How To Think Sideways: Review of Lesson 3

I’m still working on this course (up to Lesson 12 as of today) and, so far, it’s the best writing course I’ve ever taken.  With one exception (a story idea from Lesson 3), I’ve been using the tools on various projects as needed.  My most recent project was in using her working outline technique to try to get myself back on track with a novel that had, out of necessity, run off the rails.

It was bad.  Thankfully, by using her outline technique, I was able to figure out where I went wrong.  Now, I’m pretty happy with the way the story is going.  I wrote my three pages today and didn’t even notice the time until my timer reminded me.

Anyway, because I’ve been so busy with this course, working on my novel, and writing a short story that came from some of the HTTS exercises, my reading time has been pretty slim.  I started The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons by Katie MacAlister, and it’s okay, but I’m not far enough in to quickly finish it and give a review.  So, I present my thoughts on HTTS Lesson 3.

In this lesson, Holly Lisle explains the method she’s used for generating story ideas, using information from her Sweet Spot Map (see Lesson #2) and what I can only describe as magic (in the best sense). I mean, seriously, I did not expect three full-blown stories to come to mind the same day I followed her instructions. I thought it would take a few days or a week. It’s a powerful feeling when the images come together. I’m hooked.

However, there’s nothing in the actual lesson telling you to print out the worksheets as part of the exercise. As a result, I did it the way she described in her example and had to backtrack to fill out the worksheets later. It was very difficult trying to figure out my process after I’ve already got the story ideas and written them down in my little notebook.

But the process itself is stunning! It really works for me, better than anything I’ve used before. These ideas feel so rich to me, or at least the images do, and it took less time than typing and hoping whatever comes out will be good, or playing around with an outline.

I highly recommend this lesson if you feel your ideas are weak, you have trouble figuring out what to write about, or you feel blah about what’s been making its way on to your computer screen. I think you’ll need to buy Lesson #2 or you’ll be completely lost during part of her instructions, but Lesson #2 is so powerful on its own it’s a good investment.

Link to Review on Amazon

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