Author Archives: Lisa Papa

How to Be A Creative Genius

I am currently working on a story that features a coffin factory. Everyone loves this little touch. “How did you think of that?” people have asked. “It’s so atmospheric and creepy and perfect!” When I hear things like this, I just say, “Thank you,” and try to smile mysteriously, as if I just can’t help […]

Bonus Blog: Winter, It’s ON!

  I’ve been seeing quite a lot of facebook Letters to March lately, asking it to cut it out and warm up already. It’s starting to feel a little bit like Narnia out there: It’s always winter, and never Christmas. I woke up this morning to a bright, sunny sky, and thought—foolishly—that the weather might […]

Are Your Characters As Memorable As This Cat?

  Wow. This cat is a character. You can tell just by looking at his face. Are your characters as memorable as this cat? And, if not, how can you make them unforgettable? One of the writers I admire most is Charles Dickens. His characterizations are incredibly economical–he packs a ton of meaning into a […]

Secrets of a Prolific Writer

  Recently, a new friend admitted to me that she has a writer hidden inside her. “Oh, I’ll bet it isn’t hidden that far,” I told her. The next time I saw her, we chatted a bit about writing, and my new friend admitted feeling discouraged because “all of the books say that you should […]


When Chris Tebbets and I sent in the first draft of the manuscript for M or F?, we were pretty excited. We were strangers before we began the project, but working together had bonded us. We had a similar sense of humor and quirky way of looking at things, and we started to think of […]

A Message from Ivana Correctya

Hello, Darlings! Lisa is sick this week, so she asked if I would write a guest post on her blog. I always try to help when I can, but I simply did not have time to write a single word. (I did not even have time to write the words that you are reading now. […]

Off Topic: Mess

I struggle with housework. Sometimes, I have it all under control. Sometimes not. Laundry is my particular bane, because it is endless, and even one skipped day can mean chaos. My husband and I actually have a pretty fair arrangement about housework. Many years ago, we went through the list of stuff that had to […]

How To Write A Blog

When I was a kid, I was entranced by the idea of a diary. It felt like something that creative yet organized people do. I imagined that I would record the details of my daily life and someday, maybe years after my death, someone would find it and think, “Wow. I am so lucky that […]

A Pothole Story

A few years ago, I heard a strange noise while I was stopped at a stoplight. Across the busy intersection, a man in a wheelchair was bellowing for help. One of his rear wheels was stuck in a large pothole at the edge of a restaurant driveway–right at the place where it met the road. […]

The Genius Myth

Yesterday, I heard from an old friend. She told me that her daughter had dreams of being a writer, but felt discouraged. She isn’t even in high school yet, but doesn’t feel that being a professional writer is a realistic dream. I know this feeling well. When I was in college, I applied to be […]