Tag Archives: write

Preview of the Novel I’m Working On::Burnt Orange

ATTENTION: the following plot information is an original idea of Lyssa Leino Hanson. Any resembling real life events is a mere coincidence.

I’ve been working this novel for probably 6 months, maybe longer. It started as a short story and served as a channel for some angst I was feeling at the time. Eventually, it blossomed into a couple of chapters.

It’s been a slow process. I write when I can. I end up doing many edits when I finally sit down to work on it. It’s slowly becoming my baby. It’s something that I want to be proud of.

Feel free to leave feedbacks, but make sure it’s constructive. I don’t have time for a sourpuss that insists on trying to make me feel bad by hiding behind the Internet. Enjoy!


Title: Burnt Orange

Tag Line: What happens when you’re dreams fall apart.

Summary: Allison has finally entered adulthood. She graduated college in four years, nailed a posh internship at a local publishing house, and finally moved out of her parent’s house and in with her long-term boyfriend named Kevin. She finally has the perfect car, a spectacular wardrobe, great friends, and a bright future in the publishing industry.

With a haunting past filled with emotional abuse, Allison sets forth to hopefully overcome her family issues. Her intent is to focus solely on her career and her relationship with Kevin. With the perfect boyfriend, a new car, a great entry-level career, new clothes, and an apartment located in a thriving downtown of a major city, she would finally live the dream life she always wanted.

But is it all what she really wanted?

From the introduction:

There were grounds in the coffee that morning, but I didn’t mind. It was nice to have something warm and comforting, even if it was only a poorly brewed drink. I allowed the steam to rise up from my cardboard cup and over my face, weathered with anxiety and frustration. It felt therapeutic, and I was in need of severe pampering. My eyebrows were starting to grow together. My hair hadn’t been brushed properly in so long that I could only keep it in a ponytail. My nails were bitten down to the limit.

    I was a mess.

Allison meets with her best friend, Claire, after moving in with Kevin. She just finished telling Claire about the internship:

“That’s so coooool,” Claire chirped, cutting her sandwich into four smaller pieces. “You’re on your way to using your liberal arts degree.”

“Yeah. It’s nice to explain my job to the people who thought I’d end up at Starbucks or McDonalds.” I thought back to my awful fast foodjob I had to get after college. “Oh man, everyone thought I would end up owning that McDonalds. Like that was suppose to encourage me!”

“People actually told you that?”

“Oh yeah.” I took a small bite of fry. “When I told people what I was doing, they’re first answer was always something like ‘oh, well I’m sure you’ll be able to own that place’ or ‘you could probably end up working in their main headquarters.’”
    “Does that ever happen?”

“The training video said so. And the owner started out there as a crew member. I don’t think I’d want his life. He was there every day, basically yelling at us when we weren’t following procedures. God I hated that place. But what was I suppose to do? I needed gas money, and it took me for-fricking-ever to find this damn internship!”

“Didn’t you try and get one the summer after your sophomore or junior year?”

    “Naw. I wanted to, but ever since I met Kevin working at the resort, all I wanted to do was go back.” I let out a dreamy sigh, probably by accident. “I couldn’t imagine spending a summer without him… I hope this didn’t screw up my life too much.”
    “Well, it’s paying off so far. Look at you guys, you’re already living together.”
“Yeah.” That gave me a little boost, although I don’t know why I needed it. Was I really not that confident?

Allison describes her boss’s office on her first day of work:

I loved his office. There were plants everywhere; plants I probably could never keep alive even if I tried. The gorgeous window had the perfect view of downtown. And I couldn’t get enough of the burnt-orange carpeting and the brown walls. It was so retro and so awesome!
    Collections of all the authors published through the company graced the surrounding shelves, enveloping us in a brightly colored swirl of professional whimsy. And my favorite accessory of all: the machine that made individual cups of coffee that I, and I assume Jennifer, would have unlimited access to during business hours.
    “Have a seat ladies,” he gestured his hand out widely to the two plush chairs in front of his desk. “I am so excited to get this started.”
    He gently placed his briefcase on the other side of the desk and took a seat.
    “Like I told both of you,” he began, making himself comfortable. “This is a brand new internship to this company. This past summer was a huge for our company. So much so, that my workload has almost tripled. That’s why I decided to hire on you two. Not only will you be helping me with some of my workload, but you will also get hands on training that you will need in the working world.
    “I really hope to keep your girls under my wing for the next few months. You both are very promising young ladies and I believe you both have the potential to succeed in this field.”



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How I Write a Novel

This is a quick post to let you all know the cool thing I just figured out!!

Google Translator

I used this when I worked in the call center during online chats with customers from other countries. I found out that there’s a little speaker in the right corner of the text box. Click on it, and a monotone digital lady reads off what you just typed, in English or otherwise.

I used this when I lost my voice. Handy little tool.

Right now, I’m using it to read off chapters of my book. The voice doesn’t add emphasis or anything fancy, but it does help to hear the words out loud rather than reading them over and over again.

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Hidden Talent: Writers Within Movies

Here is a short list of my favorite movies that feature writers (that are not biographies). If you can think of any more, please be sure to include them in the comments!

Stand  By Me

This movie was based of a Stephen King’s novella, or a portion of one of this other novels, I can’t remember.

The narrator is writing a story that took place when he was 12 years old. He and his childhood buds took it upon themselves to hike off into the wilderness to see a dead body. Even though that is the center of their mission, you get to witness these four boys and their coming-of-age realizations.

The narrator’s name is Gordie. As a little boy, life was rough, but he always had the support of his great friends. He was the black sheep in his family. While his older brother was into sports, Gordie hung back and wrote stories. After his brother died, he became a stranger to his parents, who simply wished he were more like his brother

Gordie’s closest friend was Chris Chambers. He was the town ne’er-do-well, his reputation set up by his asshole siblings before him. He saw Gordie’s talent as a great gift.  There’s an excellent scene were they’re walking down the train tracks while Gordie’s trying to talk himself out of being a writer because it’s so stupid. Chris stayed determined, repeating to him that he had a great gift that needed to be shared.

I think, as writers, we often have to go through struggles in order to get good writing material. It’s sad, but those experiences make up some of the greatest stories of all time (just look at the book of Job in the Bible). When things get tough, it’s hard to see the good, especially in ourselves. As writers, we really do need that outside encouragement every once in a while.  It’s true you should always believe in yourself, but nothing beats the glow that comes from others having faith in your talents.

Riding in Cars with Boys

I can’t remember if this movie was a hit or not. I know when it first came out, I was far too young to really understand it. Today, even though I haven’t experienced half the stuff that occurred in this movie, I understand and embrace it now.

The main character is Beverly. She, like every other young girl, likes boys. They’re fun to kiss, they’re fun to talk about, so on and so on. But, unlike many other girls, she wants to be a writer.

Her writing talents start off a little awkward. She’s got the beautiful words ready to put together, but she struggles with finding an appropriate audience. For example, she feels she will win over a popular jock she has a hard crush on with a poem of her own writing. Sadly, even though she requested he read it later, the jock recites her poetry to his friends and mocks her use of the word ‘loins’.

But she is able to make it through the embarrassment and continues her dream of becoming a writer…. until there was Ray. Ray is a common partier who Bev falls in love with. And, at the age of 15, Bev is impregnated by this man. Therefore, her dreams fall to the wayside. It becomes too much of a struggle to finish high school, so college is clearly out of the question.

I won’t give away any more details with this movie so I insist you check it out. The whole story is sort of written like a narrative. Bev, in the beginning, is all grown up. She wrote this book about her quest to become a writer, and the movie is like the story plot within the pages.

Moulin Rouge

Now from the realistic to the whimsical! If you haven’t seen this film, I strongly urge you too. There is so much I can say about it, but I must contain it to only a few words.

Here are the basics: The whole movie is the narrative from the main character, Christian, and the novel he is working on. Christian is a young English lad who moves to Paris to become a poet to write about truth, beauty, freedom, and love. Especially love. Upon arriving and setting forth to work, he discovers that ‘he’s never been in love!’ Uh oh! One of my writing fears includes lack of experience taking a toll on my writing quality.

Without going into much detail, let’s just say that Christian stumbles into a world of experience and falls in love.  And the best part, the greatest part, is the whole movie is one giant musical! We, as creative writers, often have a whimsical imagination that stays within our minds only becoming a textual vision when printed/typed on paper. I feel this movie brings to life many of those day dreams writers get.

And don’t you sit there and tell me: “Hey, I’m a writer and I don’t daydream.” That is a lie! Even people who don’t write day dream. It’s part of being human.

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Influence By The Great Writing Deities! (whoever they are…)

I think there’s a greater force pushing me to write. I got so excited that I decided to take lunch early so I can work on this blog:

I’ve started to work with my Twitter account again.  And what a good idea! I had forgotten how many writing/publishing/english-related Twitter accounts that I’m following.  It was so exciting to click through the profiles and see what’s been going on.

There are lots of good accounts to follow.  Here’s just a few I that I enjoy:

PaperDarts (They have an excellent blog!)

And there are a lot more!  Just search around.  These influences are great to have, whether they offer inspiring words or advice.

The other great push: I found these interesting articles in regards to writing/writing etiquette when I was on the WordPress homepage:

How I Tricked my Book Club into Writing by: Lessons from Teachers and Twits

5 Annoying Replies That Don’t Require “Reply All” by:The Couch Manager

Since college graduation, I’ve really missed the influence from other students to write.  It was amazing.  The writing program was small, so we got to know one another fast and quickly learned each other’s writing styles.  We knew what the other was capable of, and we pushed them in that direction.  It was great.

Now that I’m out in the real world, I need to find these outlets again.  Twitter seems like a good place to start.  I just need to remember to sign in to the stupid thing once in a while!

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Book Review & Caribou

 Just chillin’ here at the Caribou in Willmar, MN.  I haven’t been in here for ages.  Mostly because I can’t afford it.  Today, I had an uncomfortable check-up at the doctor, and decided I’d treat myself.  Yummy decision!

On to the main purpose of this blog


I bought this book with a Barnes and Noble Gift Card.  I wasn’t really looking for it.  There were a couple of ‘Bargain Bin’ links, and they brought me to this little gem.  Now I was a waitress way back in the day, but only for 8 months or so.  Still, I thought I could really get into this book, so I bought it.

First thing I fell in love with: this book is Non-Fiction! YES!  I’m addicted to that stuff.  And coffee. *sips large coffee and continues*  This waiter by the name of Steve originally started his creations in a blog called Waiter Rant.  Eventually it gets picked up by a literary agent, but I’ll get to that.

This starts off with him working right away as a waiter, even though his life story begins elsewhere.  I won’t get into incredible detail, but I’ll give the jist: he graduates high school, goes on to seminary but flunks out, works in the medical field but was laid off, and then started working as a waiter.  The first restaurant mentioned was a nasty little place that tried to come off as high-class, complete with snooty customers and expensive bottles of wine that disappear when they slip onto the floor.  To be honest, I waitressed at a small town restaurant/B&B.  I rarely ran into these occasions.  FInally, I quit looking for ways to relate and enjoyed the story.

Eventually, he moves on from that place and ends up at The Bistro.  This place seemed slighty better than his previous arrangement.  The owner was an ‘asshole’ (a commonly used adjective in this book regarding people) but the conditions were better.  As in, the health inspector could actually give his stamp of approval on this place.

There are some points in the book where it will give you the willies.  Occasionally, he would mention situations where he worked at a place with unclean mouse traps and sticky fly traps hovering over where food is being prepared.  At this point, you almost wish this book wasn’t Non-Fiction.

As I neared the end of this book, I found myself finding more similarities regarding this waiters interactions with his customers and my interactions with customers at the call center.  First of all, the sales &  food services industries are very similar (as he explains at one point).   Much like he ran into people looking for special treatment because they are stuffy regulars, I often took phone calls from pompous musicians who felt they deserved the highest discount I could give them (even if they only spent $50 on cables in the past).

Another great feature is that this is written from the point of view of a writer… Maybe I can try to explain this better:

This man struggled for so long on what he wanted to be when he grew up.  I feel like any tale involving writers, Fiction or Non-Fiction, revolves around these theme.  It reminds me of the movie Stand By Me.  Gordie, the main character, was badgered a little bit because he didn’t have the same skills and talents as others.  However, he could write.  He never considered it for a career until Chris Chambers told him he had a flair.  The same thing happened to this waiter.  A fellow co-worker read his blog and told him he had a great talent.  I really hope he still treasures that moment.  For me, it was my 10th grade English teacher.  She was brand new to teaching, and had all these odd teaching methods to experiment with on us.  Eventually she noticed my creative story telling, and pestered me a bit to be in the creative writing class.  She even told me something like ‘you will disgrace the world if you do not write.’  And I thank her for it.

Overall, I recommend this book to anyone still discovering themselves, working in the sales/food industry, or both.  It seemed like this book was pretty popular when it first came out, but I had never heard of it honestly.  I’m not sure how many people read this blog, but I hope I have persuaded you to check it out.

And now, I will finish my large mocha. *twitch*

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