Elise Walks Through

How To Think Sideways Walkthrough Blog

Starting Over With Another Story

Like Holly, I’ve had a change of plans in recent months. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about her decision to self-publish, where I want my writing career to go, and what I think the future holds. I’ve been doing a lot of research on self-publishing, reading blogs on both sides of the issue, and trying to see what makes sense for me.

The more I learn, the more convinced I become that self-publishing is the smart thing to do. Publishing is in turmoil right now. Traditional publishers and agents have little idea of how to deal with the whole explosion in ebooks. It seems to me that they’re trying to find ways to hold onto their turf, keep things working in the way they’ve been working for the last several decades, and trying to make independent authors who self-publish fail. I hardly believe that is going to happen. That train has left the station.

So how do I become a part of this revolution? The answer is to publish my own books. This requires a big learning curve and a lot of confidence. I’m working hard on both right now. I’ve rededicated myself to a writing career of my own making.

One of the secrets to being a successful self-published author is to have a series. Readers like series, particularly mystery readers. Once your target audience finds you, they’ll buy every book in a series.

I originally started participating in this walkthrough because I wanted to finish all the lessons under Holly’s guidance, try to make her techniques work for me. I didn’t want to stick in my same mold. Because she’s a fantasy and science fiction writer, I decided that I’d make it easy on myself by writing a fantasy. It’s not my usual genre, but I had an idea I really liked and felt I could work with. My next book would be a class assignment, developed for the sole purpose of working through the How to Think Sideways walkthrough.

But writing a fantasy, no matter how good the idea is, isn’t making progress on my goal of being a mystery writer. I know the series I want to write. The first book is drafted. I need either some critique partners, trusted readers, or a content editor to help me revise it. While I try to find those, I’m going to start on the second book of the series. I hope to get to having my scenes laid out in Scrivener by November 1st so I can write the first draft of that book during NaNoWriMo.

Last night I started working on my sentence. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m getting close. I’ve started listing titles and character names and have a few key scenes in my head. My goal for this week is to complete four character sheets for this novel. And polish that too-long sentence which, for now, reads:

Faith Andersen, a skeptical Christian, attending a church retreat at an isolated ranch for a weekend of horseback riding, Bible study, and prayer, must use her crime-solving skills when the ranch foreman is murdered and mutilated by a psychopathic killer.


October 4, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Can’t you be both a fantasy and mystery writer? There are no rules in indie publishing. except write and edit the best story you can and let the readers decide. You can also use different names for different genres.

    I have SciFi stories indie published, but I also have a cosy mystery drafted and ready to edit. And if it makes the cut, that is, if I still enjoy it after the edit, I will put it on Smashwords, alongside the SciFi stories.

    Good luck with your writing.

    Comment by Diane J Mills | October 5, 2011 | Reply

    • Of course I (and you) can! That’s one of the advantages of going indie. You don’t have an agent or an editor asking for more of what you did the last time.

      However, I’m thinking in terms of building a readership and would like to have three mysteries published before publishing in another genre. Everything I’ve read indicates that “branding” is just as important for an indie author as a traditionally published author. Even Dean Wesley Smith and Katherine Rusch use different pen names for the different genres they write. It’s probably not necessary at this point in their careers, but they continue to segregate genre by pen name. It’s one way of letting your readers know which kind of book the one they’re looking at is.

      Besides, I really like my series characters. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

      Comment by eliseinaz | October 6, 2011 | Reply

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