Well, May is almost over, and one of the things I’m pleased that I tackled, (along with getting ready for Odyssey!) is my ‘How to Think Sideways’ lessons. I’d only just started lesson 1 back in February, never really got back to it through EdMo and Camp Nanowrimo, but I did some gangbuster Thinking Sideways in May!
I’ve even gone through the lesson material… well, maybe not strictly sideways, but I went through and did it my own way, maybe just because I’m too dense to have figured out the right ‘sideways’ path from the start. 🙂 You see, in HTTS Ultra there’s a couple of different elements to each lesson. There’s the lesson itself, in ebook or PDF format, which comes with worksheets to go through the main exercises on. That’s all there was to the old ‘HTTS Direct’ (which has now been discontinued,) which I got for Christmas from my sister and her family.
Since I upgraded to the Ultra course, though, there’s a few other elements to each lesson, like DVD bonus material. First, there’s the walkthrough, which has videos, audio files, and cool graphics; each walkthrough step has a section where Holly shows us what she’s working on with a creative project or two, tying in the same concepts that are in the core lesson, and discussion questions for people who are doing the walkthrough at the same time, and a ‘hotseat’ interview with a student writer who’s volunteered to have Holly help them out with a writing challenge that they face, for the edumacation of us all.
There’s also the Quick Fixes, which are little audio files describing useful techniques and worksheets to use them with, and a few other Ultra video files.
So, I went through the core lessons up to lesson six, where I sortuv ran aground on the ‘Amazon River’ exercise; I understand the description of the technique, but I’m not really sure how to apply it to the stories I’ve been working on this month or anything else I’m doing at the moment. The workgroup forum for Lesson Six had a prominent sticky thread for ‘The Fireside chat’, which was actually part of the lesson through walkthrough, but it took me a lot of exploring in the Ultra classrooms before I found that, and I haven’t actually gotten to it yet. First, I went through all the bonus videos and the Quick Fixes up to #6. Then, I finally found the walkthrough, and I’m still partway through the walkthrough for lesson three. It’s great stuff; I love actually getting to see Holly and hear her voice, after just getting to know her as words on the page in ‘How to Revise your Novel’ and the core HTTS lessons.
I’m not sure how much I’m going to keep tackling HTTS during June. Probably it isn’t wise to put too much time and energy into these lessons while I’m getting ready for Odyssey… but I never said I was wise, did I? 😉 And definitely I’m going to be really busy learning other things about writing once I get to New Hampshire.
I’m definitely going to keep the techniques that I’ve learned from ‘How to Think Sideways’ in mind when it comes to Odyssey, though; especially Calling Down Lightning. That one could certainly come in handy for my Odyssey writing assignments!