Monday, October 12, 2020

Wait, it's Monday?


I realized I hadn't written a blog post for today at 12:16am. Today.

Yes I was lolling about, baking lemon pound cake now that I have an oven.

In my spiffy new red bread pans, which I failed to realize were not full size.

It's been so long since I baked in a full size oven, my eye can no longer calibrate baking dish size correctly. 

I just divided the batter into two pans and baked for half as long.

Then I ruined it with bananas and whipped cream.

Honestly if you'd EVER told me bananas and whipped cream could ruin anything I'd have snorted with laughter.

Joke's on me.

The lemon flavor is too delicate to support chunks of banana and a big taste like whipped cream.**

I would have done better maybe with just leaving it au naturel.

 I've done that on revisions too.

Been too clever for my own damn good.

MOST of the time I catch it, but sometimes I look back at pitch letters I wrote some years back and think holy moly, what the Helvetica was I thinking. 

Have you been too clever for your own good?

How long did it take you to notice?

**Monday afternoon update. 

I had a piece of the lemon pound cake au naturel and oh my godiva, yes, it was delicious. Plain, simple, yummy. I need to remember this when I'm tempted to start laying things on!


Amy Johnson said...

Clever? Not clever? Who's to say? Especially nowadays, perhaps.

I'm presently trying to decide what the smart thing is to do with my previously considered oh-so-close-to-being-query-ready manuscript. But all the business of book pulling, etc. has me reconsidering.

My story has a set of diverse characters. Diverse, like we experience in real life. But having diverse characters means the characters wouldn't be considered to all be like the story's author. Some would be considered different in race; there are characters that are older than I am; grew up in different places than I did; don't have children at an age when I did have children; and it's middle grade, so there are kids -- and I've been one of those, but not for decades, and I was never a kid who's a boy; and I'm not being flippant about the matter when I say I also have characters who mysteriously appear, wearing old-fashioned clothing, and soon disappear. I am now considering going back in and making all the characters the same race as I am. Thus making the story less diverse and less like what I encounter in real life and less true to the story. (Granted, in real life I don't encounter people in old-fashioned clothes who disappear, and I'm not planning on taking those characters out of the story.) Much-respected fellow fishies, I'm really not sure what to do here. Clever? What's clever?

(Clever to send this comment? I considered yesterday's post, prayed, and I'm about to send. Scary times in publishing.)

Julie Weathers said...

Next time drizzle your pound cake with a mixture of butter, lemon juice, and powdered sugar while the cake is hot. It soaks in and makes the cake luscious.

Yes, I'm always too clever for my own good and then have to figure my way out of the hole. I'm a day off on my story now due to clever manipulations and it's an important date. I'm sure regular readers won't catch it, but the stitch counters will pounce on it. I haven't figured out how to fix it yet.

Beth Carpenter said...

I'll thrilled to hear you have an oven, and presumably gas! Yes, I've been too clever.

Why get so many bowls dirty following the recipe? Just mix it all together. Oh.

If my characters did this instead it would--negate the entire motivation for the main character.

Why bother mixing different cans of paint together? I'll just finish up this gallon painting the corners and then use the new gallon for the walls. Oh.

And why, if I'm so clever, do I try to put the fitted sheet on the bed the wrong way 90% of the time?

BTW, I've found lemon and blueberries are good partners.

Brenda said...

Joanne Harris’s new YouTube video lists ‘Trying to be clever’ as a pitfall for writers to avoid.

Amy, get the details right. More than anything write the truest story you have in you. If you don’t know whether your character is true, ask someone who is.

I’m revising. I strongly suspect that I’m ruining my book. Why forge ahead? Because maybe, just maybe, others are more clever than I am. And because I’ve saved a copy.

Full answer? I noticed immediately. I persevere in my revision because I want to give good advice it’s very best shot.

The temptation to bury the entire mess in the back 40 is strong.


miriam said...

JR, I knew a metaphor was coming when you mentioned lemon-banana-whipped cream pound cake!

Amy, we live in a diverse world. Our stories should reflect that. There's also a need for diverse authors to tell their stories as they know them best. So while your MG novel should be populated with all different kinds of people, the point-of-view should be one you've experienced. (I don't know how this applies to gender- I'm still seeing a lot of books where females write from male POVs and males write from female POVs or it's dual POV with both a boy and girl MC. Maybe someone else can weigh in. And of course MG books feature kid POVs but no one expects the author to be a kid. However, we all were kids so as long as we can capture the voice and experience, it's all good!)

Fearless Reider said...

I just finished knitting a teeny-tiny dress and a teeny-tiny hat for a teeny-tiny person and I ruined the hat yesterday by being too fussy and too clever by half. There's a rainbow stripe and things can get a little wonky where the seven colors are joined. I was about to ship it off when I let perfectionism get the best of me and tried to reweave an end, which somehow resulted in a small hole, then tried to darn it, which somehow resulted in a larger hole, which resulted in me frogging the whole thing (rip-it, rip-it) and starting over. It will only take me a day or two to reknit the hat, but the teeny-tiny person is growing less teeny-tiny by the moment, so the race is on.

Amy, I'm just seconding Miriam. With care, you can safely include characters who reflect the diversity around you, as long as your POV character aligns with your own identity. That's not to say you absolutely can't write a POV character who doesn't share your identity and experience, but that gets complicated real fast.

Barbara Etlin said...

Amy, I think you're going to be okay as long as your main POV character is the same ethnicity as you are. For the other, diverse characters, get one or more sensitivity reader/s to ensure you're not promoting stereotypes. You don't have to worry about writing about male characters.

These are sensitive times, in publishing and in real life. While you'll never avoid offending everyone, it's our duty as writers to make an effort to try to get it right.

That's my plan, anyway. (It might be a bit difficult to get a sensitivity reader from the Middle Ages.)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I am never as clever as I wish I was. And now I just want lemon pound cake. And tea. And a day off.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

You have an oven!!
Have you gotten rid of your snot green couch yet?

Have I ever been too clever for my own good?

Unknown said...

Too clever and major newbie approach. I sent an agent a query in the voice of the manuscript. >.< The MS involves an aircraft so I thought it would be fun to welcome the agent as a new member of the crew. I pulled out all the bells and whistles with letterhead and stamps and even a custom handmade envelope. It was super clever. They did at least send back the hand painted postcard, so I have that as reminder.

Amy Johnson said...

Thanks, Brenda, Miriam, Fearless, and Barbara for responding to my comment. :)

Also, I think that lemon pound cake with banana and whipped cream would have suited my palate just fine. Yummy!

KDJames said...

But... but... what if the bananas and whipped cream addition resulted in the best flavour combo you'd ever tasted? And congrats on the new oven!!

I pretty much always think I'm way more clever than I am (it's a low bar), but sometimes the most ill-advised ideas turn out to be among the very best I've ever had. I do try to pause before I jump in and ask myself whether it'll hurt anyone other than myself, because that's not okay. But my curiosity is usually bigger than my sense of self-preservation. I'd rather try something outrageous and fail miserably than always wonder whether that thing might have been fabulous. No regrets.

MA Hudson said...

Amy - It's so exciting that your book is query-ready. I think you should go ahead and test the waters. Most of the hyper-sensitivities in the publishing industry seem to be in the YA community, and since your book is written with empathy, I'm sure it will be awesome. I heard an Aboriginal writer give a 'sensitivity' talk here once. She said you can write anything about anyone, as long as you're not being an asshole.

BJ Muntain said...

It's not Monday here in Canada. It's Thanksgiving. It would be the perfect day for lemon pound cake, but I have 1 1/2 gluten-free pumpkin pies, so I'll be good. We had supper at my mum's last night, with turkey, stuffing (gluten-free for me), veggies, and gravy. I brought back enough leftovers for several meals.

As for clever... who? Me?

Craig F said...

I gave up on being too clever for my own good for Lent some time ago. Applied more science to all I do and that made things less spontaneous. It appears that many of my bad habits were based in spontaneity.

So much for that. Yeah I get too clever for my own good. I started a YA Urban Fantasy. horror thing. For me that is probably too clever for my own good.

I have never had to live without an oven, so I'm glad you got one. There are still things a toaster oven does better, but not many.

I wasn't aware that lemon and banana didn't go together. I, occasionally, make lemon curd to go with my banana bread, and it works really well.

I do, though, use lemon zest along with the lemon juice to give it more Bam! said...

I've only skimmed these blog comments--So, everybody's finished with this blog and my cleverness (if any) will not be noted----but where would we be without the clever people--whose cleverness at some point was laughed at: the Einsteins, the Edisons, the Musks?

Bloody noses have their place. So, get up clever writers, wipe your nose and show us what you got!

Amy Johnson said...

Hopping back on here late because I want to thank MA: Thanks. I always appreciate your thoughts and encouragement, friend.

And Texas, if you're seeing this late comment, know that I saw your late comment: Your cleverness was noted. Well said!