Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mistakes...or not?

This is a post about baking, but it's also about writing.

I love my bread-making machine. It makes delicious cinnamon rolls with half the work they used to take using my old stand mixer. When my DH suggested I make cinnamon rolls for dessert, I pulled out my recipe. Unfortunately, it's not written in the sequence designed for use in bread-makers. So I revised the sequence in my mind. (Note to self: Do NOT do this mind-revising thing again.) There are 13 ingredients. I put them in, liquids first, then sugar, flour, spices, raisins and dried cranberries, and turned on the machine. Ninety minutes later, I turned out the dough, added filling, and cut into rolls. I put the pan in the oven to rise.

They didn't rise.

I forgot ingredient #13, yeast.

Now what?

Well, I didn't want to waste the work or ingredients, so I baked the rolls and frosted them. Do they taste good? Well, yes. As good as they should? No. They're solid, heavy, and chewy without any leavening or yeast. Did I learn anything? Yes, I rewrote the recipe with the ingredients in the sequence required for a bread-making machine.

So what does this have to do with writing?

Sometimes, despite all our best intentions, a scene or story or character doesn't go the way we planned or intended. We may overlook or forget some key ingredient. Does that mean we have to junk our work and start over? Not necessarily. The result may still be viable. Different, indeed, but not necessarily bad. We need to be open to the possibilities of a serendipitous mistake.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Guest Interview

Vacation is over. The holiday ornaments are cleared away and the treats are gone. It's time for a new year, and I'm starting it with an interview featuring BLOODSTONE at the blog, You Read It Here First. I'm discussing the origins of the story, character challenges, and my writing process. Stop by and leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you.