Story First & Quantum Notes

As I wrote this entry, I pondered briefly about how many people would read this seeing that tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. Maybe you’ll just let it sit until January 2nd and, then, read it, which would be fine by me. Or maybe you’re taking a leisurely weekend and would read it as soon as you see the notice telling you it’s live. That would also be alright, of course.

This month had been a contradiction of adversity and perks. I’m glad it is at the end now.

I hope your winter celebrations are going well. And I wish you a flourishing New Year!

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Story First

This past couple of months I’ve begun to see posts about Plot vs. Story. I had thought they were similar, actually the same but just from a different angle. The word, plot being more of writing jargon while story being more of a simplex word. The way I understand it now is plot serves story, with story being the big picture and plot being the many pieces. Without the story, the plot becomes just a series of events that really don’t have any meaning to them. Even if I knew my character inside and out, without the story, the plot just shows my character going through motions of his or her life with a bit of dialogue thrown in. It’s events without any significance.

Plot is what happens; it’s the events. Story is what everything that happens means.
-Darren Greninger

With the way I was thinking before, the cliché: and the plot thickens, really didn’t make any sense.

Developing story can be daunting. At least I think it can. Is what I want to tell the reader enough? Or is that basic idea too boring, mundane? Has the person read another story that is so similar that he or she cannot find anything engrossing about mine? Yet, I must do this before I even entertain the notion of working out my plot or creating my character.

Do you get writing terms befuddled?

 

Quantum Notes

HEALTH
Remember me telling you about the osteoporosis shot the next day in my last post? Well, I got that done. I was all prepared for the sting of the needle in my abdomen. Only, it didn’t hurt at all. It felt as if someone barely poked me. The nurse warned me about feeling a burning sensation, although I didn’t feel that either—not until that evening anyway. I ended up having to take a couple of Tylenol but that was it. I’ve heard women comment on how bad it is to have this condition. Is it just that I’m one of the lucky ones who are able to handle it with ease? Or are those women making too much out of their situation trying to get more attention than what they need?

I ended up back at the dental office yet again. I believed I had broken a crown. This wouldn’t have been a big deal under regular circumstances because that tooth had had a root canal, which means no pain. I could have waited until my next checkup and have him just replace the crown. But, indeed, this wasn’t regular circumstances. That tooth holds a bridge in place, which could mean all sorts of trouble. Luckily, my regular dentist was there. He checked the tooth and said, “Well, we could spend some money here to give you a new crown with the porcelain wrapped around it. Or, because the crown, itself, is still good and it just doesn’t have the porcelain covering it on the back side, we can leave it alone. Which way do you want to do with this?” Seeing that my husband and I have lost our group dental insurance because my husband retired and I didn’t want any drilling in my mouth, I opted for the second choice. I love my dentist.

REVELING IN THE SEASON
For decades, I have celebrated the holidays of winter by trotting off to the different stores to buy what I thought necessary to rejoice in the activities. I’m not much of a cook, by any means. When I was a child, I would help my mother with the baking of cookies and pies but once I was an adult, all things to do with cookies was left to the grocery store. As for the pies, I bought the ready-made pie shells and used the canned fillings.

This year was different. My husband’s mother enjoys baking and offered to instruct me on how to make fruitcake and what is called gobs. The making of fruitcake is rather time-consuming. Of course, I still had to make a trip to the grocery store to buy assorted nuts, candied fruit, dates, currants, waxed paper, small loaf pans, powdered sugar, and brandy. My mother-in-law, my husband, and I sat around the table cutting up fruit and nuts, buttering the pans and waxed paper [why the waxed paper needed butter I haven’t a clue], and gossiping about the family. Mixing all the ingredients together was laborious. It had to be done using a spoon. Using a mixer would have ruined the effect of the pieces of fruit. My husband did most of it.

The next week we made the gobs. This holiday treat isn’t even half at time-consuming. What it is is two cake-like cookies with a rich cream filling put between them. The cake-like cookies only take five minutes in the oven per baking sheet. My mother-in-law already had the cream filling mixed up. I sat at the table using a butter knife to put the cream in between the cookies. This task took about an hour and a half, which was also spent gossiping about family members who weren’t there.

[Just to make things clear, our gossip wasn’t about anything awful, embarrassing, or outlandish in any way. It was a news report with a little commentary added.]

WRITING
I wish I could tell you about the great progress I’m making but, the truth is, I’m still a sloth. I am so glad I decided to do scene outlines because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t know where I was in the story now. I might not even remember what the story is about! As it is though, I am making tiny little baby steps and am rather enjoying the sessions I have.

Where is this pleasure coming from?

When I helped my mother-in-law make the fruitcake, she had us buy a small bottle of brandy because the recipe called for a little bit in the mixture. We live in the Bible Thumping region of the country and my mother-in-law didn’t want the liquor in her house because she has friends who are tea toddlers and starch churchgoers. So, to my delight, I willingly brought it home with me. Most of my friends don’t live anywhere near this locality so I don’t worry about the zealous enthusiast when I put a splash of liquor in my tea for my writing sessions. It’s just enough to loosen me up, which helps the flow of the story.

My husband’s compulsion for noise in the house isn’t bothering me so much now that I’m using a splash of brandy in my tea for my spells of scribbling. Additionally, my husband bought me a table for my laptop that will work in the bedroom for those times when his ruckus is too much for me no matter what I do.

In spite of these two bits of help, I know, without a doubt, I need to put better limits on my time online. Believe it or not, it isn’t social media sites that are pilfering my stretches with my WiP though. It’s the time I spend at my email inbox dutifully opening each notification of a new blog post and, then, clicking on the link to read a post about writing that I read something about at another blog or another post by the same blogger. Why do I read these posts that are almost duplicated of previous ones I read? All that time I waste could be spent on my WiP. I’m going to be canceling many subscriptions to blogs during these last days of 2018. I can only hope I don’t offend anyone.

Yes, the opting out of subscriptions does sound like a New Year’s resolution. I haven’t had one in many years. This one I think I can keep without a hitch.

§

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
― Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

 

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10 thoughts on “Story First & Quantum Notes

    1. Shari, it’s amazing what a splash of brandy can do for the soul. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about adding liquor to my routine seeing that my father was an alcoholic. But, I’ve discovered I don’t want it for every session of writing and when I do add it, it isn’t affecting my concentration. It just loosens me up ever so slightly. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You didn’t say how the fruitcake turned out. I commented on Twitter about an awful fruitcake and many people told me about good ones they’ve had. It sounds like a lot of work, but conversation makes that go by fast. I hope yours turned out well.

    Having a place to work/write is important and avoiding your inbox is, too. Since I’m still working, and trying to write on some days, I have to limit what emails I open. Most people understand. We all only have 24 hours.

    I hope 2019 is s good year for you, Glynis. I hope you find the right mix of story, plot, noise and brandy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oops! I should have said something about the finished product. I liked it and was awarded 3 loaves of it to take home. The loaves are small. If you put them together, they don’t make quite a regular sized loaf. I’m very careful to have just one slice per day. 😛

      I’m not unsubscribing from your blog, Dan. It isn’t about writing. You explore your world, which is usually quite interesting. 🙂 I hope you’re right about people not being offended.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fruitcake! that sounds a lot like “Panetton” which is a Christmas tradition over here 🙂

    I love the idea of outlining scenes. I’m at a point in my Manuscript where I had started to mix scenes and confuse some details, I wish had outlined this better and might need some revision on the early chapters now. I’ll make sure to outline them anyway as I review them to make sure that everything remains consistent.

    I haven’t posted too much on my blog yet, I guess I post once in a month and sometimes even less frequent. I hope you don’t unsubscribe from my blog 🙂 There is also the option to receive updates on a weekly basis, that could be an option.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I change many of the subscriptions to once per week, which does help.

      Janice Hardy at Fiction University suggests scene outlining after the first draft for those who are true pantsers. I have a 1st draft done of the first novel I’ve tried to write. I haven’t done anything with it yet but when I do, I’ll be doing those outlines.

      Chances are your Panetton is a version of fruitcake. 😛

      Like

  3. I may have to try the brandy and tea option when I write, I think that is a great strategy 😀 I am sure you will get your manuscript done, Glynis. You are crafting and honing your skills. It took me over 10 years to get book 1 written!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luciana, it’s so comforting to know that I’m not alone in my long struggle to get just one book published so I can call myself an author. Once I have one under my belt, I feel certain more will be written with less frustration.

      Like

  4. Dental stuff is never fun to deal with. I have a cavity on a tooth that has a crown and a root canal. Who knew the little bit of tooth that remains can still get a cavity? It’s not hurting me yet, so I’m not going to get it fixed because that would entail a new crown as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dentist was able to fill a cavity up near the gum line on another tooth with a crown without having to replace or remove the crown. Maybe you should talk to your dentist about this, Jeri.

      Like

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