Archive for October 2020

Character Talk   18 comments

Do you embrace dialog or narrate your way around it? Why?

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Dialogue

I love dialogue and often my first draft of a scene will be nothing more than dialogue. I’ve said before that my writing process is essentially my characters telling me their stories, but often their way of telling a story is to have me listen in on dialogue.

Due Out October 20

After I’ve written that very initial draft, I go back in and add narrative to make the scene more approachable. Those conversations in my head almost never have the room they’re in, the clothes they’re wearing, the image of sunlight slanting through a window. It’s just words.

Most of human interaction involves talking with one another, so it makes sense that fictional characters would interact via dialogue. I’ve read some books that were almost entirely narrative and that can get tiresome to slog through after a while. I definitely embrace dialogue.

However

You can do too much of a good thing.

When I first started submitting my work to beta critique, someone commented “You really like dialogue!”

That’s all he said. There was no negative connotations to it, but his comment bothered me. I thought about it. I reread the section he was commenting on and I realized that too much of a good thing can bore the reader. Even with the bits of narrative interwoven in the conversations, it was just this wall of talking and I had to ask myself if it was really necessary.

I came to the conclusion that it isn’t always useful to embrace dialogue. Now, I sometimes rewrite dialogue into narrative to break up the scene and give readers relief from so much talking. Think about when you fly over the Midwest and watch the landscape unroll beneath you. Is it the miles upon miles of alternating corn fields that get your attention or the occasional field that does something different? I know I wonder about the different field so much more than the ubiquitous corn fields.

Variety is the spice of life and writing and if I’m reading through the third draft and I’m getting tired of Ben and Peter still trying to work out the repair of their friendship by talking about what Ben can’t forgive and Peter can’t take back, well, then I might just entertain the reading audience with Peter’s thoughts on the conversation rather than a repeat of a similar conversation. I don’t want them rolling their eyes and skipping the conversation where Ben thaws and Peter assures him he won’t regret the decision — although this being Peter, there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to keep his promise of good future behavior — he has a history, after all. Still, Peter means well and despite his character deficiencies, he can have some pretty funny thoughts about his conversations with Ben.

Mix It Up

I think good writing has a mix of styles in it and too much of any one style can get boring. That doesn’t mean you need to abandon one type of writing in favor of another. It’s means writing shouldn’t be a monoculture where books are almost entirely narrative or almost entirely dialogue. I prefer dialogue over narrative, but I dial it back for variety’s sake and I think that’s a good decision.

When all is said and done, I want to write approachable books that keep readers turning the page.

Posted October 19, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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The Fruit is Mine   Leave a comment

Magical World Web

October 12,2020
What is your favorite fruit dish? Can you share a recipe for it? Do you include food in your stories? While we’re talking about food, pumpkin, yea or nay?

What a fun topic this week! Well, for me. My household is divided on the consumption of fruit. My husband maintains that fruit should not be cooked. It should be consumed in original form. Which is fine. I didn’t marry him for his fruity opinions. I, on the other hand, like the fruit. I like it in all kinds of forms.

As far as my favorite, ya’ll know I don’t do many favorites in general. What might be my favorite fruit dish in the morning could change by late afternoon. It’s not that I can’t make up my mind, it’s just that I don’t like to limit myself in that way. I’ve love key lime pie for several of…

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Posted October 14, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

NVDT #60 – Fruits, Pumpkins, and Story Food   Leave a comment

Not Very Deep Thoughts

PART OF OPEN LINK BLOG HOP

Prompt – What is your favorite fruit dish? Can you share a recipe for it? Do you include food in your stories? While we’re talking about food, pumpkin, yea or nay?

My favorite fruit dish is pictured above. Not just apples, but lots of different fruits. In that format. You see fruits and I are at an impasse. I don’t like to peel and slice and do all that. Like I lived in Hawaii one summer and man, I loved the fruit bowls. That someone else prepped. And the easy ones, like strawberries, I enjoyed those as a kid, but now they gross me out. Same with all the little blue ones. Used to pick those with my grandmother and turn my face purple. No more. Thesis – My idea of good fruit is the juicy, chunky stuff that someone else has to prep.

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Posted October 14, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop – Food, glorious food!   Leave a comment

What is your favorite fruit dish? Can you share a recipe for it? Do you include food in your stories? While we’re talking about food, pumpkin, yea or nay?

My favourite fruit dish is apple pie. I particularly like the recipe given to me by my husband’s grandmother which has a very unusual and tasty sweet pastry.

If you would like the recipe, you will find it at the end of my free Sir Chocolate story book here: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/free-story-the-marzipan-witch-and-the-golden-swan/. In case you don’t know, Robbie’s Inspiration is my baking and fondant art blog.

I do have a tendency to include food quite often in my stories. Why wouldn’t I? People do most of their socialising over meals – well, they do in my family and among my friends group.

I included apple pie in Through the Nethergate when Henry Scarle, a ghost who has recently reincarnated as a result…

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Posted October 14, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop – 12th October   1 comment

Stevie Turner

What is your favorite fruit dish? Can you share a recipe for it? Do you include food in your stories? While we’re talking about food, pumpkin, yea or nay?

I’m not really a foodie. I don’t like cooking, and hate spending any more time in the kitchen than I need to. I eat plain food, lean meat and lots of steamed vegetables, that cook themselves and leave me to get on with other things (such as writing) while they’re cooking.

Therefore my favourite fruit dish would be a piece of fruit that I can take from the fridge, and this piece of fruit would be an orange.

Oranges have so much goodness in them. They are full of Vitamin C which helps stave off colds and ‘flu by boosting the immune system. Oranges help to prevent skin damage and keep blood pressure under check. They lower cholesterol, control blood sugar…

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Posted October 14, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

My Favorite Fruit Dish #OpenBook Blog Hop   Leave a comment

October 12, 2020 What is your favorite fruit dish? Can you share a recipe for it? Do you include food in your stories? While we’re talking about food, pumpkin, yea or nay? Throw a bunch of di…

Source: My Favorite Fruit Dish #OpenBook Blog Hop

Posted October 14, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Apple Crumble, need I say more   Leave a comment

Richard Dee’s Blog Post

Posted October 14, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Speaking as a Fruit Bat   12 comments

What is your favorite fruit dish? Can you share a recipe for it? Do you include food in your stories? While we’re talking about food, pumpkin, yea or nay?

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Favorites

I love fruit. Growing up in Alaska, our selections were few – apples (red or golden delicious), oranges (navels), bananas – and whatever was available in the canned fruit section. I still loved it, but enough visits outside informed me that we were being gyped in the fruit department.

The construction of the TransAlaska Pipeline brought a lot of changes here, including dozens of varieties of apples, several types of oranges, melons, plums, peaches, kiwis – and etc. I love it all so much that at one of the construction companies I worked for, my nickname was “the fruit bat” and the guys knew fresh fruit was an acceptable bribe to get me to do their paperwork special. I’d say my favorite are Bing cherries, but a tart crisp apple or red grape is a close second.

Fresh fruit is still expensive here (thanks to the Jones Act), so I still use canned or frozen fruit a lot. It’s not as good, but it’s affordable. I’ll include some recipes at the end of the article.

Setting the Scene

Yes, I use food in my books because it helps to set a stage. For example, in Life As We Knew It, the one book of Transformation Project that occurs before the apocalypse gets underway, I include a lot of food that is (or was, pre-Covid) available. It conveys the richness of the world my characters take for granted and are about to be jerked from. In my latest WIP in that series, I describe a meal Shane eats. It’s simple, it’s small, it’s what a starving world considers a feast. I think food plays a similar role to clothes in world-building. It’s a condiment that must be sprinkled lightly, but makes all the difference in the flavor of the setting.

I like pumpkin, sort of. I love pumpkin pie and I have both pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookie recipes. But please don’t put it in my latte (shudders!), or my smoothie. I don’t get the attraction. There are just some culinary Rubicons I don’t wish to cross.

Recipes

My absolutely favorite fruit recipe is simply cut-up fruit in a bowl tossed with a little sugar and a dash of salt or sometimes mixed with yogurt. It’s whatever is available in the produce aisle. Sometimes I add crushed walnuts for variety.

A family favorite is called ambrosia salad. Because I usually make this for the holidays when fresh fruit is limited and expensive here, I base it on fruit cocktail, preferably the chunky variety. I add apples and bananas and sometimes walnuts and it’s all folded into a bowl of homemade whip-cream, with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Alaska blueberries are smaller and tarter than their Lower 48 variety. They have 10 times the antioxidants too. They grow on the hills north of town and in the bogs south of town. They’re not really the same berry, but you really can’t tell the difference between what we call blueberries and what the scientists call bog berries.

We pick our blueberries by hand from our cabin site north of town. We clean them of debris and freeze them on aluminum trays, then store them in the freezer like peas. You can pop the top on the container and roll out a handful into a bowl and put the rest back. I don’t make them into jam or jelly because I really don’t like sweet stuff and it’s too much work — all that cooking and jarring.

For me, a slice of toast with butter on it is more appealing than toast and jam — except — my husband puts our frozen blueberries on toast with honey and warms them in the toaster oven. The thawed blueberries and juice mix with the honey and — yummo.

There’s a local ice cream stand (only open in the summer, but you can buy from their factory all winter) called Hot Licks that makes Alaska blueberry ice cream. I don’t know how they make it, but I willingly plunk down $5 for a cone.

And, no, we don’t add our Alaska blueberries to the ambrosia salad because the juice turns the whip cream an unappetizing purple. We all agreed that was a bad idea that guests wouldn’t understand.

Posted October 12, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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NVDT #59 – Who Dat Say Who Dat?   Leave a comment

Not Very Deep Thoughts

PART OF OPEN LINK BLOG HOP

Prompt – When writing a sequel or series with the same characters, do you ever have to refer back to your first book because you forgot what you wrote about a certain character?

Are you kidding? Forget serials, (of which I have one in the dumpster and one that could become a series), I have trouble keeping track of who’s who in a single book. Which is why I use Scrivener. There’s a great search function and this ­­–

A handy folder in the binder labeled ‘Characters’.

I know people who have dropped library headshots, lengthy bios, materials owned (houses, cars, ranchettes, airplanes, designer clothes and accessories…). I don’t go to extremes. But having a given location where I can hit up the cast when I can’t remember someone and don’t want to drop a placeholder till I can find them is a real…

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Posted October 5, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Creating a Series Book Bible #OpenBook Blog Hop   Leave a comment

October 5, 2020 When writing a sequel or series with the same characters, do you ever have to refer back to your first book because you forgot what you wrote about a certain character? When I sta…

Source: Creating a Series Book Bible #OpenBook Blog Hop

Posted October 5, 2020 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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