Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Present tense equals walls or freedom?

A lot has been said recently about the lack of correctness or lack of natural feel with a novel written in the present tense. What if a book written in past tense feels false for the very tense that's being acclaimed as right and best?

There are many writers turning to the present tense, especially in young adult novels. Is it a trend or a desire to stay in the "now"?

For me, writing in the present tense if done right, will leave readers feeling like they are reading the messiness of a possible real life. Much like reality t.v. shows that rope people in, it's real and it can get messy.

And it's current.

In the past tense, an author is  telling the reader, "I shaped this story, I wrote this." In the present tense, there seemingly isn't an author, just a point-of-view character. This character makes mistakes in his or her summation of events sometimes. Sometimes those mistakes are very clear to the reader and sometimes they aren't. But in the character' actions in a present tense novel, the reader traverses this life. In a past tense novel, the reader is told about this life.

Much like reality t.v., in a present tense novel, the watcher sees the action as it's going down. Whereas in a constructed television show, the watcher is conscious these series of events are shaped, edited and portrayed by actors. And none of it's real.

Of course, many believe (including me) that reality t.v. is just as constructed, however, to the regular watcher tuning in, they don't believe it. Or else they don't care because it feels real. After all  it is real. Snooki does get drunk; Brad does actually have a huge fight with Jennifer. And in present tense books, the characters are fighting, eating, barfing--right then and there. There's no waiting, there's no being told about it after the fact.

I think a present tense novel allows readers to feel like they are living this moment in life with the narrator, or even fall into the story so thoroughly they feel they are living these moments themselves. It's current. And even re-reading, it's still current--it's still there. It's not over.
I wish there were studies done on how often people put a present tense novel down vs. past tense novel (or would a study like that even be possible?). In my opinion, more people would continue on reading a present tense book without pausing because they have the uncomfortable feeling it would continue on without them. They might miss something with the story that they are in. But in a past tense novel, there's always that division, that line - "I am being told a story. I can take a walk then pick this back up when I come back."

This is just my opinion. What do you think?

Some say present tense writers are following a trend. What about the story with a girl who dies at the end of the story? This story almost has to be written in the present tense. She's not around afterward to tell the story, so factually, this story has to be told in the present tense or else in third person (which I desire to do less than write in past tense). Trend here, no, just a desire to keep the writing correct in that she couldn't be retelling this story from the grave...unless she's a vampire.

I have no problem with past tense writers, either, and I don't automatically endorse present tense writers.
I'd merely like to open up the conversation...and maybe even take up for us writers who've delved into present tense works. There's been a lot of negative talk about writing in the present tense. Maybe I'd just like to balance that out. And clear the air about it too as there is plenty of incorrect information out there about it.

A popular fallacy with present tense novels is that they have to be told in a linear, non-breaking fashion. No, they don't. A reader can be dropped into a scene that's halfway over in order to view the important things. Days can be skipped, weeks even, just like in a past tense novel. No boring small talk just because we all know that would happen in real life. We just skip it and cut right to the stuff the moves the plot forward, just like any other narrative.

With that said, my favorite novels are written in past tense because my favorites are classics--it has nothing to do with the tense. I think I might like DAVID COPPERFIELD in spite of its tense now, not because of it.

Books written in past tense used to be easier for me to read. But now that I've gotten used to present tense books, it's not as fun or in the moment to read a past tense book. Many people just don't like present tense because it's different. Change is bad...right? I once had someone tell me she'd only read first person, past tense. I thought that was a good way to close yourself off to many good books, but we all have our preferences. What's yours? Past or present tense? First, second, or third POV? Have you ever read a book written in second person?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another year older… Another year wiser

October has always been my favorite month of the year because it is rockin’ with fun stuff to do. There’s football, oysters, fall festivals, Halloween parties, scary movies, scary pranks and haunted houses. And when I moved to Alabama I was introduced to even more fun things - the Peanut Festival, Harvest Day Festival and all kind of other events held in the month because the weather is just better.
But even though all of these events are great, they can’t surpass a very important day in my life - my birthday!Yes, your beloved newspaper editor and author will turn thirty-seven tomorrow, and I am not afraid to admit it.
As a little girl I never understood the propensity for adults to dread their birthday coming. Now I understand it but, nevertheless, disagree with it. I understand you don’t want to get older. I’m sure you've heard the saying "Want in one hand and…” AA members have a more polite way of saying the same thing, “God give me the strength to accept that which I cannot change…” My point is your birthday is going to come no matter how much you wish it away, so find the good in it.
I have compiled a list below of reasons to enjoy your birthday no matter how old you are turning. Hopefully this will make that inevitable turning of age just a little bit easier to swallow.
1. You are a year wiser now. You've made mistakes and watched others make them. Hopefully you've learned from them and are that much wiser for it. Also, eventually you will be out of mistakes. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.
2. Reverse psychology. Everyone else is overjoyed that it’s your birthday and loves to make fun. If you act happy about it, people don’t have as much fun giving you a hard time. It’s like pretending you aren't ticklish so someone will quit tickling you.
3. It is actually the day of your birth. Aren't you happy your parents had the forethought to bring you into this world? Of course you are and so are your friends and family. And for the people belonging to the "oops" category, and this includes me, your parents were still just as happy to see your screaming, red face on delivery day. So get happy about it too.
4. And my fourth and final thought about celebrating your birthday - enjoy it, rejoice in it, revel in it. You do realize what the alternative is….

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Some of my best memories are from home. And what I call home is not the house my parents purchased: not a home I lived in while I was in my teens; nor was it my great-aunt’s home where many of my life's problems and goals were discussed. Home was Granny's house and all the little pleasurable things that surrounded it.
The history of Granny’s home in Florida is admirable.
My grandmother and grandfather married young and did not have very much money. But they worked hard and soon built a home by themselves (with the exception of a few relatives). I am not sure which came first, the house or children, but they had one girl and two boys.
They added on to the home when they adopted the four children belonging to my grandmother’s sister—she had passed away. I believe the youngest of those children was about five.
So, with all of the responsibility she already had and the new ones acquired, my grandmother was still able to create the fondest memories for them and their children. The nature of her personality took care of almost everything. Mother Nature took care of the rest.
Let us go back in time to the smells. A smell bordering on bad comes from the back room. It is the yeast coming from rising dough. She is making homemade cinnamon buns, yes buns since they’re too big to call rolls. They are as big as two of my seven-year-old fists. Then she bakes them and prepares the icing. The aroma of cinnamon and vanilla pervade the furthermost corner of the house and my mind. I can’t think of anything else but those sweet, gooey pastries.
“Are they done yet, Granny?” I ask for the fifth time.
Then there are the mental pictures stored away. Crepe myrtle trees cradle the driveway like the precious path that it is. The nurturing arms are blooming the sweetest pink petal that float to the drive like a dream. The trees blossom often but they seem prettier every year. This is so lovely my eight-ear-old mind can’t understand why this picture isn’t on everyone’s walls.
Sounds. Can I describe the sounds well enough to convey how special they were? Every Sunday the whole bunch got together and had lunch. It was such fantastic chaos. Her seven children along with their children came together for a day of food, play-time and catching up on each other’s lives.
“Melanie, I’m going get after you if you slam that door again,” Aunt Sara says.
“That wasn’t me; it was Sally.”
“Are you watching her out there?” Aunt Terry asks.
“Yes ma’am."
“Debra, did you boil the potatoes?” Granny asks. “You know what happened last time.”
Everyone laughs. One day our potato salad was made with raw cubed potatoes. It was a case of too many cooks. No one turned the burner on, but each one thought the other turned it off.
“Yes,” Aunt Debra says. “But I have a new recipe I want to try.”
“Remember to keep some out for me before you add relish,” my mother says.
“Amy, go out the back door – you’re letting the cold air out.”
“Yes ma’am,” Amy replies.
I start follow Amy out. Melanie, Amy and I are going to make sand castles.
“Lisa, you haven't given me a hug yet,” Granny says.
This episode leads me to the feelings part. My grandmother has mentioned a hug three or four times since I've been here. I am ten now and feel too old for hugs, but I know she will eventually get one. I have to walk out the back door, which is beside the bench she is sitting on.
“Ah-ha-ha. I got me one,” Granny sings in the childish voice she uses when she teases us, and then she grabs me and squeezes.
Hugs. She thought about that bit of affection continuously, and I knew it.
You see, she loved all of her children. That feeling of unconditional love came through in her hugs, her cooking and even her discipline. My grandmother’s love has never been replicated in my life, and it is unlikely it ever will.
I love you too, Granny. You are my Grand Mother. I miss you.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Oh Holiday!

by Lisa Terry

I have come to the conclusion that there are two types of holiday people in this world, and each of the groups think they are better than the other.
I shall explain. I was in a department store the other day and noticed prettily decorated Christmas trees on display. I was shocked they were already out as I haven’t even thought of Halloween costumes yet. But there were two ladies looking them over who weren’t surprised at all; as a matter of fact, they were talking about how their Christmas preparations were coming along already.
"I’ve got all the grandkids' presents now - even Benny. You know, he’s at that age it’s hard to buy for, but I found him one of those electronic games," said the lady with a rather tall hair-do.
"Mm-hm. Linda is gonna get you if you keep calling him that," said the shorter lady.
"Pff. At least I got them young’uns something. I always wonder how she pulls off Christmas when she puts it off so long," Tall Hair said.
“Well bless her heart," Short lady said.
Their conversation went on but I quit listening. I, like Linda, haven’t started my Christmas planning and rarely do until the month of December begins. But here’s the interesting thing. I’m not ashamed of it. I am actually kind of proud of that fact.  I can get done in a few weeks what people like the above women get done in a few months. I have many family members that tut-tut over what they view as my lack of organization and preparation but they just don’t understand.
The craziness that I bring upon myself in December is fun. I wallow in the chaos of the season. I often think of my aunt’s and cousin’s preparations and say to myself "Bless their hearts. How can this be fun for them? They make it seem like work."  But I am wrong.
As much as I revel in the chaos of the season, they revel in the planning and creative thinking they put into the holiday. So I am calling a truce. I will no longer pity you if you no longer pity me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Everybody Knows a Person Like This

I did this exercise recently where you had to tell a story with no narration.

“What are we gonna do?”
“Mmm. This coffee is good, Tooki. What to do about the bushes… Should we do anything?”
“Yes, we should do something. You didn’t hear the commotion when she came in last night - this morning actually. Ruined my hibernation. Coffee is kona blend.”
“I thought your fur looked ruffled. Kona blend? Are you sure? I usually don’t-”
“Kodan, shut-up about the coffee. I say we intervene. We’ll have a conversation with Jada about how her behavior is unacceptable. She’s old enough to know better… and her pollinator only dead two weeks. Breaks my heart.”
“I don’t know. I think some of the males are to blame. They should keep their pistons in their pants…”
“I could say the same for her. She should keep her petals togeth-”
“What is that?”
“It’s a human. Get under the table.”
“Kodan, look at the cute little girl- Oh no! The sun’s beaming and Jada will open to its rays.”
“I know, but there’s nothing we can do.”
“Stop her.”
“Be reasonable. How can I warn her without frightening the little-”
“It’s happening. See her petals trembling? She’ll open up and Jada’s too pretty not to be picked, Kodan.”
“Maybe she won’t. Oh...”
“I can’t look. It’s too sad.”
“Open your eyes, Tooki. The girl just left.”
“Maybe Jada will be a pressed flower. She would be beautiful resting in the pages of a journal.”
“Come on. Coffee is getting cold.”
“I’m going to miss her. Jada was a good friend to me. She was a beautiful soul. Like my best friend.”
“Like sisters.”
“What? Earlier you all but called her a floozy.”
“Kodan, quit being so quarrelsome. Wait til I tell the others. Everyone will feel so badly for me. My best friend…”

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Press release?

Have you ever had something in your hand one minute and the next it is gone? Poof! into thin air. How can that be?.
It can't always be my fault. There is someone somewhere pulling my strings and putting distractions in my way. But losing things may not be my only problem.
I have a press release in my hands. I am about to pull some quotes from it along with tech­nical information for the award-winning article that I am about to write. (If it doesn't win any awards, it is sure to make some new drug-dealer enemies).
I open the appropriate window on my computer, then click into the box. I pick up my press release... I pick up my press release... I pick up…. Where is that sneaky piece of paper?
I look through my document holder, where it is supposed to be. There's that press conference notice, my personal mail, little notebook, caption notes (that can go in the garbage). There's that phone number I was looking for earlier. Why did I throw that away? Good. I can call the Lions Club about that barbecue. No answer.
I know - the president of the club came by yesterday. I bet he can help me.
Now what was I doing?
Oh, press release.  
Where’s that press release? Why am I always losing things?
I must have laid it back on the scanner. That’s where I had it before. There’s the Kid’s Day announcement. I wonder if I’ll be able to take the girls. Let’s see. Maybe I can pull double duty - cover it and attend with my children. Wednesday night is good. I’ll call for tickets. Wait, there is a Website. Took care of that. Now what was I doing? Press release!
Look on your desk. There’s the information on the store. I still need to have a review written about that. Focus!
Here’s a press release. Nope - It’s about fire department training. Another release, fire prevention week. Here is the Alzheimer’s training announcement. Did I put that on my schedule?
Now that is done. I won’t forget to attend it. Where is that press release? I just cannot find it. Was it emailed? I bet it was emailed.
Let’s see. There’s the Kiwanis Club meeting, an engagement. There’s the mug shots from Headland P.D. It must have been faxed to me.
Mystery solved. Who put my press release back in the fax machine?

Until next time!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Lisa Terry did a wonderful job editing my manuscript both in terms of catching those pesky typos (that we swear we checked for) as well as grammar comments and plot help. My MS in particular was weak in a few areas and she (very kindly) let me know where it was slow/disappointing and why. She also was willing to discuss possible fixes with me, which I found incredibly helpful. She is easy to work with and I'm so glad I won her first contest!!

- Stacy Hoyt

Words can't express how grateful I am to Lisa for helping me with my writing. In the few short months I've been connected to Lisa, she has helped me tremendously. She has a knack for being able to quickly and acurately pinpoint issues while still keeping the integrity of the work intact. Lisa's feedback is thoughtful, articulate and professional. Lisa - thank you so much! I'm forever in your debt.

- Heather Larson

Want to win an edit from me? A $20 gift voucher? Enter the contest 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


When I was in middle school, I had a friend whose life was a little on the rough side. She wasn't sexually abused, nor physical or mental abused. Her stepfather was addicted to prescription drugs. I think her mother took some pain killers occasionally, too. But it wasn't really bad.
Their house was always clean; her mother was real sweet. Mary's stepfather was also re­latively nice.
She was my best friend in a school I was foreign to. I met Mary in fifth grade at a school in Holmes County, Fla. In the middle of the school year, my mother remarried, and we moved to Bethlehem, where her new husband was from. Mary befriended me right away, and the great thing about it was she lived down the road from me.
We would walk to the Taber­nacle, a swimming hole, and swim for hours, or just sit around and goof off at my house or hers.
My child­hood wasn't perfect ei­ther, so she and I under­stood each other well. We were very close friends.
In the sixth grade, drug and tobacco awareness semi­nars began. The pictures and the movies I saw would scare me. I knew I never wanted to do drugs. For Mary, though, the response was different. Even at that age, I could tell that she wasn't particularly moved.
I transferred to a different school in high school, but Mary and I kept in touch. She even briefly attended my current school, but didn't stay. I could see she was straying from what I thought was good, and head­ing right into a darker lifestyle.
I tried many times to reach out to her. But she began doing drugs anyway. I alternated between trying to help her, and trying to stay away from her.
Two different times, as adults, I tried to help her. While both of us were pregnant, I moved her in with me. And during a tumultuous time I was having myself, I reached out to her again. She would straighten up for a little while, but ultimately go back to the other lifestyle.
After I had my children, I went back to college to get my degree. My major was obvious, English, but my minor was not so - Psychology. Those that knew me, knew of my lack of belief in the practices of therapists.
But I had to understand Mary. I thought that maybe if I under­stood her, I could better instruct my children. The only thing that I understand now is that it isn't black and white.
There is no one reason why people choose to be self-destructive.
I did figure out she was self-destructive. Some people don't like themselves very much. Maybe it is guilt over something they did, a low self-esteem because of where they come from or a mental disorder. Some are dissatisfied with their current situation in life.
My friend, Mary, comes out of her drug-induced oblivion every once in a while and tries to straighten out her life. But she ne­ver contacts me. I find out through a long-reaching and considerate grapevine. She talks to them, but she asks them not to tell me about her.
My psychological mind under­stands she is ashamed. My breaking heart wishes she still felt that bond we shared so long ago.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chairs That Don't Fit

In 1976, a young journalist by the name of Gail Sheehy said “We must be willing to change chairs if we want to grow. There is no permanent compatibility between a chair and a person. And there is no one right chair. What is right at one stage may be restricting at another or too soft. During the passage from one stage to another, we will be between two chairs. Wobbling no doubt, but developing.”
I am a 34-year-old mother who, until recently, held onto a chair that didn’t really fit.
I have decided to share this story because I believe everyone comes across similar circumstances and, out of a sense of loyalty, keep the old chair.
As a child, my playmates of choice were of the masculine sort. One boy in particular was my favorite as he didn’t treat me with kid gloves.
Now, although I can’t tell you that our platonic boundaries were never crossed, at the end of the day we were just the best of friends.
Time had us in different geographic locations eventually but our friendship prevailed. However,  a few years ago our delicate balance was shifted.
He (I'll call him George) began dating someone and it was serious - a status he had usually evaded. This someone came to one particular event that I didn’t think she belonged.
Wherever we were in the world George and I always had at least one visit scheduled. Every May, George had a weekend-long family reunion close by, and I joined him there. After that, we always went somewhere fun of our own choosing.
On the last little vacation, he brought his girlfriend. I wasn’t pleased. He could see her any time, so I felt like she was treading on our ritual. To make things worse, we had planned to go fishing in Florida, but her schedule couldn’t accommodate the trip. That would leave George and I alone on the boat and this idea didn’t please her too much. So we went to Six Flags so that she could come. I tried to be understanding because I guess I would have the same reservations had I been in her place.
In the weeks and months following the trip, mine and George’s phone calls became less frequent and when they did occur, tense. I sounded resentful and he sounded tired. He wanted me to be friends with his girlfriend, but it just couldn't happen - believe me I tried. We were just too suspicious of each other.
So May came around again. George called, but I kept the conversation short and away from trip/reunion talk.
I had that quote from Sheehy on my mind. I needed to let go of this chair.
As another step in growing up, I realized that I no longer had a real place in his life. And if that episode had been postponed to the next May, I would have been in his exact predicament. So to be fair, I had to acknowledge there was no real place for him in my life either.
No matter how much someone can mean to you, you can still out-grow them. The key is to let them go. If you hang on to something that doesn’t make sense anymore, you can prevent your life from moving forward.
I will miss my playmate, but I’m grateful. You see, I’m sure I could have made it all these years without George. I’m just glad I didn’t have to.

Monday, April 30, 2012

When Catfish Attack

A few years ago I was lucky enough to be selected as matron of honor in my best friend’s wedding. When you read how the weekend of the wedding played out, you will see how she likely wished she would have chosen a more coordinated wedding party member.
Jessica and I have been friends ever since we met in Mrs. Jones' fourth-grade classroom. We have a long history. Our grandparents were childhood friends, and Jessica's mother was a brides­maid in my mother's wedding.
I know this is tedious and sen­timental, but I have a point. I did everything I could to help this wedding go smoothly. Could it be possible that I jinxed myself?
I am normally a pretty smart and coordinated gal, but some­how in this complex construc­tion of an existence that I call my life, I lost my groove.
In the weeks prior to the wedding, I had my own “series of unfortunate events.” Let us start with what was sup­posed to be a sponta­neous and innocent trip to pick blackberries. It was rain­ing, and we were having fun picking berries on the side of a dirt road in Florida. The proper­ty we were on had a no tres­passing sign, but so did most every other piece of property. It's just to keep pranksters and the like at bay.
We were about 15 feet deep in the woods, when my friends decid­ed to tell me about the man that owned the land shooting a dog because he trespassed. Imagine my surprise when I heard a four-wheeler approaching? Running is not the word for what I did (fly maybe, but even that seems mainstream). The scratches from the briars didn't bother me as much as getting my shoes stuck in the mud. Fly­ing wasn't possible at this point.
This sight wasn't pretty, and it gets uglier. Further down the road, we saw plums and decide we wanted some. The ants did not like us stealing their food. They fought back and won. Being mildly allergic to these beasts, I carried home with me blackber­ries and one-inch red welts that later turned into nice-sized blis­ters.
A couple of days later more misfortune befell me. I tried to get out of bed before I was awake evidently. The result of that was a rather large lump on my right shin bone. I put ice packs on it, to keep from having yet one more defect upon my leg during my best friend's wedding. It didn't bruise, but from certain angles, it looks like I have a growth on my leg.
After that, I made it three days without incident It wasn't until the night of the rehearsal dinner that my next mishap was to occur.
Since the wedding was at a lake, the wedding party stayed the night there in a cabin. Nice, huh? Well, it was until I tried to make it to the boat landing at night without a flashlight. Those evil briars got me again.
If all of these accidents were separate, and if they didn't come before a momentous occasion, nothing would be thought of it. You may say that this last invasion of plant life is inconsequential. But the wed­ding was to take place on the beach of the lake. We were to be barefoot.
The big day arrives, and the matron of honor looks like a battered rag doll. The brides­maids are on the right side of the audience. But do we face them head on? No. We were instructed to turn at a particular angle. This was the perfect angle to see my bump and many other imperfections. In the two weeks before this wedding, I managed to obtain a growth on my right shin bone, seven angry red bumps all over my right leg, and the scratches on my toes were beginning to resemble an outbreak of poison ivy. (It was.)
But as I stood up there watch­ing my friend say her vows, I forgot about my problems. Afterall, this wasn’t about me. The people attending didn’t have their attention on me. I wasn’t the important one. They really shouldn't notice any defects on me.
Then right behind me comes a splash. A catfish evidently mis­took up for down and missed his prey. Or did he? A squeal and a leap later, everyone's eyes are upon me.
So much for remaining inconspicuous.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Move over

There is nothing more detestable than the uninsured on our nation's highways.
When driving, they wait until you are right upon them then go right out in front of you as if it is some game. When they make it with out being hit, they celebrate with their friends. “You should have seen the look on that woman's face. She looked like she wanted to scream, cry and vomit all at the same time.”
And sometimes they do get hit. Do we feel sorry for them? Of course. They give us such pitiful looks as if saying, “Why did you let this hunk of metal harm me?”
I have been a victim of this guilt, and I didn't even do any thing wrong.
I was just going along my route as calmly as could be and BAM, something hit the side of my car so hard my window busted. There was also considerable denting, paint damage, not to mention my mirror was never to be seen again.
Who was to pay for the wreckage? It certainly was not the being laying on the side of the road. Nor did she have insurance. If I thought she would live, I would consider suing for damages.
Oh you think I am so bad, don't you?
I'm writing about the deer that decided to play chicken.
A friend of mine was victim to this game last year, and it needs to stop.
So, to rectify the situation, I propose a new law for the four-legged beasts.
Deer need a license to roam. The state of Alabama needs to declare this a state of emergency situation and contact each and every deer immediately. Law enforcement will bring them in and instruct them on the rules of the road.
1. Look both ways. Left, right and left, again, be fore  crossing the road.
2.  And do not psych the motorist out, either. Sure it may be fun to see how far drivers will yank their car when you tease them, but you are damaging your own habitat.
Think about it. The next time you gleefully watch a vehicle sailing through the air, watch what happens when it comes crashing down. Each tree they hit, each yard of grass they dig up, is less room for you to live and less vegetation for you to imbibe in.
3.  If you do find yourself in the middle of the road when cars are approaching, MOVE. Yes, the lights are bright and pretty, but quit staring. The vehicle behind those lights will plow you down.
4. Leave your offspring at home. It makes the motorist feel worse, when they have hit you and your brood sprint away from the scene.
And that leads me to my last rule.
5. No more of this cute business. No more movies and no more looking nice and pretty prancing across the fields. It makes it harder to be mad at you when we do cross paths.

Have you ever been hit by a deer? Ever hit a deer?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Unrequited Love

The first word that comes to mind with this thought is generally cowardice. But, wait a minute. Think about it. If it’s never requited, it remains the same always. It’s never blemished by mistakes, unfaithfulness, too many children or not being able to have children at all. It stays beautiful. Mistakes don't have the chance to mar it. Is it possible that unrequited love could be better than the real thing?
Sure. That person remains an ideal, a dream in your head forever. She’s a thought to hold onto, to romanticize, to fantasize. Unrequited love is a love that’s never ruined.

What do you think about it?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Break

     I have read many, many times that a true writer should write every day without fail. It's practice, keeps the creative juices flowing, it's good for you, etc. There's even some that say a real writer absolutely has to write everyday or s/he will feel incomplete. I hate to argue...but I disagree.
     For one thing, I don't ever want my writing to feel like a job. It would certainly feel like a job if I forced myself to write. As long as it's fun for me then I feel like it'll show in my writing. When it's not fun, that will show too.
     When I'm not writing I'm thinking about things, usually possible plots. If I go ahead and write these plots down then I would simply pick the best one. But if I keep ruminating over them, one would start growing branches and stick, and it's not always the one that I would have originally picked. That's when I know I have the right one. Then it's like a secret. Someone will walk into a room while I'm thinking of my sweet little plot,  new characters are forming in my head, and I'll be wearing a smile. "What's up, Lisa?" Smile even bigger. "Nothing."
     More thinking...more mysterious smiles.
     Months later I have almost an entire novel in my head. This is the way I like it. I've learned that outlining makes me too analytical, writing stuff down immediately doesn't always make for the best story either. And writing something every day, just for the sake of not breaking The Rule, isn't for me. This might be just the thing for you and it's great that you've figured that out. Just don't shove what works for you down my throat and we'll live in perfect cyber-harmony.
    So I have absolutely no shame in saying this: Writing, me and you are on a break right now. This doesn't mean I don't like you. It just means that I'm thinking fondly of what I'll be doing with you soon.

    Writing rules are so subjective - use your filter wisely.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I'm ready to announce the winner of the line edit! But first let me take you through our very scientific and complex process. Er...ignore the silly dog in the background.
And the winner is... drumbeats resound, trumpets blare, applause all around...

The winner is Rowanwolf66!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lisa's Awesome Line Edit Contest!!!

Are you an author who needs a little more help when it comes to gerund phrases and commas? Do you slip up with your tenses from time to time? You may be heavy on adjectives, "ly" adverbs, or crawler words like very, and you have no idea. I will know it and, if you win this contest, I’ll point out every single thing to you. Yes, line edits for your entire manuscript. I’m a newspaper editor and, in the past few years, it’s transferred well to the literary world. This is a contest to win a line edit from me and here’s how you enter the drawing:
- Follow this blog and comment “Hello, Lisa. It’s me.” (sounds creepy butIlikeit) This equals one entry.
- Follow me on twitter and tweet to me “Hello, Lisa. It’s me.” This equals one entry.
- Retweet me each time I mention this contest and tweet “Hello, Lisa…” Just kidding. I’ll keep track of my mentions. Each retweet equals one entry.
(You can’t retweet the same tweet over and over, but I’ll give you several opportunities to rack up more and more entries)
Because, guess what. The more entries you have, the more of a chance you have to win.
But Lisa, you say, can I enter if we are friends? In this digital age, we meet people online all the time and call each other friends (facebook does, anyway). So here’s what I say to that. If I have never stood in front of you and looked at your face, then you may enter. I’m not saying a physical encounter makes us friends or not, that’s just the parameters for this contest.
So…that leaves me with the deadline – Jan. 31.
Are you excited? I am! Without further ado, let’s begin!

TWITTER LINK: http://twitter.com/lisaslanding