Tag Archives: holly lisle

Don’t forget! G&L is accepting fiction submissions!

Remember, Goggles & Lace’s second anniversary is coming up!  Anyone interested in submitting some short fiction for the anniversary contest: the submission deadline is April 8th!

Please see this post for more detailed information, and don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions!


Filed under Writing

Big Changes on the Horizon! (an invitation to submit to G&L)

As you know, G&L has been up and down for the last several months.  I’ve been a bad blog-mommy.  But, as I mentioned before, G&L’s 2nd anniversary is coming up in April, and I want you all to be a part of it!

I have some surprises in store for you, and maybe even for me, as I work my way up to April 22nd.  This particular “surprise” though, isn’t going to be much of a surprise, as it requires a bit of forethought.  Ready?  I know you’re ready.

G&L would not have come this far without all of you.  I’m not known for my ability to keep on one thing for any length of time, and if it wasn’t for my readers, G&L would have been one of the many things I would have given up for no apparent reason.  So, for all of you and everyone who promoted the posts here at G&L over the last two years, I want to extend the invitation to enter a small short story contest.

Now, I don’t have the means to pay anyone, keep in mind.  You’d retain all the rights to your work.  This would simply be a means of promoting your writing/blogs/websites through a small short story collection.  (For those of you who have read my collection  Something Peculiar, it would be exactly like that.)

Contest Details:

  • Of the entries, 7 will be chosen to be included in the collection. Submission deadline is April 8, 2012.

  • All submitters that are not chosen will have their names and websites listed on the final page of the ebook and receive a copy of the ebook to use in any promotions they like.  (The object of this ebook is to get our fiction out there, remember.)
  • No corrections or alterations can be made to any entry once its submitted.
  • The ebook will be sent out on April 22, 2012.

Contest Rules:

  • There is no set theme.  The genre must fall in the categories of fantasy, science fiction, or spec fic.  YA or adult fiction are both acceptable.  (Not “adult” fiction, by the way.  Erotica will be discarded.  I have some young readers, and I’d like any submissions to be a strong PG-13 at the worst.)
  • Entries must not exceed 1200 words.
  • If published previously, authors must currently hold the publishing rights to that particular piece of fiction.  I’d rather not get into a copyright battle.  Though, I’d prefer if the entries were not published previously.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Format:*
    • Page Information

      • Margins — 1.5 inches all the way around
      • Font — Courier, Courier New, or other clean monospace serif font from 10-12 pt. (I use 12 pt. Dark Courier.)
      • Line spacing — Double-space
      • Paragraph indent — first line, 5 pt.
      • Header — right justified, contains the following information:Last name/ TITLE/ page#A header does not belong on the title page. Start headers on page two of the actual manuscript. First labeled page number should be 2.
    • Cover page
      • Do not use a cover page with short work, either fiction or non-fiction
    • First page
      • Contact information — Name and address, phone number and e-mail address in the top left corner of the page, single spaced, left-justified
      • Word count — top line, right justified (you’ll have to do this with a table if you’re working with a word processor), either exact count, or rounded to the nearest ten
      • Title — drop down four double-spaced lines, centered
      • by — centered and one double-spaced line beneath the title
      • Name or pen name — centered and one double-spaced line beneath the word by
      • Body of the story or article — drop down two lines and begin.
      • Scene or section breaks — drop down two double-spaced lines, insert and center the # character, drop down two more double-spaced lines, and begin your new scene.
    • Second and subsequent pages
      • Header — should be in the upper right-hand corner of the page, and page number should be 2.
      • Body text — begins on the first line, doublespaced throughout.
  • All files must be in .doc or .odt format.
  • Must be fantasy, science fiction, or speculative fiction.  YA and adult fiction are acceptable.  (Not “adult” fiction.  Erotica will be discarded.  PG-13 rating cap.)
  • All submissions must be sent to gogglesandlace-at-gmail-dot-com with “Anniversary Submission” in the subject field.
  • Judging will begin on April 8, 2012.

Any questions, comments or concerns can be sent to gogglesandlace-at-gmail-dot-com.  Please include “Anniversary Contest Question” in the subject field.  If I missed anything above, please feel free to let me know.  I’ll be happy to make the correction.  =]


*  “Format” section borrowed from Holly Lisle.  If you don’t know of her work, check her out.  She’s amazing.


Filed under Writing

The Economic Value of Writing Original Fiction ~ via Holly Lisle

I had a post planned for today, but I’m saving it for next week.  Let me show you why:

“The Economic Value of Writing Original Fiction” or “a reminder that what you write is never for nothing.”

I urge you to visit that link and read that article.  Not just fiction writers, but creators of all kinds deserve to know that, even if their creations are just a hobby, they’re contributing to their own emotional well-being, as well as the economy and lives of those around them.

What you do matters.  Never forget it.


Filed under Writing Life

Kill the “conflict argument” – Holly Lisle

So, you guys have probably learned my ridiculous love and respect for Holly Lisle by now, I’m sure.  Well, this is her latest e-mail tip.  I thought that my awesome writer friends wouldn’t mind a peek.

Holly’s Tip — Kill the “conflict argument.”

I get some questions in my mailbox that just HAVE to go out to a
wider audience that the person asking them, and this question from
Shanice is a perfect example.  She writes:

Dear Holly,

I am a beginning writer, who on the recommendation of a friend of
mine, subscribed up to your “Holly’s Tip” email… thingy… (Sorry
at the moment I cannot think of a better word than thingy) and I
would like to say that it has helped me so much I cannot begin to
describe it (well I could but it would bore you to death).

However, one problem I continually run into, when writing, is
conflict. I cannot write anything above a minor argument, I just
don’t know how to. I’ve tried looking over conflicts that have
happened in my life, and I’m lucky to say that they have only been
minor, which doesn’t help my writing unfortunately. Whether it be a
fight between two friends, or a fight which leads to a war, I just
cant seem to write what would happen, and if by some chance I do
manage to write a conflict, its so easily resolved it essentially
becomes useless for me to put it in there in the first place. So, I
was wondering, would you be able to gave me a few tips on writing

Yours Sincerely,


The first thing you HAVE to know to write good conflict is that
while arguments and fights are conflict, CONFLICT IS NOT ARGUMENTS.

On a sheet of plain paper, draw a HUGE circle—the biggest you can
put on the page.  It’s okay if it’s lopsided.

Now, somewhere inside the circle, draw a tiny, tiny circle.  TINY.
You can see a little bit of white on the inside of the circle, but
an ant could not turn around in it without crossing outside of it.

Label the big circle CONFLICT.  Label the little circle ARGUMENTS

Arguments are about the worst and least interesting form of
conflict to put into fiction.  They’re rarely relevant, they’re
frequently bitchy, and they almost never move your story forward.

If you’re looking for conflict, you address the following three

POINT ONE: WHAT does my character NEED to do more than
anything else in the world?

This question is the heart of whatever story you’re writing—if it
isn’t the actual summary of your story, you’re either writing about
the wrong character, or you’re telling the wrong story.

(In scenes featuring secondary characters, you ask the same
question, but the need will be different, and generally less
directly connected to your main story).

POINT TWO: WHO OR WHAT stands in the way of your character
RIGHT NOW to prevent him from doing what he NEEDS to do?

You ask THIS question on a scene-by-scene basis, and it will cover
everything from direct attacks by your primary antagonist to the
woman on the subway having a baby to your hero’s bad head cold,
depending on your scene and its circumstances.

POINT THREE: WHY does your reader care?

You can also ask this question as “WHAT are the stakes?” but you
can convince yourself to hang on to a pointless, boring scene with
that question.  From personal experience, I’ve discovered if you
ask why your reader should care, it’s a lot harder to lie to
yourself about needing the scene.


Bob NEEDS to rescue his girlfriend Kate, who has been kidnapped by
a wacko admirer and would-be rival.

Three potential conflicts for the scene:

1) He’s spotted her in a crowd, and is racing to her.  A woman
stops him to ask him the time, delaying his pursuit and causing him
to lose sight of her.


2) He gets the phone call from the kidnapper, and afterwards argues
with his buddy—who was with him during the call—over whether he
should go to the police or not.


3) He’s taking ransom money to a designated drop point when he
realizes that the drop point is a trap and the kidnapper wants to
kill him to get him out of the way.

Take a minute, and write down why you would or wouldn’t use each of
these conflicts.  I’ll wait.   :-)



. . . . These dots are me waiting, and giving you some white space
so you won’t read ahead and see my answers. . .







Conflict #1 just sucks.

It follows the story progression of Bad thing happens/ Character
does something stupid/ Bad thing gets worse BECAUSE character does
something stupid.

You don’t sell a story using stupidity as your plot device.

Your hero sees the love of his life in a crowd, being dragged away
by a lunatic, and he actually allows himself to be stopped for a
pointless question from some equally pointless stranger?

HOW can your reader care about an idiot whose priorities are so
obviously nonexistent?

He can’t, he won’t, and you’ll lose a reader.

Conflict #2 is irrelevant.

It follows the story progression of Bad thing happens/ Character
does nothing/ nothing changes.

Heroes take action.  They do not sit on their butts arguing with
their friends about whether or not they SHOULD take action.

TALKING IS NOT ACTION, no matter how many bull-session yakkers
think that arguing the future of the world over pizza is going to
actually affect the future of the world.

Any argument that does not happen WHILE characters are DOING
something that actually moves the story forward has no place in
your story.

Your reader will watch these two fools sitting on their couch
arguing, and he’ll think, “What’s the kidnapper doing to his victim
while they’re doing nothing?”  And he’ll close your book and go
shoot evil aliens on his X-Box.

Conflict #3 is solid.

It follows the story progression of Bad thing happens/ Character
takes action/ Action takes character deeper into trouble.

Bob does SOMEthing—and it’s something that should fix the
situation, if the kidnapper were an honorable man.

But kidnappers aren’t honorable, and as Bob and his bag of
hard-earned bucks are walking into the dark alley, Bob’s sudden
realization that the kidnapper can have his money AND his life, and
get his girl at the same time, will give your reader something to
care about.

WHAT your character needs.
WHO stands between him and it.
WHY we care.

Write with joy,


P.S. These are conflict’s baby steps, and I cover this material in
much more depth in How To Think Sideways
as well as from a completely different angle in in How To Revise
Your Novel.

But this will get you started, and will keep you from making the
awful “argument as conflict” mistake while you’re writing.

This email is Copyright Holly Lisle. All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any portion of this email is strictly
prohibited without the express written consent of
Holly Lisle.

Get your own copy of this newsletter here:


While doubting that Ms. Lisle will ever read this, I’d like to extend my well-wishes.  She’s been ill, and the doctors don’t know what’s wrong (except that it’s not a brain tumor or an aneurysm), so “Get well soon, Holly!”

I hope you all enjoy the tip.


Filed under Life, Writer's Group, Writing

Write What You DON’T Know!

Back on the third of June, Miss Rosemary posted a blog entry entitled Write What You Know. I’m here, not to counter it exactly, but to expand upon it.   I know, it’s taken me a lifetime getting this posted, but life exploded, and let me tell you… the hunt for the article I got this from was a nightmare.  I give full credit to Ms. Holly Lisle, who has taught me so many things over my years trying to write seriously.  Her site, wisdom, and encouragement has been with me since I was a sophomore in high school, and I appreciate everything that she’s offered the writing community.

Write what you know.  Seriously.  It’s absolutely critical that you draw from your own experience when you’re writing.  It makes your characters, settings, senses, and story so much more believable when there’s a human connection and experience linked to it.  I would never tell anyone to abandon writing what they know.  That would be ignorant and stupid.

What I do want to say is that: what you know is incredibly limited. I don’t care who you are, you can’t possibly know everything to muddle through certain parts of writing.  You don’t have to have been a corrupt general of the US Army to write about a corrupt general of the US Army.  One of the many amazing things I love about writing is that it forces you to learn, to research, to better yourself intellectually to take that leap into believable fiction.

Combine your experiences with research.  If you aren’t willing to research, you’re going to look stupid.  You’ll end up showing a 14th century Scottish Highland woman drinking coffee one morning as she stands looking out of her door.  We don’t want that ridiculosity, do we?

‘Ridiculosity’ is a word.  I penciled it into the dictionary myself.  You’re welcome.

In any case, a writer’s job is not just to write, but to give the reader a sense of reality beyond their own.  (Holly Lisle even suggests reading quantum physics books to build a better system of magic.  I’m not quite so gung-ho, but you get the idea. =P)  Read fiction and non-fiction.  Science, history, and philosophy.  Religion, romance, plays, and poetry.

Read and research so that writing what you don’t know once again falls into the realm of writing what you do know.


Filed under Uncategorized, Writer's Group, Writing