon for any of the short courses on her writing site
Regular newsletters containing writing tips, techniques and recommendations.
You’ll get the Flash Fiction course link, and access to a flash fiction writers’ forum in your first issue of Write On!
Sign up before May 10 to get your discount coupon!!!
Since doing the flash fiction course, my fiction is tighter, shorter, and packs more punch! And this is a free writing course! Yes – free! This course is for novelists too – you’ll create more compelling scenes using these techniques.
Using this free writing course, I created my first humorous story, Dad’s Wisdom, published in Baby Teeth— the winner of the 2014 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Collected Work and currently top of the Goodreads horror list. I created three stories during this 3-week course, and all of them were accepted for publication within a week of finishing the course. More of my stories have since been published! This course works!
Write On! is my newsletter sent a few times a month. I’ll share writing resources, recommend courses to improve your writing, and provide links to interesting articles, useful downloads and writing forums. I’ll also share my experiences, grammar tips, quotes, and what I’m learning on the job.
Sign up using the form on the sidebar to your right. Select “Write On!’ from the drop down menu. When you subscribe to Write On! you’ll also receive updates about my books and stories and your DISCOUNT COUPON for tonnes of great writing courses – world building, creating compelling characters, plotting, creating riveting scenes, motivational training, writing techniques and many more!
When writing fiction, have you ever struggled to make your story feel alive? Have the scenes sat staring at you, flat on the page?
We’ve all been there.
Imagine your stories coming to life and enticing your readers to devour your words with hungry anticipation. Stories that feel so realistic and compelling that you have to turn the page to see what happens next.
The key to compelling stories is building a world and characters that immerse us as readers and draw us in.
I’ve just done a great course that helps to bring fiction to life. A course which focuses on getting your word right, no matter whether you write crime novels, thrillers, science-fiction, contemporary fiction, fantasy or children’s stories.
Holly Lisle, author of over 30 novels and founder of a novel writing school, has just published ‘Create a World Clinic.’ What did I learn from this course?
1.Holly’s clinic showed me how to utilise world building right from my opening sentence.
2. The course demonstrates how to limit your world building to the minimum details essential to your story, while giving the story life and momentum.
3. Create a World Clinic is packed with quick exercises that helped me create new worlds within minutes. Holly calls this SANE world building.
4. But for those really hooked on building elaborate worlds, there is the ‘Geek-Deep’ section of the course—containing videos, maps, timelines and world models Holly has built in Minecraft and other detailed techniques.
5. Oh, and another bonus: this clinic taught me how to dissect worlds and figure out any problems. A project that I was stalled on has suddenly taken on new life because I was able to pinpoint a subtle issue that was killing the story.
And you can get 10% off this clinic and any of Holly’s other short courses until 15 March 2014. How?
Holly has requested that her discount coupon be distributed by email only, and not published on the web. So to get your 10% discount of any of her short courses, sign up to ‘Write On!’ my newsletter—via the box in the right hand sidebar. You‘ll receive an email containing the discount coupon, a free flash fiction course, and weekly issues of ‘Write On!’
(If you’ve already subscribed to ‘Write On!’ you’ll have the discount coupon waiting in your inbox.)
Just enter your email address in the blue box in the right sidebar.
I should also mention that Holly provides a stack of worksheets to help you with world building, and an online forum which you can use to discuss what you’re learning with others.
I know I’m going to use this clinic on my current project and again for future projects and hope you also have fun doing ‘Create A World Clinic.’
My story Dad’s Wisdom was mentioned in a review on in the Baby Teeth anthology recently on The Horror Fiction Review. About my story, the reviewer said, “Other very good stories include “Dad’s Wisdom” by Eileen Miller about a boy taking advice from his dad on what to feed a dragon under his bed;” Short and sweet! Yeah, Miller/Mueller, I get all sorts of spellings! (They got Eileen right, which is a bonus!)
I wrote to Holly Lisle recently, who has been an amazing writing mentor for me. She has published my letter on her How To Think Sideways blog, and you can read it here.
Holly Lisle runs a novel writing school called ‘How To Think Sideways’, which includes a number of free writing courses, as well as larger clinics, workshops and career courses. I’ve done many of them. Her courses are great, she’s a straight-shooter, right to the point, who provides great frameworks for writers, and goes into more depth than I ever thought possible. On her free marketing forum board, UGLY BABY (the name is a long story), Holly offered a free bonus clinic to anyone who got paid over $50 USD for their fiction work. I did. So I qualify for her really cool upcoming Create a World Clinic (my choice.) For the next $250 I earn above and beyond that, I qualify for a free workshop too. Holly gets such a kick out of seeing writers flourish. It’s one of her aims in life to leave a legacy of writers she has taught.
Author-illustrator Ruth Paul taught a children’s picture book workshop at The Children’s Bookshop in Wellington last weekend. I was excited to attend because she’s one of my youngest daughter’s favourite authors and is an inspiring speaker
Ruth entertained over 25 participants with advice about writing, illustrating and publishing picture books in New Zealand and for the international market. Here are some of her tips:
Immerse yourself in current picture books and notice the latest styles, language, themes and content.
Ruth said the biggest rule is: There are NO rules! Someone will have broken all of these rules and been successful! Having said that, Ruth mentioned several ‘NO’s when writing picture books:
NO author intrusion
The images need to do the talking and often tell a second story. If we don’t obey the above rules, the text is not tight enough to sustain children’s interest or doesn’t give the illustrator enough freedom to insert their own sub-story into the pictures.
To rhyme or not to rhyme? Non-rhyming picture books are much easier to write, and to translate for foreign markets. If you insist on rhyming, Ruth gave some great guidelines to follow:
Rhyme needs a strong, consistent structure
Don’t let the rhyme dictate the story
The rhyme must be the servant of the story, a musical tool which enhances the story
Use vocabulary that empowers parents as they read to their children
Only break out of the rhythm if has been established well.
Your nonsense MUST make sense.
I’m not an illustrator, so I can’t wear that hat, but it was interesting to note that Ruth encouraged tight text from writers and loose initial illustrations from artists.
Ruth’s workshop was jam-packed with information, personal anecdotes, and practical advice about how to go about creating a children’s picture book. Both authors and illustrators attended and we had a lot of fun. She gave us homework to hone our editing and story-tightening skills, and handouts that will help us enhance our next picture books. Thumbs up for Ruth Paul – she’s dynamic, vivacious and motivating. I hope those of you that live in Wellington have a chance to attend one of her classes (see below).
Ruth has been writing and illustrating picture books for ten years. Her stories are lively and full of fun. My kids LOVE them. Check out Ruth’s website here.
Thanks to John & Ruth McIntyre of The Children’s Bookshop for creating this opportunity to learn.The writers and artists that attended enjoyed Ruth Paul’s workshop immensely and learned a lot. John and Ruth play a huge role in mentoring local talent. If you’d like to attend their next children’s picture book workshop with Ruth Paul on 13 October 2013, please email firstname.lastname@example.org