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!
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.
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?
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.]
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