Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Writers' Resources #4 - The Bottomless Well at

After a brief hiatus for real life to get back to normal, I am back with your latest writers' resource column :) Sorry for the delay!

As I've said before, there are a ton of websites that offer writing resources. Some, such as, clearly stand out.

Holly Lisle is a prolific writer whose books have been in print for over seventeen years. In an increasingly fractured market where the publishing world seems divided with the NY times best-seller super stars on one side and a million regular authors on the other, somehow Holly has managed to make a living as a mid-list author. That in itself is an accomplishment. Most authors have to keep their day jobs whether they want to or not. However, Holly hasn't just been writing fiction. In between novels she has been diligently at work creating a huge online resource library for writers. boasts acres of articles, workshops, suggestions, tools and general good advice for every writing subject you can imagine. And much of it is free. In addition to the free content, there are courses, how-to books, clinics and factoids that you can purchase without emptying your bank account.

This would be a very long article indeed if I listed all of the content available on Holly's site. Rather than type my little fingers off, however, I'll merely highlight a few of my favorite offerings. When I began work on my current novel I was overwhelmed at trying to build my own fantasy world. The world building articles and question ideas offered on Holly's site proved invaluable.

If you've ever struggled with plot or character, scene structure or creating a believable culture Holly has a workbook for you. For less than the cost of most writing books available today you can purchase an e-book of Holly's "Create A Language Clinic", Plot Clinic, Character Clinic or any of a half-dozen others. I've personally used her language clinic and it was wonderfully helpful in making a consistent and usable language system for my book. One part workbook with exercise sheets and one part writing manual the clinics are very, very useful.

Recently Holly began offering courses taught over the net via email, the web or even video on various subjects. Wildly successful, these courses often fill up quickly and are in high demand. The courses have a fee of course, as you'd expect with any class. If you'd rather not spend the money, perhaps Holly's newsletter might interest you. Sent out weekly, the newsletter contains lots of advice, updates on current resource offerings and a Q&A column that allows subscribers to interact with the author and ask her their writing questions.

One new feature on the site is a series called "The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About ___." Co-produced with other writers and writer hopefuls the articles give insight into various areas and pitfalls. Current offerings include info about horses, guns, the Celts, ballerinas and going missing in America. Full of tips and inside info the articles are short and to the point as well as inexpensive.

Overall, Holly's website is a treasure trove that can be quite overwhelming it has so much content. Go have a look and poke around for a while. I think you'll find a few things of interest and maybe a gem or two.

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