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Plots should thicken like gravy.

26 Feb

https://rachelmariepratt.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/gravy.jpg?w=300Yes, there will be a gravy recipe for anyone, who again, stopped in expecting food. 😉  However, you’ll have to read further to get to the recipe.

As is the case with gravy, manuscripts/plots need time to thicken. Lets face it not too many people want gravy that shares the same consistency as water, but neither do they want a gravy that has coagulated into a gelatin state.

It’s easy when writing to have a sagging middle because the plot/characters/descriptions aren’t strong enough to carry the story through. From this, comes the water-like consistency no one wants to eat or read.  And it is equally as simple to over-plot and confuse the reader with the: plot and subplots/bigger than life characters/over-done descriptions. Creating a coagulating effect that most times has a reader discarding the book.

So how do you find a balance? I’m thinking it’s different for every person. Yet, something we’re all seeking.

That smooth perfection that when we read it aloud the words melt in our mouths, leaving us satisfied. Which reminds me, gravy recipe: (This is one my dad made when we were growing up)

Hamburg Gravy:

1lb hamburger (browned)

1tbsp basil

1tbsp parsley

1tbsp salt

1/2tbsp pepper

1/2tbsp celery salt

1/4cup cornstarch

2cups hot water

***Keep hamburg in the fry pan, drain grease. Add 1cup hot water and all seasonings to hamburg and bring to a boil. Put cornstarch in measuring cup and add the remaining cup hot water to it and stir. Once stirred to have a milky appearance, add slowly to the boiling hamburg and water. After a minute or so of boiling, turn the heat on the stove top down to a simmer. **If you prefer your gravy thicker, add 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch to 2 tbsp of water, stir together then add the mixture to your gravy pan until you have a desired consistency. Remember gravy will usually thicken given time.

As a reader, what author(s) do you believe have mastered the ‘thickening’ plot?

As a writer, how do manage your plotting? And do you think it’s working for you or are you still striving for the right recipe?

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Recipe for Relaxation

25 Jan

This weekend was uncommon for me. I stayed up until 2am Saturday morning after a long night of family Karaoke. We sang anything from Dean Martin to LinkinPark, Evanescense and Avril Lavigne to Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. CCR, Buckcherry, Kelly Clarkson and Johnny Cash topped the list as well. The kids had a blast and so did Michael and I.

Saturday turned into another day of relaxing after a lunch with Grandma to celebrate my birthday and much of the day spent lazing around with family. Again not hitting the sheets until about 2am. And for the first time in a long time, I slept in while Mike got up and around with the kids. I stayed in my pajamas all day Sunday which occurs maybe once a year and spent most of the day watching movies with Michael.

Aside from making a few meals it was an all out relaxing weekend. I feel blessed to have it.

And for those of you that read this post expecting to find an actual recipe, I don’t want to disappoint. So here is a recipe for one of the meals I made over the weekend:

T-Bone Steak, Bake Potatoes and Quick Salad:

What you’ll need: T-Bones, Zesty Italian Dressing, potatoes, lettuce, tomato, and onion. And your choice of salad dressing.

For Steak: Place steak in a glass dish and pour Italian dressing over top. Cover and put in the fridge for 1hr-3days (depending on when you want to cook them and how long you want them to sit and marinate). Then light grill. (Yes, I cook on the grill in the middle of a Michigan winter). Next, cook the steaks at a medium setting for about 15-20minutes, depending on thickness, then turn. Cook and additional 10-15 minutes.

For Potatoes: I prefer, Michigan white potatoes because they are very easy to clean. After scrubbing potatoes poke with a fork and knife. Then place in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 1 hour. Or if you prefer the microwave you’ll want to look for a suggested cooking times.

For salad: Cut lettuce, tomato, and onion. Toss together in a bowl and top with favorite dressing.

Okay, not exactly an awe inspiring recipe, but after a half hour we had a delicious meal on our plates and went right back to relaxing.

Hope you had a great weekend too. And if you’d like to take a second, let me know what you do to relax as a family. Just click on the small comment button below. 🙂

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