Author Archives: Lisa Papa

There are No Small Lives

I just finished reading The Collected Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, and I’ve got to say that there are not a lot of laughs in it. Ernest is pretty intense. Lots of matadors getting gored and people dying in battles and depressed people. The stories  reflect Hemingway’s passion for writing, and his obsession with being […]

If I’m Such A Perfectionist, Why Aren’t I Perfect?

This morning, I had an idea for a blog post about perfectionism. It would be inspiring and also hilarious, because I have big dreams for this blog, mmkay? People would read it and realize that perfectionism is ruining their lives and their writing, and I would, basically, solve ALL OF YOUR PROBLEMS in 500 words […]

The Joys of the Amateur Writer

  Whenever I hear someone say, “I love writing!” I know that I am not talking to a professional writer. Professional writers do love writing, of course, but they mostly love it in the way that doctors love making people well. There are many, many days that doctors fail to make people well. There are […]

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 […]