Dinner, and the weather

I guess some people have a problem with writers including observations of the weather in their stories? I don’t understand that. I love weather, and it’s always something I’m aware of. My favourite weather is the cold and rainy days that dim the sun and make me just want to curl up beside a fire, favourite book in hand and a tidy selection of Royal Gala apples available to eat throughout the day.

For me, including a small note about the weather or the season in my writing is just a natural thing. I don’t do it constantly, and I definitely don’t have any preconceptions about “dark and stormy nights”, because all my dark and stormy nights have been perfectly normal, or simply thrilling in the way lightning has filled the sky with wild blue and white bolts. Sure, it’s not essential, but there’s that degree of normalcy for me, and it can go a long way towards explaining character behaviours or putting additional conflicts in their path (the need for shelter from the elements, for a start).

On a vaguely unrelated note, I notice that fantasy works often discuss foods. Not only that, but the foods are frequently all of the “hunted a boar, roasting it now” variety, complete with mead, ale, or some wine or other. There might even be trenchers of bread! Dark bread, and rich gravy, and hard cheese. If you’ve read any more than a handful of fantasy novels, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I am personally a big fan of eating. Food is awesome, sharing meals with loved ones is a special thing, and it’s just damn tasty. So I have a similar preoccupation with food as I do with the weather, but I’m not as driven to write about banquets, feasts and other such typical meals. I lean toward just include foods as a part of another scene; maybe the characters are preparing a meal as they talk, or they are interrupted eating to attend to other matters.

I think my take on weather and food is part of my “style”, as it is intrinsic to me. Without those little additions, I don’t think my stories would have the same sense of life to them.

~A

Never write on an empty stomach

Okay, I don’t know about everyone else, but I get seriously cranky if I haven’t eaten in a while. My mood takes a really sharp decline when my stomach is empty, and considering how much I love food, it’s not surprising that eating has a way of improving my outlook immediately.

Being hungry is super distracting. Not just because I’m thinking about how much I’d like to chow down, but I get vague and even more forgetful than usual (which is a very bad thing). Then there’s the criticism. I get horrendously irritable and critical of everything when I’m hungry. I might not show it outwardly, but I end up kind of resenting things until I’ve had my next meal.

Trying to write when I’m that grumpy is a seriously awful idea. It’s better to just grab a snack and get back to the work later, when I’m riding the food-high.

I won’t turn this into a massive spiel, but I do stop to think about how my situation is so blessed: my food is easy to come by. There are people out there who never know when they will eat next. I like giving to charities, so let me just say, if you can afford to give a dollar, or drop a can of soup into an organisation’s donation box, know that you did make a difference to someone. If everyone who has “enough” can donate just a little, we’ll change the world for the better.

Anyway, I’m heading back to my story now. Here’s to hoping for another 800+ word flash of writing.

~A

Of blueberry muffins and lateness

Yesterday, I forgot it was Thursday. Forgetting what day of the week it is happens frequently; I just don’t seem to follow the same standard of time as the rest of the world. Every morning, I usually wake up and ask myself, “What day is it?”.

Today, I got blueberry muffins. They are both delicious, and the perfect writing snack! Enough cakey goodness that they are worth eating, without the added difficulty of forks and icing/frosting. I mention this only because I am enjoying one right now, and I’m writing this post, and they go together flawlessly.

I actually heard some very promising news about one of my writing projects this week! I won’t reveal anything specific yet, since it will only be a week or so until I know concrete details. Needless to say, it is still ridiculously encouraging to hear positive feedback.

I managed to play it cool at the time. All very, “Awesome, I’m so glad you liked it”, when I probably would have liked to run around giving everyone high-fives. I’ve never been a scream-in-delight kind of person, and good things take a little while to really sink in before I get super excited about them. Of course, that means by now I’m practically dancing in my chair waiting for next week to roll around and award me the final verdict.

And funny enough, having possibilities like this dangled so close, I’m ready to launch into my next major project with a trademark over-enthusiasm for my own abilities (“I only need to write 1,500 words a day to get a novel draft finished in two months? I can so totally do that!”). It won’t happen, but a girl can dream.

~A