Soup, like a story, is always better when you give it time to develop. You need to let it sit and simmer for a while to get all the full-bodied flavor out of the characters...or vegetables. So remember to take a little time with your p(l)ot--let it stew inside your head. This added time will help thicken the story...or broth.
So you see, a good pot of soup is just like a good story.
After you have your idea, think about your characters. Make sure you make them multi-dimensional, complex, and--mostly--imperfect. Otherwise they will be predictable and bland. No one wants a boring soup or a one-dimensional story. Everyone has flaws so remember to throw in a few quirks and complications, it will spice up your characters.
After you finish your story, let it sit for a few days then go back and get another little taste from the p(l)ot. You might discover some things you'd forgotten, or see mistakes you never noticed. You might even realize a few ways you can fit some of those pieces together better than before with only a small sprinkling of salt...or a bit of new information.
So I hope I've helped you see that "The Joy Of Writing" can be comfort food for the writer's soul and add spice to your story for the benefit of your reader.
So, the next time you're cooking up a pot of soup, think of character, and when you're sitting down to a savory cup of alphabet soup, think about those words. How can we use them to make our stories richer, tastier and more ful...filling?
People say "time heals". I don't know if that's true, but it sure "helps" when it comes to thickening the broth of your soup and it will do even more to make your story rich and tasty.
I have goals for the week: writing goals. I want to start a new story, get a few thousand words on the page, and compose my character outlines. Which kind of makes me think of soup.
Yep, that's what I said, word soup and character chowder. I don't want to merely spew strings of letters together on a page and hope they form a story. I want to create a medley of flavors using multiple ingredients. Every word needs to move the story forward and every character has to be multi-dimensional.
I draw a lot of my characters from real life--or at least many of their personality traits, mannerisms, and overall character. I doubt anyone knows people who are only one-dimensional. Of course there are stereotypes, or people who seem to be more one thing than another. But most people are very complex. I learned this fact studying psychology back in college and earning my degree only taught me that there was way more to learn than I had time for in four years.
Anyway, who wants to eat plain potato soup? We all want a little variety...(some salt, pepper, dill, garlic, maybe even a little cilantro or fennel) after all, that is the spice in our lives and in our stories.
So, how do we make a word soup that is tasty...?
Come back tomorrow and I'll give you a few tips that I use when I'm writing.
I love dark red fingernail polish--especially when it gets close to Halloween. So, when I saw these colors I nearly went crazy and had to have them. I even bought an extra set for a friend. Plus, they came with a black lace cuff band--way too kewl.
Plus for a present, I added a little pumpkin basket and some nail files. What a way to start a holiday.
Succotash is usually a corn and lima bean mixture and everyone probably has their own recipe for Succotash but mine starts with produce from my garden. I have a little urban garden where I grow flowers and vegetables organically. So, when I'm feeling like a little succotash I go outside and pick a zucchini or two and some tomatoes. Then I chop them up and put them in my cast iron skillet with some olive oil and minced garlic. I add a couple tablespoons of butter to the mix and slowly heat them until the zucchini looks semi-translucent. It is so EZ and even more yummy.
Everyone should take time to Stop and Smell the Roses, um, Dill Weed.
Dill is really an edible herb and not a flower. But, if you let it go to seed, it is a pretty delicate blossom of yellow yumminess, plus the aroma that comes off this plant whenever you brush up against it, is sinfully delicious Chocolate Cosmos is pretty but the thing I really like about this flower is the aroma. Yep, you guessed it: chocolate. Like candy for the eyes and nose, these little buds make you want to eat them right up. A great aroma therapy for a woman at that certain time of the month--and no needless calories ;) Balloon Flowers I think you can see why. The little blossoms billow up like a puffed up ball of air, right before they open into the beautiful flowers they are. I like to watch all the stages.
another year... and still no book on the shelves...(sigh)...
well, Leslie Gore made this video back in my day. The thing I love about those "good old days" was...well, look at the backup dancers. They look like real people. They don't look perfect or rail thin--they look like real women. Those were the days.
I don't want to be a Debbie Downer so I'm going to try to focus on the milestone...yet to achieve
and remember who I share my b-day with:
H.G. Wells, Larry Hagman, Bill Murray, Faith Hill & Riki Lake.
But, there's one person more important than all these celebs...
And I'm lucky to share more than my birthday with him ;)
I love movies in 3-D, even though I can't handle a lot of motion in movies. The Blair Witch made me sick - all that hopping and bobbing of the camera - but 3-D I can handle. And I love horror movies--always have. I remember watching Night of the Living Dead back in the 70's and it kept me awake all night. Ever since that day, I've loved zombie movies: 28 Days Later, Resident Evil (RE), Zombieland. I enjoyed them all and all for different reasons. That's why I wanted, and waited, to see Resident Evil-After Life in 3-D.
So, it might not be what your family thinks of as a great family film, but heck, if we were all the same, life would be boring.
So anyway, we headed off to the movies beneath gray cloudy skies that soon turned to cold Portland rain--perfect weather for a little zombie Apocalypse entertainment. So with a bucket of popcorn and an icee we sat huddled together in the dark theater to watch Alice come back to fight another day. And did she ever fight. That was my one complaint about the movie. She was a little too perfect--even for me. This was definitely not the best of the RE movies but still worth the $11.00 bucks--at matinee prices. It was $7.00 for the matinee price and $4.00 for the 3-D glasses, which we recycled afterward, in the handy receptacles outside the theater exit. I'm sure the theater will reuse the glasses - but what was I going to do with them? So we turned them back in. I'd rather be green.
Anyway, if you're a zombie movie fan like me, I think you'll like the show. If you see it, let me know.
September is a crazy month in our family. Crazy because of all the birthdays.
We had to spend the day doing birthday things because it was Kara and Jake's birthday about a week ago, it was my niece's birthday yesterday and another niece's birthday tomorrow. Crazy.
So, we all went to see one of my favorite things: zombies. Resident Evil After Life in 3-D. I just love Alice and Claire kicking butt all over the screen. I love any movie that has a strong female character and this movie had two or three, so it had me at ... Hello, my name is Alice.
Then we went out to dinner and my crazy kids tried to bug me by ruining my photos but it was a photo sabotage fail... I had the waiter snap a photo for me--I won!
My MIL is a breast cancer survivor and when she called and asked if I was doing the Race for the Cure - I said, "Ummm . . . yeah." And, now I am.
My husband, me and my MIL will be on the streets of Portland on Saturday morning. We're only going to be doing the one mile walk but we're hoping to spread the word and hopefully have a wonderful time along the way.
It will be a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning.
These races always start at the butt-crack of dawn. I mean, it's an ungodly time that you have to get up and get going to be a part of these "fun"d raisers. If only they could start at noon. Then, I wouldn't look sooooo tired. But they are still loads of laughter and lots of fun.
I always figured opera was for old people. . .old stuffy people...
I mean opera is boring--right...? That's why I'd never even thought about going to an opera before. No interest.
My husband, on the other hand, loves all sorts of music and, I guess, classical is an easy stepping stone away from opera. Anyway, he's even been teaching himself Italian so that he'll understand what's going on when he listens to those operas . . . on the radio.
Anyway, when he heard about The Marriage of Figaro being performed in Portland, (in English) he wanted to go. I simply laughed and went around the house singing, "Figaro, Figaro, Figaro."
He shook his head and rolled his eyes, "That's not this opera, that's in the Barber of Seville."
Like I would know.
Anyway, my husband won the coin toss so we spent Friday night at the opera.
I don't know what I really expected but it wasn't this.
The Marriage of Figaro is a romantic comedy that made me laugh out loud. The actors were all amazing even though it was a Student Opera at Portland State University put on at the Portland Actors Conservatory. Tickets were only $12.00. And, believe me, it would have been a bargain at $30-$60 per ticket. It was four hours of continuous entertainment. Just imagine . . . singing for four hours. It was a wonderful show and my only complaint was that the performance, like I said, was four hours.
Four hours is just too long for me to sit still (even though we had two intermissions). By the time I got up out of my seat to head home, my butt was sore. Even with a sore behind, I would go see another opera - as long as it's in English. But, first I'll have to go see Resident Evil.
Who doesn't like herb-roasted chicken and potatoes? Everyone in my family loves to eat 'em and fennel smells so sweet and fragrant--like licorice--and since my husband loves fennel, I have a lot of it growing in my garden.
Sometimes I have to work to think up ways to use fennel. But a friend told me about a lemon fennel chicken she had for dinner and I thought, "I can do that."
So, I did.
I added my own little twist to the dish: garlic and parsley, plus some kosher salt to spice up the dish.
To get started, I went out to the garden and picked the fennel and parsley, plus (in my opinion) you can never have too many tomatoes so I grabbed a few of those. Then I rinsed off the garden goodies and chopped up the parsley and fennel. My husband squeezed some fresh lemon over the herb mixture and cut up the chicken breasts to make a nice pocket for stuffing my herbs inside.
We stuffed the chicken breasts with our herb mixture and added some fresh chopped garlic. Of course we had to add a little extra salt and pepper but you could add whatever spices you like. Then we baked the chicken at 400 for about a half hour (next time I will cover the chicken in foil. That will help cut down on the dish washing and seal the moisture inside the chicken. Plus, I (meaning my husband) chopped up some red potatoes, drizzled olive oil over them and mixed in some onion soup mix. When the potatoes were well-coated, I baked them on 350 for about an hour.
Then I chopped up some fresh fruit for a little fruit salad and made some homemade lemon ice-tea. I even added some lemon zest to the brew and it was really yummy.
This dinner took a little longer than I usually spend during the work week but with my husband's help it was fun and turned out oh-so-tasty. I hope you'll try it.
Okay, maybe I think this is the best salad in the world because I think cherry tomatoes are like bite-size bits of wonderfulness. Or like healthy candy.
But, here's how I put this salad together.
I went out to the garden and picked about 3 to 4 cups of cherry tomatoes.
Then I rinsed them off (even though they are organically grown) I still soaked them for a few minutes. Then I sliced them in half, added about 1 and 1/2 cups of Calamata Olives (pitted) And one pint of mozzarela cheese, in small ball shapes.
I tossed them together and whipped up some balsamic vinegar, olive oil and kosher salt salad dressing like this:
Take one-fourth cup olive oil 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon of salt (shake the liquid mixture up then pour over the salad)
All three of these 2X4s are the same, well...if you use a little elbow grease to uncover the beauty
It's true. Old wood is beautiful - when you strip away the years of dirt, grime and use.
Reusing is simple - if you simply think ahead or . . . behind.
It all comes from the past. Why not look to local scrap yards, recycling centers and the past to recycle, reduce, and reuse?
One way is to reuse old lumber. And old-growth wood is much higher quality than new lumber. So, you will be saving a tree, reducing the waste in our landfills, and saving a little money (or green) at the same time.
My husband sanded down some old wood to make some new garden chairs. I'll post the finished product when he's done and I can hardly wait...
The symbolic end of summer has arrived. I don’t know why we celebrate the end of summer. I’m in mourning, plus we didn’t even have much of a summer this year. This was an unusually cold summer—at least here in Oregon.
Plus, why do we celebrate the return to school and the hurried life of families everywhere with baseball games, picnics, barbeques, hikes and apple pie—well that’s the traditional way to celebrate.
I prefer to spend my time in the garden and reading. After all, the “school” year is moving into full swing again and we’ll be rushing around from here on out.
Kids might feel a little depressed knowing this is the last weekend of summer vacation and parents might get a little depressed heading off to the store to pick up school supplies and clothes for the kids. But some people might find comfort in knowing Labor Day is the beginning of the NFL season.
Plus, we might want to remember to celebrate our fashion-forward-freedom. At least we don’t have to follow the same rules our parents did. Did you know, it used to be considered a fashion faux pas to wear white after Labor Day? Not today.
September 5, 1882 was the first Labor Day celebration in the United States and it started in New York City but it didn’t become a federal holiday until 1894.
It all started with the Pullman Strike and deaths of numerous workers. Labor Day was a way to end the conflict and help mend fences.
I say whatever reason we can use to have a three-day weekend, I’m all for it.
I've always been a dog person - not so big on cats...until Sparks. She was a smart cat--just look at her waiting for a feathered friend to appear. Luke picked her out at the pet store. She was laying in the back of the cage, one big ball of fur--so calm and peaceful he just had to have her. The year was 1994 so he was only 5 or 6 at the time. And Sparks was always Luke's cat. Of course we all loved her but she was his favorite pet of all time.
Monday, Jacob found her. She'd gotten into a fight--probably with a raccoon during the night. And, Sparks probably thought she could take that raccoon because she was used to bossing two dogs around the house but she couldn't. And, now we're all remembering . . .
Back-to-school is just around the corner: the official end of summer and with it is The Bike Commute Challenge here in Portland, Oregon. It's a friendly competition to see who can get the most people riding their bikes (or doing a "bike commute") to work during the month of September.
A "bike commute" can be:
* Riding both ways to work by bicycle * Riding one way to work by bicycle (and the other way by any other mode) * Riding part way to work by pairing biking with transit, driving or any other mode
I plan to be riding my bike to and from work and I'm hoping others will join me.
JUNE 1st - SCHMOOZE, 9:30 a.m. - noon ? Vancouver - Clark County Children's Writers and Illustrators Our next schmooze is scheduled for Saturday, June 1st at 9:30 a.m. at the Cascade Park Library ? 600 NE 136th Ave. Vancouver, WA. 98664. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Vicki Lindstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org. ?
June 29, 2013 - MAKING YOUR FIRST PAGES SHINE with Chronicle Editor Melissa Manlove - this Rogue Valley Connection workshop is in Ashland. See website: www.scbwior.com/events for more details.
June 8, 2013 - Our FIRST SE PORTLAND schmooze is scheduled for Saturday, June 8th at 10:30 a.m. at the Holgate Library, a branch of the Multnomah County Libraries. This is your chance to Meet and Greet the Co-RAs, ask them questions, and get acquainted with each other. We will meet in the meeting room at the Holgate Library ? 7905 SE Holgate Blvd, Portland. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Carol Bloemen at email@example.com ?
SCBWI - The Great Critique - July 20th at Tabor Space
Thanks for visiting my site. "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." DC Talk