Cake Book Tag || What's My Dessert?



allergy bulletin: the following baked goods are certified gluten-free but they have most definitely been written + processed with nuts

It is an undeniable fact* that books are delicious, so what better waste of your time thing to do than to assign types of cake to books you've read? Answer: THERE ISN'T A BETTER. 

*citation what citation i don't need a citation



WATERSHIP DOWN

Yup yup.  I grew up on the Warner Bros. film (also a fav), so when I was old enough strong enough to lift the book, I devoured it.  You could try seeing how long you can coherently mumble "fluffy bunnies" while you shovel in mouthfuls of this book, but that would be an inaccurate description of the novel.  Not fluffy.  Not bunnies.  Awesome book.

* but i'm super annoyed because bigwig never finishes the story of el-ahrairah + the black rabbit of inle, & i know it's supposed to reflect on his impending infiltration of efrafa, but i'm too stupid to get it

jenny :: recommends


 

PRIDE + PREJUDICE

I don't even know how many times I've reread this book, it's just such a brilliant, whimsical, witty, excruciating, delightful book.  Thank the Lord for Jane Austen. <3

jenny :: highly recommends



I CAPTURE THE CASTLE

I can't think of any way this book could have ended otherwise; its plot necessitated an unsatisfactory ending (**spoiler**).  It was a good book, I really enjoyed it, but my morals & the protagonist's were often at variance.  

(I always think red velvet cake is going to taste like a fancy gala on my tastebuds, but then it just turns out to be...cake.  Not bad cake, but it looked like it was promising a whole lot more.)

 jenny :: recommends



THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL

ANNE BRONTE (bless her heart) DOES NOT GET NEARLY ENOUGH LOVE.  This novel is vivid, captivating, gritty - if you took the wise eyes of Charlotte combined with the passion of Emily, that's Anne + this book.

jenny :: highly recommends



THE NAME OF THE ROSE

It's dumb, I know, but I have an allergic reaction to big books??  The writing in this novel is lovely, it's so intensely-researched that you can tell Umberto Eco simply breathes this time (I also hate Umberto Eco because he comes up with things like "The Island of the Day Before" & isn't that just a perfect turn of phrase? BAH).  And yet I haven't finished the book.  Double bah.

jenny :: recommends you not follow her dumb example


A YEAR IN PROVENCE

Such a hilarious foodie book.  It's like a wine that goes down so smooth, you don't realize how much you've actually imbibed.  I went on to read Encore Provence as well.

jenny :: recommends, but don't read on an empty stomach / tight grocery budget


THE EAGLE OF THE NINTH SERIES

Dur.  It was this series that really got me going on writing in the first place.

the eagle of the ninth (love)
the silver branch (very much love)
frontier wolf (embarrassed to not remember)
the lantern bearers (not a fav)
dawn wind (enjoyed, but don't really remember??)
the shield ring (totes cool

jenny :: i like them but i guess they're not for everyone??


REBECCA

I loved this book but I was NOT expecting it to be the traumatic emotional roller-coaster that it turned out to be for me. (i also turned out to like fruitcake, which prolly explains a lot about me) NO SPOILERS HERE but personally I was reading it in early marriage / I think I was pregnant with my first child + subsequently a little crazy, so I was NOT EMOTIONALLY STABLE ha ha Lord help us.

jenny :: recommends this book it is amazing but feel free to take your xanax first


* you see what i did there

BEN-HUR

So it's a really, really heavy shortcake...  I honestly haven't read a lot of American writers, but this one...takes...the...

yeah

OKAY.  For plot, pacing, descriptive narrative, character development - basically all the marks of a good novel, this novel has them.  Literature classes should just study Lew Wallace, basically.

jenny :: highly recommends eVEN THOUGH IT'S A BIG BOOK


I saw this tag on Elijah David's blog Inexhaustible Inspiration, so feel free to

a :: check out his blog
+
b :: fill out this tag!

CHOCOLATE CAKE
(a dark book you loved)
VANILLA CAKE
(a light read)
RED VELVET
(mixed emotions)
CHEESECAKE
(recommend to anyone)
COFFEE CAKE
(started but never finished)
TIRAMISU
(left you wanting more)
CUPCAKES
(4+ book series)
FRUITCAKE
(not what you expected)
STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE
(fav american novel)

thanks for reading! bet you're hungry.
xoxo, jenny


{images via pinterest, graphics made by moi}

Via PaperFury || 4 Writer Struggles We All Have (But Don't Admit)



 disclaimer: all four points are literally just yoinked off of cait drews // paperfury, but i had to share because they are #legit. enjoy.

We all have massive struggles with the writing gig.  It's hard.  Face it.  We love it, but yeah, it can be grueling to drag decent prose, stimulating plots, + great characters out of our heads.  Yet FOR ALL THAT, there are some aspects of writing that we all share & yet don't get talked about but NEVER FEAR, Cait Drews did & I'm following suit.  Because.  It's real.



THE FOUR HORSEMAN OF THE WRITERPOCALYPSE

1.  THE MY-PROJECT-IS-FINISHED DEPRESSIVE SLUMP
Thankfully, yeah, I have basically a whole lifetime's worth of work ahead of me, but it wasn't always this way & I am NO stranger to this colossal fear.  You finally slog through your magnum opus.  Boom.  Last page.  The end.  Phew.

...now what.

NOW WHAT.  This was your LIFE.  You live + breathe your writing.  & it's DONE.  WAH.  Stages of grief one two three go! What do you do with yourself?  Will you ever write again?? Are you left to stumble about in a battered daze of literary Stockholm syndrome??
 
2.  YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE WRITING THINGS THAT ARE TOO SIMILAR
HELLO, YOU OLD FRIEND OF A MIDNIGHT TERROR, YOU.  What if, years from now, people look back over my stories & say, "Eeyep, she was a hack.  Same ol' characters with different names.  Same ol' stories.  Her tone never changes.  Never shifts to accommodate the new plot.  She's a one-trick pony, that's for sure."

i don't wanna be a one-trick pony-y-y-y-y-y!  

3. READING AN ALREADY-PUBLISHED WORK THAT IS ALARMINGLY SIMILAR TO YOUR OWN NOT-PUBLISHED WORK
I really, really, really, REALLY hate this, you guys.  R E A L L Y.  Let me just go on record + say

i read almost NO contemporary fiction, okay??

so how am I supposed to know what's trending these days??  Spoiler: I DON'T.  So it's a real suckerpunch in the chatterbox when I've been doolallying along for awhile with a story, only to discover that someone has ALREADY PUBLISHED A NOVEL WITH A MARKED ASPECT JUST LIKE MINE.

I'M LOOKING AT YOU, DAENERYS

Yes, okay, there are lots of cool things that we can all share (dragons, sarcasm, archaic description), sure.  But this kind of thing makes it look like I'm a hack (see note above) & that I stole another author's idea, which is a thing that happens but I DON'T DO IT.  IT'S NOT OKAY.*

I'M HERE TO TELL YOU THAT I'M NOT A BOOK THIEF

wait that's also a book

*this post doesn't count because i tell you who came up with the idea, right...?



4.  WRITING OUTSIDE YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
I think I must be living proof that you can write outside your experience & possibly should write outside your experience, because I have tried writing contemporary fiction & it sTINKS.  So in light of that fact, I really do have to write stuff I've never experienced.

especially since i'm not a reenactor + i really love modern amenities

THINGS I AM NOT QUALIFIED TO WRITE ABOUT, BUT DO ANYWAY SO HELP ME
  • wearing armour // using weapons (which are heavy + require a lot of strength to use)
  • loss of loved ones (waaaah)
  • england (i've only been to scotland)
  • the medieval era (my time-travel machine is broken)
  • magic (still can't do this for some reason??)
  • coffee (i've never been to central/south america + coffee makes me bloat)
  • crinoline (i have petticoats! does that count??)
  • strategy in warfare (use dynamite. saves time.)
  • being tall (>_<)
  • humour (#dadjokes)

There you have it: four basic software worries that come complementary with the whole writer package.  Did you get anything else with your order?  Please share! 

special thanks to cait, who has no idea i've yoinked her post but i'm telling you so it's not stealing XD

thanks for reading! until next time!
xoxo, jenny



Beautiful People || Writing Process Edition

Beautiful People is technically about characters, but if ever there was a character in my novels...it would be me.  

This month's Beautiful People installment is all about the author + the individual writing process.  "Process."  It's such a cute notion.


how do you decide which project to work on?
I consult my horoscope, the collective horoscopes of my favourite authors, divide the equation by 12 (props if 12 is the only number in the formula), ruminate feverishly on my churning plots, ignore all responsibilities to other stories, & begin writing.

how long does it usually take you to finish a project?
It takes me a third as much time to write a project as it does to finish it, so whatever that number is (maybe 12?? no units mentioned), add it twice more & then ignore that number completely.  Et voila!
  
do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?
I use the time-honoured process of tapping summer sunsets & processing the hues + atmospheres, mixed to perfection with the sounds of cicadas, the scent of mown grass, the cool buttery feel of a breeze, + an unspecified amount of cumulus clouds, english breakfast tea, warm bricks, candles, minimalism, + solitude.

at what time of day do you write best?
I do my best writing around 10:30-11:00 at night, when I'm nearly asleep & my brain is spinning the most wonderful pieces of prose...that I will forget completely.

are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?
There is an amateur author that published a gob-stoppingly enormous work about three years ago; I've read over her work extensively & it bears some resemblance to mine.  I like my writing better, though.



why did you start writing, & why do you keep writing?
It's been too long since I started for me to know why I began.  For all I know, I was born writing.  Probably I looked at a bunch of blurry lens flares (my birth was a michael bay movie??), & my mother's face, & some truly pompous baby-babble prose began forming in my head.  I'm afraid it's a hopeless case; I doubt I'll stop now.  It's just me.

what’s the hardest thing you’ve written?
My Social Security number; I can never remember it & I'm always terrified that I've left it somewhere & it isn't on hand so I'll be forced to turn in incomplete paperwork for some doctor or some such.  #adultlife

I can't tell you which work has been the hardest for me.  They're all the hardest for me while I'm writing them.   Nobody knows how to write; it's just that some of us are in the habit of thinking stories, & some of us are more practiced at wrestling the idea into a story-format.  But it's always hard, ya know??



is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?
let's see :: ethandune, lamblight, maresgate, cruxgang, ampersand, adamantine...

what writing goals did you make for 2017 & how are they going?
I have stayed on track with my determination to continue working on Ethandune & have not sidetracked to another novel, which I think takes a lot of maturity.

describe your writing process in three words 


"my process is thinking, thinking, + thinking - thinking about my stories for a long time"
hayao miyazaki

That's my writing process in all it's systematic glory. #relatable  Is there anyone else as dysfunctional about their writing as I am?? I can't be alone in a:: really, really loving to write, & b:: having a totally slapdash approach to the whole thing.


how do you decide which project to work on?
how long does it usually take you to finish a project?
do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?
what time of day do you write best?
are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?
why did you start writing, & why do you keep writing?
what’s the hardest thing you’ve written?
is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?
what writing goals did you make for 2017 & how are they going?
describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!

as always, thanks for reading! cheerio!
xoxo. jenny

How to Avoid Melodrama (& Have Fun Doing So)

I've been gone a long time, I know!  I have almost no creative juice for my blog at present, simply because life is so draining.  Ethandune is being difficult - or I'm being difficult with Ethandune, which is probably more accurate to say.  WELL.  But here I am; & I've got something fun for you.



Ye olde Pinterest is chockablock with images of medieval import, & given that I also fall thoughtlessly under that cadre of writers who delve into medieval-themed worlds, I see a lot of those images.  The majority of them aren't to my picky taste, but some of them are truly a barrel of laughs just because of the melodramatic captions that pinners have given them.  What makes them doubly hilarious is that the pinners are dead serious

Rather than pass them by this time, I rounded up a few to share so that you can laugh + avoid them +/or fix your prose if you accidentally fell into a melodrama.  (Bee tee dubs, I am extremely melodramatic.  Not, like, Sir Walter Scott melodramatic, but shoo-ee, surely I've pitched headlong into every melodramatic trap there is.)



All of these captions are completely anonymous.  I have no idea who wrote them, nor do I wish to pin the tail on the donkey.  Read, laugh, learn.  En avant!

the only kind of dancing or needlework they could get her to do was the kind involving bruises + steel.

I completely understand that being in a society that "confines" women to almost no profitable pursuits is a real drag.  Being allowed only to dance, sew, become fluent in all the romantic languages + German, it gets pretty tedious - especially if your natural inclination is to do something else.  HOWEVER.  I am very. very. tired. of the tomboy trope, the denigration of "gentle" activities, & the worship of anything painful/violent that I'm finding in most amateur fiction today.  Wanting to hurt people is not cool, you guys.  It doesn't make you an awesome role model.  

Props: I have to own that this line has decent cadence.

dame sylris valen riding her white steed, asfaloth, in the highlands.

 & I quote from my text to Abigail about this, "Dame Trying-too-hard riding her cliche horse Tolkien-knockoff, in a foggy place we know nothing about but we think is romantic because of 'Outlander.' "  I don't know why the pinner bothered to caption such an image, as he/she was not even putting in the effort to construct an original idea.

Props: none.

first thing i did, steal a horse & ride away as fast as i could.

Because stealing a horse is so easy + not punishable by serious seriousness / possibly even death. 

Fun fact #1: horses are really big animals & they have enormous nails on the ends of their legs called hooves where are hard + make lots of noise on the ground.

Fun fact #2: tack is constructed of squeaky leather + metal rings/buckles that make melodious noise to anyone who loves horses / isn't committing a crime.

Fun fact #3: horses are expensive, & are used by a:: wealthy folk who have people to look after them / keep tabs on them, & b:: people who use them for their livelihood.  Either way, the horses would be missed.  You can't just yoink a horse & gallop off into the wild blue yonder.

Props: you don't get any props. You're stupid + you're going to get caught.



medirval warrioress, armour princess
[sic]

I just had to share this one because of the derp factor.  

as gawain spoke, annwyn caught a flash of something out of the corner of her eye. a young man, dark + brilliant green eyes met her gaze & raised an eyebrow at her. annwyn's heart skipped in her chest. she'd seen him before, she was sure of it.

Ah, swooon.  Sorry, Gawain, we have 100% zero memory of what you just said because Mr. Myserious just walked by.  My only question is, how are his eyes both dark + brilliant?? But other than that, this is totally reflective of the proper interactions between men + women of the post- archaic western world / sixth century Europe, yeah.

Wait, second question: what flashed?? Because human eyes don't have tapetum lucidium behind them so they're not going to glow at you.

his knuckles had that weird webbing of scars that can only be gotten from hitting them against other people over + over until they bled.

Double swoon!  How brave + strong + masculine of this person!  Never mind that fist abrasions produce bruises & would look more like he caught his hand on the back of a big cheese grater before healing (probably without noticeable scarring), rather than "webs" of scars.

Props: okay, I like the word "webbing."  Points for that.

"fight me." "but you're a girl." "i know, it's unfair of me to outmatch you, but i really need the practice."

Oh puh-LEEZ.  For once, can I have a story with a physically-capable female character whom the men respect & who respects the men in turn??  Is that too much to ask??  




"surely, i could tell you," he smiled roguishly, with his playful eyebrows raised, "but would you really believe me, lass?"

Gaaag.  Any female who falls for this is either desperate or stupid.  Or both.  This fellow sounds like a grade A s.o.b., & the inclusion of "lass" (is this what "Outlander" has done?? i don't know, i don't watch it) is not doing anything for you.

Props: "for to everyone who has, more shall be given, & he will have abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what little he has shall be taken away." your moves. you have none, & what you do have needs to be surgically removed at once.

"i knew it. you're the thief." the man spoke harshy as he lifted the hood. maria glared but said nothing. the man grinned. "now would you kindly restore what you stole?" maria also smiled & simply said, "no."

I always suspected her appearance of goodness.  We've got some great bad-boy vibe going on here: note the "harshly" + the "grinned."  Obviously this dude has the rough edge + the swoon-worthy charisma that young females are susceptible to - but WAIT. our heroine is (melo)dramatically holding out!  So self-possessed.  So brave.  So much in need of an editor because her reply is clunky.  Also she probably needs a good slap on the face.

Props: pare this down & then we'll talk about giving you props.

but on her, he liked the fangs. on her, they were sexy.

Except when you get cold sores inside your lips, you know?  Then the fangs catch on them & it's so annoying.  But yeah, if you compare Jane Doe with fangs to her Aunt Agatha with fangs, I would call that sexy.  Not gonna deny that.

Props: the construction of the sentences is decent.

her ring glimmered in the moonlight. what was that symbol? it looked like the one he had seen on the evil lord mac de diube's ring... could it be? could she really be a boarlonian? "azara, you wouldn't know anyone by the name of mac de diube, would you?" her face registered surprise + then sadness. "how do you know of him?" "then you do? azara, i'm shocked." "so am i." "he is my greatest enemy." "derik...you must go. i didn't tell you cause i thought you didn't know anything about him..."

w  o  w.  We've got some major stuff going on here.  First of all, it must be a beautiful night with a massive full moon & no light pollution for him to be able to make out the insignia of this girl's bling.  Don't get me wrong, a full moon on a clear night in a pre-electric world is a pretty spectacular thing.  But they also didn't have super effective ocular aid & eyes weren't so good either.  Remember that.

The evil Lord Mac de Diube.  Use of bland villainy gets 0 props.  Don't tell me he's evil; show me that he's trying to force his only daughter to marry a disreputable person merely in order to form an alliance, or some such.  & maybe don't name him something that I'm going to mentally translate as "Mac de Dweeb."

i also read "boarlonian" as "baloneyian."  truth.

This guy is definitely not smooth, so casually asking Azara (why does she have a Persian name when this feels Scottish at best?) if she happens to know the man who shares her household symbol.  Nice going, there. I want to know why "Derik" has to go now.  Are we leaving Azara all by herself?  Is she a dead albatross or something?  What's with the melodrama??

Props: her face registering surprise + sadness isn't bad.  

The last excerpt has enough to go on, I'm going to rewrite it real quick to give you an idea of what I might do instead.  This is just me, though; there are probably a billion + one different ways to write this better.


The firelight created a halo around Azara's head as she bent to her embroidery.  In the long, unlit hall, the little pool of crocus-glow around the fireplace seemed to stand out in relief.  As her hands drew + tugged at the threads, Derik noted a flick-flick-flick of flamelight refecting back off her needle, & a second little glimmer blinking off a heavy band on her signet-finger.  She was leaning too far forward to notice him watching in wrapt suspension.  On one side of his face, the fire warmed to a prickling heat; on the other, a cold dread blanched the blood out of his veins.

"A heavy piece for you, that ring - don't you think?"  He reached for his mead-cup as if it were an idle thing.

Azara's hands hesitated, trembling, before performing two more uneven stitches.  The hand with the signet-ring slipped out of sight under the fabric.  "It is...not my favourite piece."  Her voice was strained.

A dozen red warnings flashed through his mind.  She had got him wrapped around her finger like that hideous ring, and he was afraid she had done it of a purpose, afraid that it was now too late.  He got stiffly to his feet.  There seemed to be no warmth at all in his body now.  "I will bid you good-night."

She looked up quickly, biting her lip as if to hold back something desperate.  He had a horror of whatever it might be, of confession or regret, so he turned away at once before she could speak.  He heard her silence reaching after him as he walked from the circle of firelight into the lonesome dark; in his mind's eye he was haunted by the vision of her gaunt, frightened face and the tiny depression on her signet ring of a boar and a broken crown.

There, I'm biased but I like that a sight better - though they do need different names. Now you can

a:: tear apart my writing
b:: tell me what you think about all the excerpts
c:  make your own rewrites

thank you for reading!
xoxo, jenny