pretty little recap: bad ideAs across the board

5.19 Out, Damned Spot
This week's episode didn't just bring the drama, it was also full of life lessons. So grab a pencil and some paper cause you might just learn something from the liar's many mistakes...

Maybe don't give out free DNA samples when someone is trying to frame you? Photo credit: ABC Family

Pretty Little Highlights

1. One thing that wasn't a mistake in this episode was some honest-to-goodness continuity! Emily can't give blood because of her trip to Haiti. More than anything, that just gets me wondering if this was all planned and there's a very specific reason they needed Emily to be unable to give blood. I guess time will tell on that one...

2. My only other main highlight of the week was the scene between Ezra and Hanna regarding her Dad and going to college. I've said it before, but I'm really enjoying the different character interactions we're getting to see this season. This one made for a really touching scene.

Pretty Little Mistakes (a.k.a What Aria Did)

1. Let's get right into it cause there were a lot of mistakes this week--first and foremost: Girls, why are you giving blood when someone is trying to frame you for murder? That just seems like a seriously #badidea.

2. Aria cheating on a test. Oh Aria. When will you learn? A is almost definitely going to use anything stupid you do against you down the line. #badidea As a sidenote, can we talk about Andrew? That guy suddenly looks like he's 35! For a moment there I thought he was a student teacher or TA or something. I don't remember him looking that old the last time we saw him.

3. Talia is married. Oh Talia. What were you thinking? That is way too big a secret to try and keep from the girl you've been hitting on/kissing. The situation being complicated is all the more reason to tell Emily up front. Why drag her into something messed up when all Emily deserves is to have a nice, normal relationship for once. Is that really too much to ask? Keeping your marriage a secret is a #badidea Also, I don't buy "he's my BFF" as a reason for marrying a guy when you're a lesbian. Can't you just be BFFs?

4. Spencer and Jonny. This guy is clearly up to something, I just don't know what. I think the liars seriously need to stick to the tried and true guys in their lives. You know, the guys the show has already tried to convince us could be A and then proved weren't A, so they've basically been vetted for life. Between Andrew, Johnny and Talia, I think we can conclude that hanging out with someone new is a #badidea in Rosewood.

5. When a motorcycle is about to run you down, get off the road. Running in a straight line so the bike can continue to chase after you? You guessed it. It's a #badidea

6. BONUS Mistake: When Andrew says, "Do either of you drive stick?", Aria had a perfect window to say, "Well, Emily sure doesn't..." but she totally missed the mark. Dammit, Aria!

Pretty Little Mysteries

1. Not a lot of big reveals this week and not a lot of big questions, but I do find myself wondering why Hanna's extremely wealthy dad can't just pay for both girls to go to school. Cause seriously, he can afford it.

2. Where was Hot Caleb this week? Sure, I enjoyed seeing him in the short clip of video at the end, but that's just not enough Hot Caleb. #badidea giving him a week off, PLL.

3. What is Mike up to? As much as I hope he's truly up to no good, I'm starting to think that's not the case. Still, I feel like he's such a throwaway character. I want to see them go somewhere bold with him!


pretty little recap: double feAture

5.17 The Bin of Sin & 5.18 Oh, What Hard Luck Stories They All Hand Me
I'm finally at the point in my mat leave where I'm playing a bit of catch-up on appointments--haircuts, trips to the dentist, and more trips to the dentist after the x-ray revealed the beginning of a cavity and a wisdom tooth that needs to be pulled (at least it's my last one and I'll never have to go through it again!). But the most painful part is that I fell behind on my PLL viewings! But never fear, I'm all caught up and ready to recap the last two episodes in one! In honor of this PLR double digest, I'm changing up the format a bit--but only a bit--with a new section called, Pretty Little Mysteries. Now that it's here, I don't know how I've gone so long without it :)

The liars have perfected their suspicious glares. Photo credit: ABC Family

Pretty Little Highlights

1. Hooray! Aria has finally come clean about that stupid letter she wrote. And Ezra is... okay with it? No wait, he's broody. Oh Ezra, isn't it a little too late to be regretting your relationship with a highschooler now? She's almost in college. Maybe just leave things be? These two were this close to acting like a mature, adult couple for once, but then Ezra had to bring the drama.

2. The old, abandoned ice cream factory, where the major scare of the week goes down. Oh PLL, stay you. Stay you forever. Seriously, who comes up with these delicious twists?

3. Team Haleb. Seeing these two work together as such a strong duo is definitely a highlight, but I do have one reservation--there's so much A-related drama going on that we never get to see these two be fun-cute. Sure, they're continuing to express their love in terms of how far they'd go to protect each other, but I miss the days of shower hijinks and passionate Haleb makeouts. Can we have a few of those thrown in from time to time too? Or have things gotten so dire on this show that nobody has fun anymore?

4. Talia is (hopefully) not someone to worry about. With all these new mysterious characters showing up in Rosewood all the time, it's nice to see that someone might just be a legit love interest without any strings attached. That said, this is PLL, so things could change at any moment, but I'm definitely warming up to Talia. Maybe not as much as Em seems to be, but she hasn't tried to drown Em yet so I'm already a bigger fan of her than I was of Paige. Sidenote: is it just me, or does it seem like Emily takes more breaks at work (or wanders into the backroom, or messes around after hours) than she spends time actually working? I know we the viewers don't want to just watch her working, but that doesn't mean she isn't taking an exorbitant number of breaks...

Pretty Little Mistakes (a.k.a What Aria Did)

1. The flip-side of the Team Haleb coin is the Hanna's plan to begin with. Liars, repeat with me once more, tampering with evidence is never a good idea. And yet, they always try. I'm glad Hot Caleb decided to back Hanna up, because she was clearly going to go through with it either way, and at least he could help her to make fewer mistakes that she might have otherwise (love her, but this is Hanna we're talking about). I'm even happier that Copper Toby was on the scene to shut things down before Haleb could get themselves into trouble.

2. Emily, Emily, Emily. You call that an attempt to rescue you friends from freezing to death? She was behaving as though she somehow knew everything was going to work out. If I was Aria or Spencer I would be pretty pissed at Em's weak attempts to get that door open. Maybe give it a little more elbow grease next time, Em.

3. Okay, we need to talk about the hairy elephant in the room. Hot Caleb's teenstache has reached a point where it's no longer acceptable. It needed to be gone like two episodes ago. I love you to death, HC, but seriously it's time to shave the lip toupee.

4. Quick Pretty Little Mistake shoutout to Aria's leopard print chiffon dress (see above pic). Love the silhouette, hate the material. Aria, you are not welcome to the jungle.

5. Let's take a quick moment to address Spencer's college dilemma and I'll make it real simple: Spence, your mom is right. Go to college. Cause here's the thing: even when you don't know what you're going to do with your life, you don't stand to lose anything by going to college. If you change your mind later and decide to do something else with your life, you can very easily do that, but at least you will also have a college degree in your back pocket. The one thing you can't do down the line is suddenly have a college degree when you didn't go. See? Simple. Everything to gain, and nothing to lose. Just go to college.

6. Hanna may be a rebel, but she was really taking a risk when she got out of her car after the cop stop. If it'd been me, I'd have driven off when the officer appeared to have disappeared, but no, Hanna heads out into the dark with her (lead pipe?) and confronts the threat. Risky behaviour, even if she eventually come off as a bit of a badass.

Pretty Little Mysteries

1. Is Mona really in the barrel? Unless I missed something, we still don't know for sure. But Copper Toby does. Copper Toby, it's your by-the-book new career in law enforcement that first started to endear you to me, but come on, share your secrets!

2. Mona's friend, Lesli. Do you trust her? I definitely don't. There's no way Mona had a good friend that she never, not even once, mentioned to former-BFF Hanna. No way. Plus, could she have been any quicker to throw Mike under the bus?

3. Speaking of Mike (and his trick or treats--???), we once again witness the true magic of PLL--being able to take your viewer from not being sure who to suspect to definitely, absolutely, positively suspecting that Mike is not only up to something, but is definitely, absolutely, positively working with Ali. But that doesn't make him one of A's minions if you, like me, don't think Ali is A. So that's a bit of a snag in this plot, but here's what I love about the possibility that Mike is up to no good: unlike when the finger was pointed at then-Creeper Toby and Ezra, the show could actually go there with Mike. He's a minor enough character that they could make him bad without back-paddling down the road. I, for one, would love to see this happen. But again, him seeing Ali makes me think something else is happening here. I just don't know what.

4. And finally, Johnny. Oh Johnny, what the hell is up with you and your wacky inventions? This guy might as well be named plot device at this point, but here's the real mystery: since when did The Brew turn into a makeshift community centre were random weirdos can just solder away on their latest hobby project? Johnny has access to the Hastings' barn--why doesn't he just do his work there? I simply don't understand. Did Ezra sign off on this? I'm so confused.


the writer's arsenal: shiny new idea syndrome

One question people like to ask authors is, "where do you get your ideas from?", and the answer, as it should be, is usually some variation of, "where does anybody get any of their thoughts from?" Because really, ideas can come from anywhere. Sometimes they're directly inspired by something we observe, and sometimes, they just form in our brains, either while we're asleep (the "I had this crazy dream..." starting point) or they just appear out of the blue. I personally find that ideas often come to me while I'm already working on another book; something I write, or some plot twist I decide not to use, ends up inspiring a whole new story. The only problem with that is, when the new idea appears, it's suddenly all I can think about (and they always seem to come to me when I hit a creative lull and my brain is looking for something flashy and easy to divert to). When that happens, I usually force myself to jot down everything about the new idea and file it away in my idea folder before returning to my WIP. The new idea can wait its turn. (Sidebar: the word "idea" is starting to lose all meaning as a result of this first paragraph.)

Usually, I can get over the new idea hump, but sometimes, the new idea isn't just a distraction, there's something about it that really clicks, and even if my WIP isn't in a creative lull, the new idea embeds itself deep inside my brain and demands attention. That's what's happening to me right now.  It's hard because part of me is very focussed on a first this, then that mentality--I know the vital importance of staying on task while writing--but I can also look at the situation rationally and see that my WIP could wait (it is, after all, about summer camp, a topic perhaps best saved for when there isn't snow swirling outside my window). And this new idea? There's something timely about it. Unlike other new ideas I've had, I worry this one might fizzle too much if I don't breathe life into it now.

Shiny, new ideas can be dangerous. They're often the death of WIPs. A lot of writers struggle to finish writing anything because they can't stay focussed, and I'd say that 99% of the time, it's best to file new ideas away and stay on task. But the other 1% of the time, when you can't shake the shiny, new idea no matter how hard you try, it might be best to make an exception and let the new idea cut in line. I'm nervous to make the jump, because I don't want to put my WIP in jeopardy of never being finished, but I think the fact that I feel that way is a pretty good indicator that its time will come. With four novels under my belt, I'm at a point where I know I'm capable of reaching the finish line. I think I've earned a little side trip for book number five. Plus, this new idea? It's dark and devastating. Perfect for winter writing :)

Do you find you fall victim to shiny new idea syndrome? Does it keep you from finishing anything or can you set new ideas aside and stay on task?