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Showing posts from September, 2012

Maternity Leave :)

Just wanted to explain my recent (and forthcoming) absence--Baby E was born Tuesday night.  We'll be prioritizing all the new baby awesomeness and a little writing--and considering the next few weeks maternity leave.  Have fun without us!

Recipes for Writers: Turkish Lentil Soup

Writers have to balance their time effectively--we spend too much time in other worlds to waste on fussy recipes in our kitchens (unless we *want* to.  For funsies).  So, a quick, easy, freezable, delicious soup to get you through fall:

Why is this good for writers?  It involves minimal prep work--chop an onion and mince some garlic.  You can handle that in the ten minute break you need between writing scenes, right?  And then it just...simmers.  You can enjoy delicious smells wafting from your kitchen while you edit, right?

1 stick of butter (oh yeah, butter!)
1 large or 2 little onions
6 cloves garlic
3 cups lentils (standard size bag)
12 cups vegetable broth or stock (or--I use Better than Boullion soup base.  Much cheaper unless you've made your own veg stock)
6 oz can tomato paste (the little can)
Spices: 2 t each cumin, red pepper flakes, paprika, salt, black pepper
Herbs: 3 T each mint, oregano, parsley (I use extra mint!)

First, stop writing.  Find a problem to work out wi…

Friday Reads: The Great Gatsby

This week--one of those books that, really, has anyone *not* read given its proliferation in high school reading lists?

Genre: The American Classic

By: Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. Yes, he was named for the fella who wrote The Star Spangled Banner.

What's it about?  Privileged people and the tangled webs they weave.  And nearly crippling emotional issues and partying.  (I kept wanting a glass of Champagne while reading--I mean, all the characters got to have fancy cocktails!)

Why did I pick it? Two reasons--I haven't read it since high school and remembered enjoying it then, and with the film adaptation in the works, it came to mind.  That, and my husband was glued to the Bears/Packers game last night and I needed something to do.  This was handy.

Who will like it?  It's not pacey, it's not high-action, but it's still engrossing if you like digging into characters and a little bit of intrigue borne out of shadowy pasts.  When we talk "plot driven" vs "c…

Show Your Work

If your math classes were anything like mine, there was one golden rule:  You had to show your work.  When ferreting out the value of x, you couldn't just slap the answer on the page--you had to show each painstaking step of stripping the equation down to the answer.  And sometimes this took line upon college-ruled line.

OK, so math homework could be a little anal.  What does this have to do with writing?

Quite a bit, I'm finding.  I keep reminding myself as I write and revise my current project that I need to show my work to my reader--that the reader doesn't know anything unless I tell them or lead them to discover it.

Writing a story is kind of like knowing the answer to a math problem already.  You know your characters, the plot (well, most of it, anyway...), the conflicts, the ending.  You know the details--why Susan is shy around strangers, why Bob is afraid of spiders, why no one can see the ghost in the attic except for Aunt Bessie.  Some of those details you keep…

Friday Reads: Einstein's Dreams

Something entirely different this Friday:

Genre: I think the only moniker that could possibly work is literary fiction.

By: Alan Lightman

What's it about?  It's 1905, a young Einstein has just written 26 pages that will become his theory of relativity, and he's been thinking about time.  A lot.  The short vignettes that make up the book each explore a world in which time functions or is perceived differently.

Why did I pick it? I had to read this for a class in college, and it stuck with me, so I decided to reread it.

Who will like it?  If you like to ask "what if?" and appreciate a more literary style of prose (not dense--just a definite and deliberate use of language for beauty as well as function).  You'll probably have thought of some of these scenarios before, and some will be new, but all are approached in such an intimate, human-based, emotional manner that it feels like genuine exploration either way.  It's not a science book, despite the fact that it…

The Seamstress Writes: Starting a Project

You know I write.  My other odd obsession?  Sewing.  (There's a blog about that here.)  I'm starting a new sewing project, and I got to thinking about how the different types of inspiration for a new project can be pretty similar, whether written or stitched.

I get inspired by a lot of different "stages" of a project.  Sometimes what sets me off are the basics--the bones of the story or the garment.  For this gown it was all about the construction.  I knew exactly what I wanted the basic drape and shape of the gown to be.  This is kind of like when you get an idea that's all about storyline--you already know the plot before you sit down to write.  Honestly, this kind of project can be a lot easier to tackle, because the hard questions are answered--what do I do first?  What do I do after that?

Other times, I'm inspired to start a story or a garment based on something a little more vague.  Maybe I just love a fabric and want to use it--somehow.  Maybe I have…