Sunday, November 25, 2012

Turkey Tales and a brief hiatus

As the title implies, I'm going to have to take a brief hiatus. I'm trying to do too many things all at once and it's not working, so don't expect to hear anything from me for the next two weeks or so. In fact, probably not until the Hobbit comes out. I'll still be reading other blogs, just not commenting as much. I'm going into lurker mode.

But before I go, I thought I'd share an odd bit of wisdom for you WriMos who might be having a hard time sealing the deal in the final stretches. You all are going to love this advice.

People make mistakes.

(I told you you'd love it).

Sometimes we make great big mistakes, and sometimes we make stupid mistakes that take us out of the game. A hesitation, a stumble, a dropped priceless piece of mars, you name it--it happens. But it just wouldn't be a story if I wasn't attacked by food.

Turkey salad anyone?

So there I was on the morning of Thanksgiving with a surprisingly small list of stuff to bring. Usually I've got bird duty and other sundry items (sauce, potatoes of the orange variety, potatoes of the smashed variety, salad, you know, the whole freakin feast?), but this year I had just three items: vegetable of choice, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Not taxing.

I did my workout (nothing like jogging for twenty minutes before eating a 3,000 calorie meal to reintroduce someone to the meaning of pointless), and put on the potatoes. After they finished cooking, I poured out the water, added some butter and started on my smashing duties.

Now, at this point I feel like I should mention that I'm actually a good cook (funny that I can call myself a good cook, but I shy away from using those positive words to describe my writing). In fact, I've made all manner of dishes and sometimes randomly try out recipes for fun. So I went about my business smashing my potatoes by hand, as I have for many years.

Then I thought, "Wait, why am I supplying elbow grease when I have power tools?" Admittedly, the hand blender is new. We always want to play with our new toys. For the record, do not use a high speed blenders on potatoes. I stuck that blender in, and I ground my way right down to the bottom of the stack of potatoes, but when I moved the blender to another location, a doughy tendril of potato stuck out like something from call of C'thulu (some spuds are older than others).

That was my first hint of not good. I pulled some of the doughy stuff out and remembered that starches could in fact be made into that sticky stuff that holds bread together. Oops. Well, at this point all I could do was add more milk and hope that the potatoes wouldn't acquire a texture too much like bread dough. I surrendered my blender, picked up the smashing tool and smashed.

The dough-like potatoes lubricated the bottom of the bowl and the rest came leaping out, somehow launching the milk right at me. My ninja like reflexes kicked in, and all but my shoes avoided the splashback of milk. I caught the bowl before it could disgorge it's contents, and all was right in the world. Well, all except that giant milk stain on my trainers. Seriously, I don't know what people are on about when it comes to milk baths, but I can honestly say, it did not improve the skin on my toes for being soaked in it.

So yeah, throw a mistake or two into your MC's life. After all, if we were all perfect, we'd never have to mop the kitchen floor. I don't know about you all, but I'm much more likely to murder my steam mop from overuse than neglect.


  1. Lol! Well, I hope it all turned out and you had a fun thanksgiving. :)

  2. I'm too lazy to hand mash, much less work out before Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoy your lurker mode, we all need a break sometime.

  3. if life was perfect it would be boring! same with our story =)
    will miss your wit =) see you when you return!

  4. Oh my gosh... I'm totally laughing here... but I love how you tied it into writing advice. It's a GREAT angle. Seriously too fun, Rena!

  5. I avoid cooking because every day would be like that in my kitchen - Hubby gets the job instead :-D

  6. Have fun with your break! I took the whole month of November off. Now I'm trying to figure out what's going on :) haha

  7. Ha! I've been there. I consider myself a good cook, too, but not a great writer. Funny how we're picky that way! Enjoy your break. I'll miss your posts :)

  8. Nice. I know what you mean about adding mistakes. I heard an agent talk once, where she said that you need to let bad things happen to your characters. I thought that was a great point. Sometimes, we're afraid to let anything bad happen to characters, lest they be at all unlikeable.


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