Sunday, October 31, 2010

Writing Prompt Sunday: Be Afraid!

Let's all get excited because I actually A) remembered it was Sunday; B) remembered that I have a blog to keep up; and C)came up with a prompt. And guess what? It isn't really a Hallowe'en related prompt. Well, it's sort of kind of related. It's about fear. As a child I was always fearful of Hallowe'en. I'd been forced through too many neighborhood haunted houses and had too many people jump out of the bushes screaming when I was little to truly appreciate the fun of Hallowe'en until I became an adult. I also feared that my costumes would be lame (like the year I was a flower wearing a green leotard and pair of tights and this huge fabric flower that was starched so it would bloom out around my face, until it got humid half way through trick-or-treating and I looked more like a wilted daisy). I have very few real things that I am actually afraid of. I'm not really afraid of spiders, but have this fear of being wrapped up in spider webs. I'm not afraid of snakes. Not afraid of the boogeyman. Not afraid of black cats or saying that Scottish play's name. My fears run more into the emotional. For instance I fear being lonely (but not of being alone). I fear being lost. I fear being in very large chaotic crowds. Especially lost and lonely in very large chaotic crowds.

Sometimes when writing out characters I find that I either give them too many fears or that they are too perfect and fearless. We can't have that. I don't believe there is anyone who has no fears. So what are your characters' fears? Are they afraid of public speaking? What about falling down? Fear of flying? Fear of bats? Fear of being hit by a foul ball at a baseball game? Fear of being poor or losing all their money? How does that fear move them?

Here's the prompt: Have your character confront one of their fears. What does your character do to overcome the situation so that they can move on? What does your character learn about themselves? Has the confrontation helped or made the fear worse? Do you see your own fears reflected in your character? What would your character say about your fears?

Now how many of you are afraid of what NaNoWriMo is going to hold in store for you this year? (Not me!)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh there it is!

I had a Really Good Idea for NaNoWriMo this year. I had a plot and everything. And the more I looked at it the more I realized it was nothing more than a short story. There was no way I could turn it into 50,000 words. At max it would be 10,000. So it was back to the drawing board. And nothing was coming. Do you know the sound that nothing makes in your brain? It's sort of like playing Pong with the computer as your competition. It's full of dark empty space with the echoing plink as the pong hit the paddle. Yeah. That bad.

Usually when I get into one of these states I will head to the bookstore and just browse the back of rows of books to read their covers. It gets my mind whirling and I end up with a plot about a computer nerd, a nun and a prostitute who are trying to save the world from aliens. (Do not steal that idea. I'm planning on using it one day!) I've had this horrible desire to want to create, but lacking the, well, gumption to actually jump off the creative diving board and do it. I've been that way with my knitting as well. I want to make gorgeous Jane Thornley inspired sweaters and shawls, but I keep standing on the edge refusing to even get my toes wet. It isn't that I don't have the talent or skills or education to do those things. It's that fear of failing or not being good enough. The bookstore did nothing to help inspire me. If anything it made me feel pathetic and clueless.

That's when the wonderful words that keep coming back to me started taking over the plinking of the everlasting Pong game.

"Write what you know," my brain finally heard.
"But what do I know anything about?" I asked.
"Knitting," said the mysterious voice.
"Uh, have you forgotten that this is National Novel Writer's Month?"
"So incorporate it."
"Leave me alone. I'm enjoying my game. Plink. Plink. Plink."
"Have it your way," said the voice.
"Bzzzz. Darn it! You made me miss."

But now it is there. I've got the idea. And yes; it incorporates knitting. Well, knitting is a character really. I've got a plot with a beginning, middle and and end and it can easily become 50,000 words. I passed it by my biggest critic and she said, "Aw, Mom, that sounds like a wonderful romantic comedy that I would pay money to see as a movie." (That, by the way, is a major compliment.) So beginning Monday morning my word count will appear here. You can also follow my progress on Twitter (user name is knitcookwrite there, too).

Now to go find all that yarn for my creative shawl.

Monday, October 18, 2010

OMG run around in circles screaming, "It's almost time!"

NaNoWriMo is almost here again and this year I actually feel prepared going into it. I'm planning on posting my word count each day so those of you cheering me on can know how much further I have to that 50,000 word mark. I love NaNoWriMo. I feel free when I'm writing in a blitz like that. Just write. Don't think about it. Don't edit. Don't critique. Don't even spell check for that matter. Just sit there and write. I should write like that more often because I get really good stuff pouring out when I'm not all concerned about how it looks or reads or if it even makes sense. I think I'm hypercritical when I write leisurely.

In other news, I'm still baking away. It's fun. You should try it. I also am knitting up a storm. Have finished a few shawls and am almost finished with my hexagon socks.

I'm trying to settle on my next "thinking socks" and have a feeling I am going to lean either towards the Miss Marple socks by Star Athena or a pair of entrelac socks.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bread bread and more bread

The weather has finally started to cool off and with that I get a major bug to start baking. I was recently introduced to the book The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. I am loving the concept of slow fermenting breads. I've played a bit with this concept in the past but never to this extent. I've made several of the breads and they have been quite fun. The hardest part is that we aren't eating the bread as fast as I can make it and most of the recipes come in two loaf variations. This is a delightful large book filled with fabulous recipes. Reinhart talks of bread as though he is wooing it. It is near poetic erotica how he speaks of bread and describes it. Just reading his description of crumb and crust will make you salivate and yearn to get your hands into flour. I highly recommend this book for any true bread lover. Oh and just a word of caution. If you make poolish and put it in a 1 quart jar because it fits and then you forget to put it in the fridge after a few hours you will come home to find poolish all over the counter, down into the draw that houses your bags and wraps, inside the door of the baking pans and in a puddle on the floor. The next day when you go to use said poolish you will only have enough for one large loaf of bread. I don't think you need to ask me how I know this.

The biggest problem that I am having with some of the wetter breads like the ciabatta is that I'm not getting the nice big open holes that these breads are known for. Mine tend to have a really nice crumb and great taste, but I'm missing the holey experience. I'm thinking that I am handling them too much between letting them rise on the cloths and putting them on the pants. The next time I make one of these I am going to let it do a final rising after they are on the pans and see if I am just degassing them too much when I move them to the pans. My friends are enjoying my efforts (though I think that their waistlines are not).

My last bread I made was a lovely egg enriched challah which had just the most wonderfully tender insides. It made you just want to use it for a pillow and it was quite delicious. I have several loaves to make for this upcoming weekend and I am going to make sure that this is one of them.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Don't faint - it's a post (and a writing prompt)

Yeah, sorry about being gone for so long. Life sort of got in the way there a bit and I've been so busy with various projects and events that blogging took a back seat. I've got a blog planned for tomorrow that includes a bit about baking and later this week I intend to catch up on my knitting and writing projects. But this is Sunday and Sundays are my writing prompt days. So here goes:

Your character's best friend is having a birthday. How is it celebrated? What does your character buy or make for their BFF? Why? What is the point of the gift? What does this tell you about your character?

See you tomorrow!