Holly Lisle's How To Think Sideways  
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(Last Updated September 8, 2008)

  • What is Thinking Sideways?

    Thinking Sideways is the process of using both your conscious and your subconscious mind to create projects, define problems, build complications, and invent solutions that are uncommon, unexpected, and compelling. It is an eminently practical process--using creativity with intent to produce books with heart for a market without one... without breaking yours.

  • Is this course for new or experienced writers?

    Both. Every lesson has content specifically for beginners, for intermediate writers, and at least one thing that should be surprising and provide a new angle of approach for pros.

  • What will this course teach me?

    You'll learn how to plan a novel, how to think through complications professionally, how to work with editors, publishers, artists and book marketers, how to lay out a career and survive the rough spots, what to look for in beginnings, middles and endings of your projects, and how to get reproducible results--in other words, how to figure out what you've done right in each project and build on that in the next one. On a more esoteric level, you'll learn one new way every week to get your conscious mind to play nicely with your subconscious mind, and vice versa, so that you can reliably produce pages, hit deadlines, and turn in the book your editor was hoping for and that you promised to deliver.

  • Are there any hidden costs to the course?

    Costs beyond the price of the course are very small. You're responsible for notebooks and writing implements. How many of these you'll need is up to you. Everything else you'll need is included in the course.

    I will demonstrate some of the techniques I use on software I've purchased, but you are not required to buy the software, and anything I can do on software, you will be able to do without it.

  • Does my enrollment cover personal coaching?

    Unfortunately, no. I have worked very hard to keep the per-lesson price within reach of just about everyone, and I have made the lessons as comprehensive as possible. You will also be welcome to ask questions about the course, and if they are generally applicable, I will answer them for everyone.

  • Will I have a book completed when I graduate?

    You might. However, the course is designed so you can work at your own pace. There will certainly be students who complete a novel in the six months the course will take, but there will be others who discover they don't have time right then who simply download and collect their lessons to keep for a more opportune moment. And there will be folks who have something come up in the middle of the course, and just save those lessons for later catch-up. The course is designed to work around you.

  • Do I have to commit to the entire 6 months?

    No. You can quit at any time, and receive a pro-rated refund on the lessons you have not yet received. HOWEVER--and this is a big "however"--don't drop out because something came up, planning on rejoining at the same point later.

    • First, there will be prospective students waiting for vacant seats, and once someone quits, I'll open that seat for a student on the waiting list.

    • Second, the course delivery software will not maintain a student's place. If you come back in later, you'll automatically restart with the first lesson.

  • How often will I receive lessons?

    You'll get a new lesson every week. These will be delivered in the secure student area, where you'll login to download them. The lesson itself will usually be about ten pages---my objective is to keep lessons tight and fluff-free and not overwhelming, but sometimes even without fluff I run a bit long. Plus you'll get a technique demo, and an assignment for your project.

    First and last lessons of the month will include extras---a first-of-the-month video, end-of-the-month checklist and end of the month Q&A---and I'll throw in the occasional unannounced bonus when a lesson calls for something extra.

  • Will I have to hand in assignments?

    No. If you join a workgroup and the folks in your workgroup decide you want to do assignments as homework, then you certainly can. I will not be collecting or checking assignments, which would fall into the category of personal coaching.

  • What if I get behind?

    Don't panic. All of the course content will be downloadable, and will remain in your student area permanently. If you miss a lesson, it will be there. If you get busy, just save everything to your How To Think Sideways folder on your hard drive and work on it when you get the chance. Remember, even though the lessons are delivered weekly, absolutely nothing requires you to do one a week.

  • Can I participate in a group, or can I do this on my own?

    Both. After discussion with prospective students, I decided to make both a general discussion board and small private workgroups available to those who want to use them, but I've discovered a significant contingent of prospective students who want to work on their own and avoid the possible distractions of groups. If you are someone who benefits from bouncing ideas off other students, you'll be able to do that. If you need solitude, you can do the entire course without saying a word to anyone.

  • What if I join late to take a vacated seat? Will I have to catch up on everything everyone else has already learned?

    No. Your month starts the day you start, and your first lesson will be immediately available on your student page after you register, even if you get your seat at 2 AM---your time OR mine. If you want to join a workgroup, I'll put you in one with people who also joined late so you won't be left out.

  • When will the course reopen?

    It's completely filled right now. I'm currently considering re-opening the course in a few months---once a month---for one small class--somewhere between 30 and 50 people. The workgroups are working out very well, and I want to continue to have classes who know each other and can network with each other after the course is done. I haven't decided on this yet.

  • How much does the course cost?

    The current price is $47/month for six months, or $25/month for twelve months. The difference between the two courses is that lessons are delivered once every other week in the 12-month course.

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Holly Lisle

Holly Lisle



How To Think SidewaysTM Site and Course Copyright © 2008 by Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved.
c/o Robin Rue, Writers House, 21 W 26th St, New York, NY, 10010