Elise Walks Through

How To Think Sideways Walkthrough Blog

How To Think Sideways – The Walkthrough

Almost everyone wants to write a novel it seems. The thing is, until you’ve tried it, you have no idea how hard it is. It’s fairly easy to dash off thirty or forty pages of your masterpiece. Then you get stuck. You have no idea where the story goes. Your characters sound like their last acting gig was on a call-in talk show… as the caller. You’ve used every cliche you’ve ever heard. A lot of people give up at this point.

I’m more persistent. I managed to finish a couple of novels and even revised one. Twice. It still wasn’t good enough to see the light of day.

Two years ago I decided to take Holly Lisle’s novel writing class called How To Think Sideways.  I’d heard great things about it and was really hoping that it would solve my novel-writing issues. I probably made it half-way through the lessons, but there were times I just didn’t get the techniques. Holly thinks very differently than I do. Which I guess is the point. And it was too easy, in a self-paced class, to procrastinate on working through the lessons. I kept wishing this were more like a regular class with deadlines and a teacher to guide you through it.

Then, just at the right time, Holly announced that she was finally going to do her promised walkthrough the HTTS lessons. I’ve been working on my second completed novel over the past year and it came to me that my biggest problem is that my protagonist is usually too much like me. She’s wimpy. She doesn’t have a strong motivation for doing what she does other than I want her to do it. There are a series of events, but no driving urgency.

So I sat back and thought a while. I’ve always thought of myself as a mystery writer. Up until recently, that’s all I read. A cozy mystery with an amateur sleuth seemed like something I could handle. The latest one was also Christian fiction, which surprised me. Now, the problem with cozies and Christian fiction is that it’s too easy for the characters to be too nice. Even my murderers wind up being nice, if a bit misguided.

What I needed was a really bad bad guy, a villain deserving of the name, and a larger than life protagonist. I needed stakes at least as big as life and death and maybe as big as the survival of the universe. So I decided to write an epic fantasy.

Just like that.

Except I really don’t read epic fantasy. Oh, sure, I read “Lord of the Rings” when I was young, about mumblety-mumble years ago. I read all the Harry Potter books and loved them. I even recently read “Hunger Games” and was blown away by it.

I have no idea what the conventions of the genre are, I’ve never created a world or developed a magic system or anything like it. But it’s something I want to try. It sounds like fun. A lot of work, but still fun.

So here I am, starting How To Think Sideways over again, this time with lots of extra good stuff supplied by Holly, and ready to create my first fantasy novel with no idea how to get there. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?


May 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment