Author Archives: Lisa Papa

Your Process Is Not Wrong

      Whenever I give a workshop or deliver a lecture on plotting, I find that audiences tend to break down into two kinds of people: Plot Writers and Character Writers. Plot Writers only get to know their characters by seeing what they do. They dive into the action, and watch how the characters […]

Magic People

“For a few brief moments he had touched with the very tips of his fingers the edge of a magic world.”        –from George’s Marvelous Medicine, by Roald Dahl. I have lingered over that sentence for days. It’s about more than just George and his story; it’s about childhood itself. When I was a girl, I […]

Guest Post: Heather Demetrios

Lisa Says: Friends, as you my know, I’ll be speaking at NESCBWI14 this weekend. My talk is called, “The F-Word: Failure, Rejection, and the Power of Persistence.” Let’s face it: Failures (large and small) and the revision that comes with it are simply part of the process of getting to your best work. Still, many […]

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 […]