May round-up: Thinking Sideways

May 31, 2013

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!


I sold somebody on How To Think Sideways – and bought into it myself

March 15, 2013

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Cheerfully,
Holly

That’s the email that came through around 4 pm this afternoon. If you bought something from my links to the Holly Lisle sale from a few days ago… thanks so much! I hope you get a lot of benefit out of the course. And I’d love to hear from you in the comments (or privately at chriskelworth at gmail dot com if you’d prefer.)

Myself, I’d been wavering up until this morning, but I finally signed up to the How to Think Sideways ‘Bring your own lessons’ plan: This means that it doesn’t include the original 29 lessons, which you can buy a la carte on Holly’s side, or through Amazon or Nook stores through her HTTS Direct program. My sister and her family got me the first 8 HTTS Direct lessons for Christmas. But the ‘Ultra Bring your own lessons’ package includes all the extra stuff beyond the basic lesson handouts – permanent passes to the HTTS student forums, examples of the process from Holly’s own books, audio and video materials, and bonus lessons.

I hadn’t been sure if I needed that, but decided to dive on in. I also scored a bunch of HTTS Direct courses – from nine through twenty-four, which seemed like a good place to stop for today because lesson twenty-five was quick revision stuff, and as you know, I’ve already been through Holly’s big revision course. 😀

So I’ve got lots of course stuff to go through, when I find the time of course. What else? Oh, I’ve officially starting my victory lap for ‘How to Revise Your Novel’ – while “Children” is out with critiquers, I’ve begun going through lesson 1 with “The Angel’s Charlie”, a very different kind of book, but one that I have high hopes for revising.

Lots of cool Holly Lisle-ish stuff goin’ on.


Holly Lisle has an Ultra sale on!

March 12, 2013

Full disclosure: After months and months of raving about Holly Lisle courses here on the blog just because I think they’re amazing, I’ve decided to see if I can actually promote them effectively to my friends and followers. So all the links in this post are tagged with my Holly Lisle affiliate ID: if you follow the links and buy anything from Holly’s site, then she kicks some of the money back to my Paypal account, which I can then spend on my next courses, and so on. Everybody wins. 😉

And the reason I’m bringing this up now is because Holly’s having a big sale. She’s launched a really cool upgrade to her How to Think Sideways course, with one cool bonus lesson already released and dozens more in the pipeline. For three days, she’s offering How to Think Sideways Ultra at the 2011 prices, before raising them to reflect all the new material on Friday. I’ve only gotten partway through lesson 1 of HTTS, but I think it’s really good stuff, and I’m seriously considering upgrading to the full course before this offer runs out. For anybody who’s been considering getting a Holly Lisle course but wasn’t sure, this is a great moment to commit!

What if you sign up and decide the course isn’t for you? Holly guarantees that you can quit at ANY time and receive a full refund of your current lesson and all remaining paid-for lessons. No questions, no hassle.

You have nothing to lose. And even by trying out the course, you’ll learn more about the process of writing- even if it’s just that Holly’s process doesn’t work for you.

Here’s the blurb for the first bonus lesson:
If you’ve ever sat staring at the blinking cursor, trying to find the right, the perfect, the one and only way to start your story (or your chapter, or your day’s writing), trying to will words onto the page…

…Discover the PERMANENT five-minute fix for this problem—the technique Holly uses to get words quickly on days when SHE’S having a hard time getting started.

Five minute fix. Lose the agony.

Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? 😉

 


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