Tag Archives: writer

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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Auditioning for Blogger Idol


Mom had posted the link on my Facebook wall, and I have decided to go for it!

https://www.facebook.com/bloggeridol

Auditions are open between now and Midnight, September 17th. Got what it takes to be the next Blogger Idol??

Since I want to start taking my writing more seriously, and because I want to be something big, this has become my next biggest goal. Right now, I don’t have the goal of winning. I have the goal of qualifying, and seeing how far I make it.

I’ll need tons of support from family and friends. I know that own’t be hard, since you guys have always been there for me already 🙂 Wish me luck!

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A Creative Writing Exercise That ANYONE Can Do!


The pressure can get to you when you feel like you’re forced to be creative. I ran into that a lot while working as a content editor. It’s your job to be witty, creative, and grammatically correct. Often, the pressure can be overwhelming.

If you’re stuck trying to find the next creative word, whether it’s for your professional writing career or just dabbling at home with poems and verses, here is one exercise you can do to get your brain working again.

Step One:

On a sheet of paper or blank computer document, create four sentences. They don’t have to be poetic; they may even look like a simple conversation. Make sure to number each sentence 1,2, 3, and 4.

Example:

1.) I cannot find the right words today
2.) My brain doesn’t work
3.) This exercise isn’t working
4.) I want another cup of coffee


Step Two:

For this step, you’ll need sentence 2 and sentence 4. These will now become sentence 1 and sentence 3.

Example:

1.)My brain doesn’t work
2.)
3.)I want another cup of coffee
4.)

Step Three:

Fill in the blanks! You’re in charge of coming up with a new sentence for line 2 and line 4.

Example:

 1.) My brain doesn’t work
2.) Because I didn’t sleep last night
3.) I want another cup of coffee
4.) With a handful of delicious cookies

Step Four:

Keep going! What you write is going to sound silly, but sometimes you have to be silly in order to break through the insanity of writer’s block. Good luck!

Example:

I cannot find the right words today
My brain doesn’t work
This exercise isn’t working
I want another cup of coffee

My brain doesn’t work
Because I didn’t sleep last night
I want another cup of coffee
With a handful of delicious cookies

Because I didn’t sleep last night
I didn’t have a lovely dream
With a handful of delicious cookies
I will imagine a lovely dream

I didn’t have a lovely dream
But I’m ready to have one
I will imagine a lovely dream
A dream of chocolate and lovely
men

 

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Parrothead for Hire!


I’m finally back to the daily grind! I picked up a job…at Arby’s. Meh, it pays the bills. Actually, if I had to chose a fast food place to work, Arby’s would definietly be the pick. I worked at McDonalds just out of college and they were all about speed! fast! quick! now! Arby’s actually puts more emphasis on quality customer service. In other words, I can strike up a conversation with a customer and now be told to work faster! *whip*


James and I are settling in just fine. Unfortunately, we both have to work two jobs until we can pay off some debt and find higher paying positions. My goal is to eventually get my novel published. I know I probably won’t make MILLIONS but it’s still a goal I shoot for. Any extra money will always be appreciated.

Jimmy Buffett comes up a lot in this household…apartment-hold? Anyways, there are a couple of Parrotheads living here now! It’s amazing how he can bring your day around. At Arby’s, when I get frustrated about being in the food service yet again, I try and get a Jimmy Buffett song in my head and I start to feel better. It’s crazy, but it works! He is just such a happy fellow, and we must always surround ourselves with happy people. I would just SUFFOCATE if I were in a crowd of pessimists all day long.

I’m still searching high and low for that next big break. For now, though, I’m keeping enough money in my pocket to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. *Deep Breath* Bring it on, life!

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I’ve Got the Starving Artist/Waitressing Blues


[The funniest thing about the title of this blog: Google Chrome wanted to correct ‘Waitressing’ to ‘Depressing’]

[clearly, I did not create this image or own it]

It’s interesting how many starving artists end up in customer service positions.  I’ve been pondering this concept while waitressing at a local hotel restaurant. For me, it’s probably because I am so desperate for money and there always seems to be customer service positions available.

I saw a special on CNBC called ‘Customer Disservice‘ and it discussed how the customer service industry is suffering. It’s a tough business, so I’m not surprised. I have worked too many years in the customer service industry. It feels more like a sentence than a job. Like, the day I decided to become a writing major, the imaginary Counsel of Artistic Integrity and Demeanor said “Alyssa Leino Hanson, for as long as you wish to pursue a career as a creative writer, you are sentenced to work in the customer service industry. You will serve impatient, hungry customers cold eggs and answer angry phone calls regarding busted guitars.”

I know these problems aren’t unique, and that brings me comfort. Out there in the world, there is a clutter of starving artist working the crap shifts in the name of art. They stay up late trying to finish writing the next chapter, use their free time to complete just one more painting, take time off to make it to an audition on time, and work up the courage to submit their movie and theater script to big directors and theater companies.

I’m probably just going to bounce from one waitress job to the next. Hell, it’s a crap job but I’m good at it! One thing that helps me through the day: my pain-in-the-butt customers who leave me tips are paying for my future dreams! It makes me feel so much better.

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Exhaustion! Creativity Suffers!


Solve this mystery: Why am I so effing tired?

I know I have a full-time job which requires me to get up early. HOWEVER! You’d think I’d be used to that by now.

Anyways, because of this exhaustion, I fear my creativity is suffering. I did finally sit down and work on my novel last night.  I think I added two sentences and edited a couple of others…. I am a rock star.

That is why I am forcing myself to write this blog before I go back to work.  I really don’t think it offers any real contribution to the world, but I will use it to teach you ALLLLL a lesson: DON’T LET YOUR CREATIVITY SUFFER!  I don’t care if you’re painting, crocheting, or working on a cure for cancer!  All of it is important.  It’s your passion.  It’s your craft. Don’t let it die!  What’s left once that’s gone???!!! AAAAHHH!!!

I don’t know where that came from… I might have taken too much Sudafed last night.  Eeeek….

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Writer/Editor By Trade


Hipster Kitteh

Hipster Kitteh iz in yer apartmentz, livin' like Stervin Artist.

When I signed on to the Starving Artist lifestyle, this wasn’t what I had in mind… but, as my life has shown me over the last 23 years, predictability is just not my adjective.

There is a thrill in having EDITOR and WRITER in your job description.  At least there is for me.  All day long, I edit item numbers and put them into grids for a car parts website based in the UK.  I think that adds quite a bit of flair to my starving artist story.  The men we work for have delicious accents.

And then the ‘starving’ portion comes into play: I have multiple bills in a month, and a paycheck that will cover them all but leave me just enough for gas and coffee.  The result? Living in my parents’ house (which I am grateful for, please do not misconstrued that).  Everything that was crammed in my dorm is now piled on top of all my childhood knick knacks in my bedroom.  My walls do not exist for there are piles of stuff blocking them.

What’s the solution?  Attempt to earn some extra cash on the side via the Internet.  I have started up an Etsy account (with only one item up for sale right now *Lame*) and selling books on half.com.  As of right now, neither are doing so well and I take complete blame for that.  My lack of discipline in these areas will kick my butt eventually.

With lack of funds comes never-ending expenses.  My laptop is starting to crap out on me, and it’s barely three years old.  The battery is useless and my CD-ROM isn’t working.  Minor problems in the computer world, but it does get irritating.  I’m still trying to repair it, but it would be so nice to just sell it on Ebay and get another one.  However, I lack the cash.  Therefore, I will stash money away in my crayon bank and see what happens.

My laptop is important, because it is my medium.  I’ve considered going back to my typewriter, but I cannot find replacement ribbon for it.  Actually, I’ve been a poor writer the last few weeks.  I have two novels started, some short stories, and a memoir attempt.  I haven’t touched any of them.  Every time I sit down to write, I think ‘Hmm, I wonder if this will fix my computer’ and two hours later I’m distracted. Ugh.

I  took a trip back to Bemidji this past weekend, my awesome college town.  It was so great seeing all my buds again.  It was also strange.  The last time I was in town, I was still trying to figure out what was coming next.  I felt so grown up a the time, but coming back I figured out that I was really still young.  Granted, I still am.  Man, it’s so hard to explain….

With all this in mind and more, I decided to take a look at my future goals….

Wow…The future is terrifying.

Let’s take this one step at a time… with bullet points!! YAY!!

  • When it comes to my career

 I have decided, as much as I don’t want to stay in this area for very long, I will wait until the end of the summer to update my resume and post it online.  I don’t really mind Spicer, so it won’t be so hard waiting around.  I just miss my friends….

  • When it comes to my writing

I don’t want to set an exact date of when I want to finish a novel, but I need to start somewhere.  My biggest thing is that I need to get back in the habit of writing little bits every day.  That will make a BIG difference, considering I’ve got at least 30 pages in each novel right now.

  • When it comes to my relationship with Anthony

I have always said that I wanted to be married and have at least one kid before I turn 30.  I think I’m still doing ok with that.  Plus, he wants to get more schooling under his belt.  Because I love him so much, I will respect that wish with great patience.  I will also pray that this long distance bull &*$% will wrap itself up soon and we can be together more often.

I think that’s a good start.  Let’s not overdo it.

In conclusion, I’m hoping to have my financial woes under wraps soon.  I’ll work on earning extra cash online, and I’ll work hard enough that I’ll get considered for a monetary promotion at work.  I’ll keep my fingers cross…and hold my breath, count to seven, spin around, wear my lucky green underpants….

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