Writing this book was definitely a labor of love. It was born from a need to rekindle the joy of writing because at the time I started it, I was almost ready to completely give up. I had hit a really low point. I had five books with a publisher that wasn’t paying me—five GOOD books that deserved a heck of a lot better. I was really disappointed in my sales and I just didn’t know if I wanted to do it anymore. I felt like it wasn’t worth my time because no one was reading what I was putting out. It seemed like a wasted effort.
So I took time off. Four months to be exact. I read lots of craft books. I started writing short stories again. I am also a big supporter of Holly Lisle’s writing classes, so in early 2015 when the email came out she was offering her How to Think Sideways class, I decided that was going to be my last ditch effort to salvage my writing. I’d heard lots of good things about her class. She only offers it once a year, so I knew if I didn’t jump at it, I would have to wait.
The course is self-paced. One of my favorite lessons was where she has you do what she calls a “Sweet Spot Map”—it’s basically mind-mapping. She gives you six different words to start with and then you build off those. It’s a very personal, thought-provoking exercise designed to let your mind work without constraints and discover all the things you like and dislike. Out of that, she shows you how to leverage those repeater words across the six starters to reveal the things that are most intriguing to you and your writer mind.
I loved it.
It was an eye opening experience for me and really pinpointed the things I loved and not just about writing.
All this to say that out of that one exercise I discovered most of the elements in Wizard King. An old steamer trunk, a portal, a wizard. I wrote the first scene of the book and built off that. The more story I wrote, the more I discovered about who the characters really were deep down and what motivated them and the bigger the story got. I built a huge world with endless possibilities for these four main characters. And every day I stepped into that world was a day the real world faded to black. I was there in the story with them.
It was great fun.
Wizard King gave me back my joy of writing. I’m so grateful to Holly Lisle and her writing course for that. I hope you’ll check it out!
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