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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

CSI-ku

A writing prompt which I saw today said “write a haiku that solves a crime.”

I’d be interested to see what you all could come up with for that in the comments here… my own offering:

Drugged alphabet soup!
Testing lab found traces of
GHB and E.

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A number of you out there in Readerland are writers, and I thought I might share a notion which came to me along with a new plot idea.

There is a long-standing piece of advice given to writers which states: write what you know. I would like to make a rebuttal.

Of the various writings I have produced, very few have been a case of ‘writing what I know’. Indeed, the vast majority have been on subject matter I very much do not know. This approach has benefits for both the casual-storyteller writer and the nitpicky-fact-checker writer.

For instance, a casual storyteller writing what he or she doesn’t know does not have to have his or her creativity constrained by what is and therefore can perhaps better imagine what could be or could have been. A fact checker, on the other hand, will not be relying on any preconceived notions regarding what they think they know and can be sure of turning in a well-researched manuscript.

I won’t deny that writing what you know has been an excellent tool for some authors; nobody would dispute that Khaled Hosseini is writing what he knows, and doing it extremely well. However, I would also be willing to bet that Yann Martel has never been adrift on a boat with only a 500-pound tiger for company – and Life Of Pi is nevertheless a remarkable work of fiction. Similarly, some of the best science fiction and fantasy writing has come from imaginations so far-fetched as to defy any notion of writing what one knows.

Having said all that, there is one area in which writing what one knows is sound advice for all, and that is character development and interaction; unless one is writing robots, aliens, vampires or other non-humans, a thorough understanding of human nature is essential to a well-rounded character.

So here’s my tip for the writers out there. Pick something that interests you, but which you know very little about it, and make it the centerpiece of a new story. I think you’ll find it a worthwhile exercise.

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Today I’m guest posting over at CougarMicrobes.com for the first, but hopefully not only time.

So there’s not much to see here, but I will share the recipe for the rhubarb pear crisp which went over so very well, rather than letting it languish in the comments on an older post. There should also be a new update of One More Morning later today.

Pear Rhubarb Crisp

(If anyone wants this in metric, let me know and I’ll do the conversions.)

Ingredients:
Fruit base:
4 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups chopped pears (recommend Taylor or Bartlett for sweetness)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp orange extract

1 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Crumbled topping:
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups oats

Butter the base and halfway up the sides of a 9″ by 13″ baking dish. Mix together the fruit base ingredients (if the pears are not juicy, you may wish to add a little bit of apple juice, but no more than 1/4 cup) and layer in the baking dish.

Mix the flour, oats, salt and baking soda in one bowl and the butter, sugar and vanilla in another, then combine and stir well. Layer this over the top of the fruit mixture.

Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.

Serve hot with vanilla ice cream (recommend Edy’s Slow-Churned) or frozen yogurt (recommend Perry’s All-Natural).

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I’ve been writing in this blog a lot more lately than I used to. Whether politics or soccer or television or random babblings, I have more to say. Oddly, it does seem that an increasing number of you lovely, lovely people are choosing to read my scribblings.

So yeah. Why I write? You.

During this time, I’ve noticed a variety of interesting things about you.

First of all, the posts which I think will get traffic and/or prompt comments are typically the ones least likely to do so, and vice versa. This just goes to show that I can’t predict what it is that you will respond to, and is one of the many reasons why you’re so much fun to have as a readership. It’s also why I do so much topic-hopping.

Secondly, you all give me great insights I wouldn’t think up on my own, all of which feed the proverbial beast and lead to more things I can yammer at you about.

Thirdly, some of you get here due to some downright strange browsing. If you’re the person who landed here on a Google search for ‘rabbit attorney’, please comment and tell me what on earth you were actually looking for. If you’re the person who surfs in here after looking up the WordPress tag “foreskins”, week after week after week, please comment and tell me whether you have actually bought one of the prosthetic foreskins I posted about, and how it’s working out for you. Inquiring minds wanna know.

For the rest of you, I’d like to know what it is that brings you back here, and what you’d like to see more or less of.

On the subject of writing, I’ve also put some of my very short fiction efforts up on here, under the Writing tab at the top of this page, under a Creative Commons license – feedback is always welcome, and you’re welcome to take any of these and develop them further if you so wish.

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