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Friday by Lisa

As an introduction:

1. I write contemporary YA.
2. But I start grad school in the fall for an MFA in nonfiction.
3. I’m nannying for my nephew, six months old, in the DC area.
4. I thought I liked rain. I don’t.
5. Disneyland gives me migraines.
6. Life motto: I’d rather be at the beach.
7. Sometimes I pretend I’m British when no one is watching and say things like hi-ya and knickers.
8. Oh, and the name is Lisa.
Today I woke with a single thought–writing takes faith. Faith that something will happen when you sit at the computer. Faith that maybe a single word you write will be worth reading later even if it’s only by one person.
I forget this sometimes. I think if brilliant things aren’t already running around my mind then there will be nothing in me when I sit at my laptop.
Take the step of faith wherever you go, whatever clutters your lists with piles to do. Just sit even for a few moments and write something remarkable or rubbish. The thing with faith, you don’t know what’s over the cliff till you step to the edge.

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Three Thing Thursday


Ann Dee and I are teaching together on  Saturday at an event that’s raising money to buy bookshelves for the Rick Walton Library in St George. $99 buys you a small 2.5 hour class with two writing teachers, keynote addresses from Shannon Hale and Ally Condie plus other stuff.

There might be room left, if you are interested.



One thing that I love to do when I’m depressed is to make my characters miserable.

It’s important for characters to be miserable. Their lives should be filled with problems that seem like they can never be fixed. Readers need to be worried, terrified even, that we’re going to kill off (or at least seriously maim) someone they’ve grown to love.
The reason it makes me feel better is that I have the larger perspective. This misery that I’m putting my character through isn’t going to last forever. Maybe there will be some lasting damage, sure. But overall, it’s going to be okay. I know that the cavalry is riding in at breakneck speed. I know the misunderstandings that led to the problem sounding worse than it really is. And most importantly, I know that in the end the character will be at peace. I love my characters more than any reader ever will, and I won’t let them down. I will always make sure they get the ending they were always meant to have, even if it’s not the perfect one that they envisioned.
Doing this soothes me. My life isn’t perfect. Most of the time, it’s a mess. But that’s okay. Because like my characters, I’m not at the end of my story. And I trust that at the end of my story, there will be a resolution. Not a perfect one, to be sure, but a resolution nonetheless.

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15 Minute Monday

We’re talking about my Dragon software.

Recently I came up with several book ideas I wanted to get done quickly. ( I haven’t done any of that writing yet.  Life.)

So I bought one of those Dragon thingies. You know– the thing that listens to your voice and then writes down whatever you’re saying? Rick Walton used one. It was always hilarious to get his emails. I’m not so sure he went back and reread and reread and reread trying to catch mistakes

Good old Rick. (Now I must admit I haven’t gotten the hang of this thing perfectly. I forget, or have not learned yet, commands that will help me. And Dragon did just write brick instead of Rick. So there.) (Also it tears out my hair when I try to take the microphone off. And I don’t have hair to spare.)

Anyway, this Dragon thing. It works pretty well. I like it.

The problem is with me. I’m not used to talking  out my book ideas.

I’d say  6 % of my writing  I do using the Dragon.

Like this post.


That’s my endorsement. The Dragon thing.  Get one if you have carpal tunnel.

(I don’t have carpal tunnel.)

Suggestions for names? I can’t have a Dragon thing and not have a name for it.


Also, yesterday at church, a five-year-old  was asked to identify Peter, James and John  in a poster I held.

“Who is this?” I asked him in front of the entire group of children.

With a huge smile he said, “Penis, James and John.”


Oh, I love kids.

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New Faces

without pictures😉

Okay. We have Lisa Roylance taking over Friday posts

and LoriAnne Spear helping with Three Thing Thursday.


Ya. Hoo!

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Here are some writing exercises:

  1. Write about cheese.
  2. Write about your belly.
  3. Write about the time in third grade you got your heart broken.
  4. Write about airplanes.
  5. Write about the summer.
  6. Write about merry-go-rounds.
  7. Write a new plot for a book in 25 words or less (hate doing this but need to do this)
  8. Write about camping.
  9. Write about your best friend dying even if she isn’t.
  10. Write about mud slides in your backyard.
  11. Write hairy legs.
  12. Write about trucks.
  13. Write about George Washington.
  14. Write about the last time you cried.
  15. Write about the last time you laughed.
  16. Write an ending to a mystery.
  17. Write a beginning to a mystery.
  18. Write about your first favorite book.
  19. Write about melons.
  20. Write about candy.

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Three Things Thursday


I can’t decide if this is Three Thing Thursday or Three Things Thursday.

What do you think?




My latest idea in character development is using the 36 “love questions” to understand my characters better. You may have heard about this experiment in articles such as this one:

Basically, the experiment was to take two strangers and have them ask each other increasingly personal questions, then at the end, have them stare into each other’s eyes for four minutes. The developer believes that by doing this, he can make anyone fall in love.
Now, of course, there isn’t a particularly high marriage rate as a result, but most who participated reported feeling a deep personal connection to the other person. I would guess that this is because we often have superficial relationships and therefore judge each other on easily measurable criteria…looks, charm, wit, etc. But when we learn about the trials and struggles of another person, we realize how similar they are to us.
So, back to our characters. I answered these questions for both of my main characters. And what I discovered was that not only did I grow to love and respect them, but I realized what it was that they loved about each other.




Once in a while, if I’m “down” on myself about writing, I need advice, encouragement and perhaps a good laugh, from other writers. Just in case you need some encouragement, here are wise words from a few writers:
Adele Malott: “Writing is a job as much as an art. It can be a fun job, but if you have chosen writing as a profession, you must work at it by trying to learn something new each day, by attending seminars, by reading good writing, by using what you learn.”
Anne McCaffrey: “I wish someone had told me to stop trying to make myself the heroine of a highly unrealistic and, I’m sure, ridiculous gothic fantasy.”
Barbara Kingsolver: “There is no perfect time to write. There’s only now.”
Thomas F. Monteleone: “Finish every project (even if it’s a dog — perfecting the habit of discipline to complete projects is most important.”
Celeste De Blasis: “Be prepared for the postpartum depression that comes after finishing a book. I’d thought all I wanted to do was complete the story, but when I did, I felt so sad and lost that I thought I was going crazy. Now I understand that it’s just part of the process and is probably as much physical as mental — the letdown after a long period of living on tightly wound nerves and adrenaline.”


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Three Thing Thursday



Nine Things You Could Add to Your Scenes Today

  1. a family joke
  2. the names of your three favorite cousins
  3. your deepest, darkest secret
  4. your favorite song
  5. something you make up from nothing–like your own Proverbs
  6.  make up your own horoscope for you character that she always checks the day after (Ann Dee did this is the book we wrote. She is so danged funny.)
  7. Your own riddles that play toward the plot in some way
  8. I always add a tiny something from my core beliefs. When others, who believe the way I do, read the book, they can wonder about me.
  9. let your character do something you’ve always wanted to do




How To Take a Compliment
We are all “delicate flowers” (as my mother used to say) when it comes to critiques. Some of us get over it. Others give up writing. Some get better. Some get vindictive, lose their perspective and argue rather than critique.
What kind of “delicate flower” are you? Can you take a sincere compliment, without down-grading it to the point that your friend/fellow writer gives up trying to make you understand how good she thinks you are? Do your family members make you cringe if you read something to them?
And how do your characters accept or reject compliments? How do they know which are sincere, which are for nefarious purposes?
I often find when a person has some sense of self-worth, he or she can take a compliment with a simple “Thank you” without belaboring it. Someone who is less sure of himself/herself may react in a negative way, be derisive of the person who made the comment, plunge into depression, or what have you.
Think about this as you give “critiques.” Or get them. Or write a character into your story who needs building up, but gets torn down. How does he or she react?
Think about these things as you give critiques, as you write your characters.  How can you make “compliments” within your story which will wound or heal your characters?
When it comes to writing, I’ve found  the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t even know what I don’t know. There are so many things to think about, so many concepts to combine. We are literally creating worlds. We have to have an understanding of art and science, of human nature and psychology, of politics and government. To create our worlds, we have to know everything about everything. Then we have to communicate that knowledge in the simplest of terms. It has to be done in a way that the reader doesn’t even realize they’re learning it. We need to combine knowledge with storytelling, and weave them flawlessly together.
Sometimes it just seems impossible. The story I have in my head is never the one that makes it onto the paper. In my mind, the characters are living, breathing entities but on paper they become flat. That witty dialogue becomes stale words on a page, the brilliant descriptions are overwrought and unimpressive. Nothing is as it should be.
But I keep at it. Why? Mostly because I don’t have a choice. If I could do anything other than write, I would. If I could get these characters to just SHUT UP in any other method than writing them down, I would. But I can’t. So I continue on, held hostage by the voices in my head.
To be a writer is to be just a little bit crazy. I’m okay with that.

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