Monthly Archive: November 2017

A Legal But Highly Addictive Drug

One of the most enjoyable parts of writing is when a character takes a story in an unexpected direction. I just had that happen in a big way. If you are not a writer, you might not know what I mean. It might seem that the actual writing process should have no surprises. You work out the basic plot, you flesh it out with some additional detail, then you sit down and type the story, filling in the prose like a painter painting by numbers. And for some writers, it might actually work like that.

But for many of us, not so much. Writing, at least really good writing, means getting yourself into the heads of the characters. Their actions, reactions, dialog, all become lived things, organically created from events as they unfold. And that means sometimes a meticulously planned plot point gets tossed out the window when it bumps up against how your character would plausibly react in a given situation.

When this happens, when your plot comes into conflict with your characters, the only choice (in my opinion) is to defer to the character and change the plot. The most carefully fashioned story will collapse if the characters are not believable, if the reader cannot identify with them. If your characters don’t want to follow your plot outline, they are sending you a message: You are writing the wrong story.

This just happened to me.

The Apocalypse Contract has reached a critical juncture in the plot. Multiple threads are coming together, secrets are being revealed, and we are about to dive into the exciting race to the conclusion. My main characters are well defined, and I know where the story is going.

Then, as I start a new chapter, I think: Maybe I should write this one from the perspective of this minor character. So I do.

Holy crap.

Suddenly this minor character has taken on a critical importance. Their inner monologue reveals capabilities and secrets nobody else suspects. It opens up potential for a whole new direction going forward, and the concept is TOTALLY FREAKING AWESOME.

You know that feeling you get when you’re reading a book or watching a movie and it hits you with a plot twist that you weren’t expecting, but it feels totally right and punches you in the gut with a visceral feeling of satisfaction?

Yeah… writers get that too. And if anything, its far more intense when creating a story than reading it. It’s why we do it. Basically we are junkies that have found a legal drug. Honestly, if you are not writing because you are addicted to writing, you are probably doing it for the wrong reasons (there are easier ways to get a paycheck).

That’s all I got.

Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie (sort of)

Yesterday’s Kitchen Experiment: Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie (sort of)

  1. Dice up two carrots and a sweet potato into a pot of of water. Boil until veggies become very soft. Mash up the veggies with potato masher (or large spoon).
  2. Simultaneously, brown some ground turkey in a pan. Add sliced, fresh mushroom. Spice with garlic and Herbes de Provence. Cook a few more minutes.
  3. Add the turkey and mushrooms to water / carrot /sweet potato mixture. Add additional spices if desired (you can’t go wrong with garlic).
  4. Add a cup of milk. Bring back to a low boil. Mix in dried potato flakes until it thickens nicely. Should be stiff enough to make a small sculpture of Devils Tower.
  5. Sprinkle grated cheese on top (your choice). Garnish with some parsley flakes. Put the lid on the pot and turn off the heat, wait a few minutes for the cheese to melt.

Recommended Sides: Steamed broccoli, asparagus, or brussel sprouts.
Pair with an amber ale or a white wine (like a Pinot Noir). Or not… Drink what you want, I’m not your parent.