Thinking About Lisa Mangum

It’s time everyone got to know Lisa better

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lisa-mangum

 

 

Lisa Mangum is the head editor for Shadow Mountain Publishing and the author of the HOURGLASS DOOR Trilogy. Since I’m her assistant at WIFYR (the super cool writing conference everyone should go to) I wanted to get to know her better. Here’s what I dug up:

  1. Lisa was lucky enough as a child to be told writing is a viable career. Go mom!
  2. Lisa has always loved writing,  though she didn’t pursue it seriously until joining a writers group in 2006. #writersgroupswillchangeyourlife
  3. If the Earth was under attack and Lisa could only bring one book she would chose the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to remind her not to panic.
  4. Lisa’s typical work day involves reading, editing, meetings, more reading, more editing, more meetings, lather, rinse, repeat, etc.
  5. Her best advice to authors is: IT’S OK TO WRITE OUT OF ORDER. If you want to write the kissing scene, for pity’s sake write it. So many of us get trapped writing the beginning over and over. Lisa says free yourself and write the end, or middle, or semi-middle. Whatever it takes to finish your world changing novel.

I’ve learned from Lisa that it’s a lot of work being an author (and an editor on top of that) but if you absolutely LOVE writing, then you have to do it, no matter how sore your fingers is (or clearly brain). To write with exceptional style you must never stop writing.

 

Charity is…

hugging-familyMoroni7: 45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

New Version: True love is enduring the hard times patiently. It is being kind. It is being without envy. It’s working to remove pride and entitlement. It’s not letting yourself become easily provoked. You think wholesome thoughts. You scorn sin and finds joy in truth. Nothing is too much for you. True love is when you believe and hope and endure no matter what happens.

I like the original. It’s so beautiful. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things has such a wonderful sound. However, rewriting really helped me reflect if I truly understood what each of the descriptions meant. When rewriting, I noticed how weird the combinations of actions. Kindness is paired with lacking envy. Being easily provoked is paired with thinking no evil. I tried to make it personal by using pronouns and that helped me think more about why those pairings matter and affect me as a person.

Every Paragraphs Needs a Hook

Great Performances

A Dash of Style says paragraphs must be connected and independent. In order to accomplish this, the closing and opening sentences must inconspicuously act as hooks.” In a paper on King Lear, my professor told me my closing and opening sentences were too “list like.” Plainly going from A to B. For this assignment I wanted to make the closing and opening lines less conspicuous hooks.

Old Paragraph: Lear wants Regan to take on his cause, to take action that will benefit him. Shakespeare is using these first two causes to depict Lear as an entitled character who wants his children to flatter and provide for him.

The next “cause” comes from Kent saying that Lear has “Cause to plain” Ior complain (3.1.39). Lear is on the moors during the storm, suffering under the elements, beginning his transformation to a more humble and self-sacrificing man. Compared to the first causes, Lear now has a reasonable reason to complain.

New: Lear wants Regan to take on his cause, to take action that will benefit him. Shakespeare is using these first two causes to depict Lear as an entitled character who wants his children to flatter and provide for him.

The moment Lear is on the moors however, suffering under the elements, he begins his transformation to a more humble and self-sacrificing man. Compared to the first causes, Lear now has a reasonable reason to complain. Kent says that Lear has “Cause to plain” or complain (3.1.39).

Old: Shakespeare placed this “cause” in the center of the play, almost on the center page, representing nihilism closing in on either side, making everything seem doomed to meaninglessness.

But this isn’t the theme of the play. Shakespeare is still leading the reader to the final “cause.” The next “cause” is found when Lear, referring to his cruel daughters, wonders “If there is any cause in nature that make hard hearts?” (3.6.76). Or in other words, while the cause of thunder seems random, now Lear wonders if nature creates cruelty.

New: Shakespeare placed this “cause” in the center of the play, almost on the center page, representing nihilism closing in on either side, making everything seem doomed to meaninglessness.

But there is hope. Shakespeare leads the reader from nihilism to the final “cause” when Lear, referring to his cruel daughters, wonders “If there is any cause in nature that make hard hearts?” (3.6.76).

The Titans at Gettysburg

“Anybody know what this place is?” Coach asked.

No one answered. Coach bowed his head.

“This is Gettysburg,” he said, with the sacred hum of a gospel choir. “This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. 50,000 men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we’re still fighting amongst ourselves today.”

The boys twitched. Each one was uncomfortable, as if the hallowed bodies of the fallen dead were reaching up through the dewed grass. Reaching out to them with long fingers, white and black.

Coach raised his head. He looked at the field, unflinchingly. “This green field right here, painted red. Bubbling with the blood of young boys. Smoke-and hot lead tore right through their bodies.”

Coach looked back at his boys. They were shivering from sweat and haunted air, their eyes all grey in the morning twilight.

“If we don’t come together,” Coach said, his voice so hard, it was a pistol crack,”Right now, on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed just like they were. I don’t care if you like each other, but you will respect each other. And maybe-I don’t know, maybe, we’ll learn to play this game like men.”

The boys nodded without thinking. They just reacted, the words like molten lead in their stomachs, making their necks jerk up and down. They weren’t quite sure what they were agreeing to, they just had to agree. Because Coach’s voice was strong and the field was layered in fog and tombstones.

Quotations in Hemingway

In A Dash of Style we read that dialogue is the great accelerator. It sets the pace for a novel, giving mental breathers for the reader. In living, breathing reality, people don’t converse back and forth with rapid fire unless they are in a heated discussion. They take time to look at a person’s face, study any reactions, observe surroundings, and pause when something distracts. Quotation marks in novels feel most authentic when they follow the same pattern. Dialogue should not be over or under used, but have a balance.

Hemingway however, wants to show an argument in Hills Like White Elephants. His dialogue moves at a fast clip, rapid fire answers back and forth. Often, he doesn’t add dialogue tags, which A Dash of Style says help show the passing of time in conversation. Every so often, Hemingway shakes things up, putting dialogue tags sometimes at the end or in the middle of sentences, a trick A Dash of Style says shows subtle changes. In White Elephants the man asks the girl if she wants the Anis del Toro with water. “I don’t know,” the girl said. “Is it good with water?” Although adding the dialogue tag in the middle is subtle, it gives the affect of the girl pausing, before she’s asks the man’s opinion. The pause reveals her dependent and easily swayed personality.

This leads them deeper into their discussion which turns into a sort of argument. Hemingway’s work is brilliant in that he can capture the human experience by using simple dialogue. The quotation mark is a tool he uses to conveys a type of discussion many couples have had: one person in the argument has a strong opinion and tries to subtly manipulate the other into agreeing. The rapid fire dialogue makes it feel like a genuine argument. Neither character is taking time to look around or be distracted or think about other things. They are engaged fully in their conversation.

 

 

 

 

Eloise Speaks

I’ve never thought of punctuation as giving personality to a character. Which is why when I first edited the exert, it was more of a mechanical process, putting commas in their proper places, periods, dashes, etc. For me, content was far more important than punctuation. But I think Dr. Petersen is right. Without the punctuation, the exert is too difficult to understand. The lack of punctuation, while initially a good idea, loses it’s power in confusion.

I enjoyed punctuating the part with the french tutor. Adding a colon after “Here’s what makes Philip angry” changed the entire dialogue to better depiction of Eloise’s sass. the colon sets up Eloise’s stage, preparing us for a good laugh at Philip’s expense. Also, I tried my hand at the Em Dash. I used it after “Otherwise, she has shoe-button eyes and two right-leg–She is rawther unusual.” The dash carried the message farther, adding emphasis to the final part rather then starting a whole new thought.