A Personal Experience with “How To Write Short Stories” by Holly Lisle

I know it’s been a grand old long time since I posted anything here, and shame on me for that. However, I just couldn’t pass up this chance to offer my readers something good that has worked for me.

For years I have been taking advantage of the classes offered by Holly Lisle and have really enjoyed her insight and brand of instruction. Without investing in some of her classes, I really doubt I would have finished, let alone published, anything.

Currently, I am taking her class How to Write Short Stories.

“But T. R. Neff has already written and published short stories,” you may be wondering. That’s true enough. But here’s my problem, and it’s one of those addressed in the class: reining it in. I’ve got plenty of ideas floating around in my head, but as I start writing, the story keeps growing, and growing. Then I punish myself because “it’s not complex enough” or “the pieces don’t all fit together now” and the work stagnates, or gets shoved to the back of the hard drive and forgotten. Or, in one case, got shredded in one particular (and hopefully, last) fit of anger and self-denigration over the hopelessness of my work.

Among the other useful exercises (not just theory, that BS like “you’ve got to feel the words, make them come alive” but practical assignments that guide you to actually write) is how to pick ideas that can stay small. Not that they won’t ever become part of something larger, but keeping them small provides another huge benefit, and a concept that Holly goes over in the class: Fail Faster. Smaller, more “accomplishable” story goals allows for the rapid completion of a story that either hits the mark or falls flat. But the story is finished, and you can move on to the next. Writing, practicing the skills, not just languishing on the same piece of writing. And don’t think I am preaching at anyone here like I’m somehow above all that–I’m totally in this category, someone who frets and worries. But that’s been changing, and that’s all for the good.

So if you’re looking for a way to improve (or even begin!) your story-telling skills, I recommend virtually any of the non-fiction by Holly Lisle. There’s even a free class on writing flash fiction that she offers. Right now, however, you can still get her How to Write Short Stories for the discounted price. ‘

I’m not going to drive you to buy anything from me to get this link, since I’m already an affiliate, and I would love if you signed up for my newsletter, but I don’t have time to set anything up and think it’s really important to share this RIGHT NOW before the discounted price is gone and the price increases to the “normal” price forever. So, if you are interested, go now. There’s a timer on there that shows you how long you have left, but Holly herself gave us a warning that the seconds aren’t meshing correctly, so don’t wait until the last minute.

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