Monday, 2 November 2015

What not to do for NaNoWriMo (which I am probably 100% guilty of)

Don’t stop writing:
No matter how much you have prepared for this month (if you are pantser then you haven’t prepared much I know) there will always be unforeseen things that might force you to stop half-way or not hit those sweet 50k. This is okay, it happens to all of us and you are as much of a winner as those people who finish in 2 days and probably a lot more hydrated. The goal is to teach yourself to write every day even if it is only a couple of lines and to apply these techniques to the times that follow November. And with this even taking your first baby steps into the writing world makes you a winner. 

Do not doubt yourself:
Doubt is your worst enemy (other than time management, but we will get back to that) and has the deadly silent slaying power of a ninja. Just when you think you have it under control and that you are doing alright one line in your novel can trip you up and stall your work for hours. Remember that this month is about writing a rough draft and not finishing a complete novel in 30 days! When the little things start nagging you or if a line doesn’t quite sound right, take a deep breath and move on. Remember that by doing this you are winning the small battles so you can face the big war named editing.

Do not edit:
On a similar note. This is not the month for editing anything. Leave the mistakes in and have a laugh about them afterwards. Power on trooper!

Do not chose this time to start a new blog, website, kangaroo farm etc:
This is the one that always gets me and that I am well aware of is what I am guilty of right now.
If you have never sat down to write any large amounts of text before then the prospect can seem scary. Enter the ever tempting procrastination in all her velvety delight. Penning down 1600 words a day is hard enough in itself but adding another time-consuming activity on top of it will greatly induce the chances of your precious time management failing drastically. There is always something else that seems more appealing if you are struggling to get the words flowing and although I encourage that you still make time for other activities you need to ask yourself if you should embark on such a large project as NaNo if you would rather be petting baby kangaroos all day.    

Do not over book every weekend in November.
A lot of us work full-time and still try to jam writing in on top of this. Weekends are for catching up with your word count to make up for all the unforeseen events of the weekdays. It is your snuggly safety blanket that will make up for overtime, broken washing machines and children getting colds. It will cushion the fall from forgetting to charge your laptop before a long commute or for the times when that inspiration is just not coming to you because of fatigue etc. Every year I make sure to book at least one weekend in November to sit down in my den and catch up or at least let the creative juices flow for a couple of undisturbed hours of peace.

Do not think that you will have a finished novel by the end of November.
50.000 words does not a novel make. It makes a good first draft and it lets you grasp the potential of your story, but it is not a full novel!

Do not let anyone read your project:
This is serious business to me. I have seen potential writerlings in the making crumble and fall on this. Critique, whether it be from yourself or others, has no place in your life this month. It is okay to bounce ideas of other people and be inspired by what they might have to say and maybe help you out if you get stuck, but letting people play jump rope with your carefully crafted words is not okay. The point of this month is to write 50.000 words of awesome word ramblings and not look back. What other people initially think of your plot, characters and wordings is irrelevant right now as you are just writing a rough draft and their criticism will most likely end up hurting more than helping. Imagine if you will that you have decided to bake a cake, your favourite chocolate fudge brownie or whatever tickles your fancy (no running off to actually bake a cake now alright!) and you get all your ingredients together. Its all looking good until your mother shows up and decides to add raisins or some other ungodly ingredient to the batter. Suddenly you no longer have the cake you had expected but instead you are stuck with something slightly inedible which you struggle to eat. Writing is much the same as baking that cake. You have all the elements of your novel stuffed in your head, written on a notepad or etched into your skin somewhere and that one sour ingredient that another person wishes for you to add so it fits their likes, might end up spoiling the project for you and making the rest of the month a struggle.

Do not listen to friends and family that tell you that you stand no chance to complete this. There are many cases in life where we would love to have the full support of the people around us and writing is no different. Every writer has heard the line; When are you getting a real job? at least once or twice (a week) in their career but you are not embarking on this project for their sake. You are doing this because you want to test yourself. Dip your toes in the big writing pool before diving in. Forget other people’s expectations on your behalf for at least this month and then the mountain of emotional baggage can tumble over and fall on you afterwards when you let them read your project.  

Monday, 1 April 2013

A-Z challenge and music Monday!

So 1st of April! Wow how times fly when you are having fun! Today marks a lot of things for me this year; anniversary with husband (a recurring thing of course), start of campnanowrimo, start of A-Z challenge and start of a new job which will potentially lead to moving closer to friends and family and finally leaving university life behind. It is all a bit overwhelming, exciting and probably a lot to juggle at the same time, but might as well keep myself busy right?
For camp I writing 25k based on the story i linked a couple of weeks ago; Prey tell if you have not read it.

Today's challenge letter is A for Amanda Palmer. People who have followed me through various versions of this blog might have discovered that she is one of my favorite artists. In danger of sounding like a cliche her songs seem to reach me on a deeper level and can always brighten up my day. It is hard for me to chose which song is my favorite, so I picked the one that suits my mood right now:

On my mind

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Fiction uhm... Sunday.

Because I have been absolutely swamped with life's weird curve-balls the last two weeks I have yet to actually post anything for fiction Friday. Today I was catching up with the blog-sphere that we writers frequent and pretend to not manically follow to every last letter when it comes to advice. One of the ones I have stuck with for ages is Terrible Minds by Chuck Winding. This weeks flash challenge provided us with a random sentence generator that would inspire us to write our story. 
Seeing as I have feeling a bit meh about my writing skills lately I decided to take a chance and presto I had a 1000 words in little over an hour that I was pretty satisfied with myself. Maybe it will turn out to be a longer story as it kind of doesn't have a real ending but more of a teaser. It is an idea from back when I was beginning to contemplate writing steampunk/urban LGBT stories (haven't quite given up on the idea yet) that didn't evolve into what I wanted from it. 
I drew the following lines from the random generator btw:

An arc swears on top of the satellite
The bust reads against the young passenger
On top of whatever method cracks the respective applicant
The essence turns outside the symbolic bias
Over the blame staggers a misfortune
A homosexual turnround gossips over an icon
This alleged exponential forgets the complex
A grandmother positions the scope
Within the girlfriend turns a crown
The snack thinks? 

And I went with the last one after much deliberation and help from the husband. Hitman grandmother was a close second though. Maybe I will write that for next time. Without more chit-chat here is the story I got out of my sentence. As usual please comment here on my blog, on my facebook page C.B Rabbich or even send me an email
                               Prey tell?

Victoria caught the eye of most men and some women stood in line outside the Hellraiser, New York’s hottest club of the moment. Well aware of the effect her powers would have on them she flicked her hair playfully as she strode to the front of the queue. Her pale skin, bright blue eyes and most importantly her long slender ears that marked her as one of elder races immediately earned her the respect she sought after and she was let in.
Adjusting the strap of her dress slightly she flashed a smile at the wardrobe dweeb and was allowed to bring her bag with her into the dark of the club. It was early in the evening but already the place was packed with 20-somethings dancing to some horrible droning music that Victoria had no love for.
Some of the older members of the council preferred to go to posher clubs where all the humans were screened first for suitability or went to markets which sold imported goods, but she had no time or use for such an expensive pet. She was young and not so dependent on feeding, so she was doing fine on a steady diet of small snacks. Besides, she enjoyed the thrill of the hunt and the fact that her snacks did not need to be the sniveling butt-kissing type of humans that followed their masters everywhere in order to soak up a little bit of the glamour of the Elven High court. Her way also meant that the pathetic humans would flock to her and practically throw themselves at her feet, but she would have a choice and tried to always go for the curious but not convinced types which would give their goods up willingly but who, out of fear, wouldn't try and contact her again to achieve the same reward of ecstasy she knew they felt during her feeding.
She surveyed the room hoping to find some eye-candy that was not too dolled up and her eyes fell on a small group of women nervously looking around the room themselves. It was clear from their ridiculous hair accessories and pink t-shirts that they were here only because the bride-to be, now seen with a somewhat similar blonde girl grinding against several men on the dance floor, had requested they go here. Victoria guessed that most of them were drinking none alcoholic drinks and would like nothing better than to be home in their beds curled up with a period romance. They would be easy to convince without over-using her powers and would no doubt prefer to go back to their dull lives and forget everything that happened tonight. One girl in particular caught her attention. Petite and dark haired, the girl’s features reminded Victoria a lot of someone she knew but she couldn’t quite connect the dots. In her long life she had met many people and eventually, she resolved while she started her walk towards a free table close to the group, there were bound to be humans that bore resemblance to each-other. The girl raised her head and looked directly at her and Victoria could see the cogwheels working inside that pretty little head of hers. Normally humans would break contact as soon as they realized what she was, but this one just stared unnerved by the presence of an elder. The snack thinks? Interesting. The game was on.
She sat down but kept her eye-contact with the girl. Victoria felt a shiver of something run down her spine. Was it fear or lust? It was a long time since she had been afraid of anything. She had been blessed with good looks which meant that as long as humans existed she would never struggle to find willing subjects that didn't mind sacrificing a bit of their life-energy to her in exchange for just being in her presence. The girl stood up and excused herself to her friends who were either texting or watching the soon to be bride on the dance floor with disinterest. Her prey was coming to her and she had not used any of her powers. This was rare…   
As the girl sat down on a vacant chair at her table, Victoria felt only the tiniest amount of fear in her inner being. Something about this young woman was not quite right. The music switched, as on cue, to a slow ballad.
“I’m Karen.” The human made no gesture to shake hands.
“Victoria Azenda.” Karen nodded.
“I know who you are.” Victoria’s eyes widened slightly at this. She always chose different clubs, different towns, and different days. Had she seen this girl before and lost the memory of her somewhere in the haze of the many feeds?
“Have I?...”
“No, you have not fed on me. But that is why you are here right? To feed?” Victoria could only manage a slight nod of the head. Her snack really did think. Karen continued.
“We need each-other Victoria Azenda, more than you think. You need to feed and I need information. It should be a fair trade.” Victoria narrowed her brows. Who was this human to demand anything of her? She reached for her purse but Karen stopped her with a warm hand on her arm that sent surges of power through Victoria like she had never felt before that made her gasp for air.
“What… are you?”
“I am the only thing standing between you and a terrible evil that has just been unleashed. They are coming for each and every one of you and there is nowhere you can hide!”
Victoria took a sharp intake of breath as she yet again locked gaze with the young woman and suddenly understood who she was.
“How is that possible?” Karen flashed a smile not quite human.
“Oh I think you will find that my father has many secrets and I am just the cherry on the top of the delicious ice-cream.”     

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

World-food Wednesday - Ideas for sushi

Short post as I am absolutely trashed from working in the garden for two days in a row. When I mean work, I of course mean raking, digging, carrying heavy stuff around and today crawling on the ground pulling up weeds. And although it is very gratifying work I am watching the now cloudy sky with some kind of hidden agenda that it might start raining and I can have a rest tomorrow.

Anyway food of the week is one of my personal favorite dishes of all time; Sushi. Now I know what you are thinking, I don't like raw fish and isn't it hard to make?

As to the making of the sushi there are a lot of rolling guides on youtube and various other places that can show you the basics. Everyone has a different way of rolling and it is a just a matter of jumping into it and finding out what works for you.

The raw fish can be avoided by using a number of other combinations. In our house we have our personal favorites (husband does still not eat raw fish) We stick to making the closed rolls as they are easy to manage, but have made in-side out ones and nigiris as well. We always use cucumber in ours.

Ideas for filling:
- smoked salmon, avocado, cream cheese or wasabi mayo.
- marinated smoked salmon (marinate in soy, lime, sesame oil), avocado and cream cheese.
- Pickled beetroot
- Canned tuna stirred with a tiny bit of yogurt and optional caviar.
- Sauteed carrots
- Cheddar or feta

Only real advice I have for people; make sure you have a very very sharp knife to cut the buggers as they otherwise collapse. Have fun with it, it has sure brought lots of giggles into our household. 

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Silly Saturday

Silly Saturday with a serious message. I have someone in my writing group suggesting that everyone should join in on her webpage and release a chapter of their new book every month until done... For free of course. So not only would she generate massive attention for her own things (which she does not put online) but we would get no pay for our work. To this I have found the following picture:

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

World-food Wedensday. Soup soup soup and some cake.

It is no secret that living in the cold north I have months on end where I am pretty much addicted to root veggies in any kind of food. I love the little buggers. Mostly they just get washed/peeled and stuffed in the oven with oil and garlic but sometimes I like to experiment a little bit. Also combined with this was the fact that my bestie was visiting us on Friday and I felt like spoiling her with a 3-course meal that wouldn't cost the world. So I set out to plan a full meal with minimum cost, kicked the husband out of the kitchen and gave him one task; to take pictures of the food. While he did manage to snap a few good ones of me and the bestie he forgot the food. So you will have to look at me only:

Our menu ended up looking like this:

Starter: Potato blinis with smoked and marinated salmon, Greek yoghurt and finely chopped onions. I won't share the recipe for the potato blinis with you as it turned out more like plate sized pancakes with a weird consistency (nothing wrong with the flavour though), but the salmon was marinated in sesame oil, soy, lime juice and garlic and turned out really well. Even husband who doesn't like smoked salmon was nuts about it.

Main: Cheesy cauliflower and carrot soup with roasted Sarrano ham and homemade bread.
Now this is a dish that I have adapted from an old Jamie Oliver show and it has been hiding out in my food binder for years until I got a new cook-book by Mr. Oliver and it was there again! My husband thinks that I have an unhealthy obsession with cauliflower but it is much more versatile than people give it credit for. We use it for millet-cauliflower mash (as a healthier alternative to mashed potato and also a remnant of the first year of our relationship and my husband being a vegetarian) or as a main ingredient in curries.
To make this soup you will need for 4 people:
2 carrots.
2 sticks of cellery (can be left out if you as us have either allergies or just don't like the taste)
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic.
100-200 grams of cheddar depending how much you love your cheese. Do yourself a favour and get a decent one as it adds so much flavour to the soup.
800 grams of cauliflower (one large)
2 cubes of stock unless you are fancy and make your own.
Spices to your liking (would recommend at least chilli oil/sauce to give it a kick and stay back on the salt depending on which cheese or meat you use.)
1 tsp of mustard.

Meat or vegetable garnish of your choice and bread are optional but highly recommended.

Prep carrots and sellery and dice. Prep onions and chop them in medium sized cubes. Chop the garlic finely. Cut the cauliflower into 1½ cm thick slices to ease the cooking time. Heat up 2 tbsp of oliveoil in a large pot and cook the vegetables without lid for 10 mins on medium heat or until the onions turn a light brown and carrots are soft, but not mushy. Boil 1 3/4 liter of water and add stock. Add to the pot. Get it to boiling and then let it simmer with lid for 10 mins.
Remove the pot from the heat and add cheese, mustard and spices. Blend and serve with the garnish of your choice.

Dessert: Strawberry and chocolate Mille feuille which looks something like the cake below.

These puppies are complicated business and although I was not quite happy with the outcome they tasted very nice and posh. They were also the single most expensive item on the menu, but so totally worth it. 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Music Monday and Oscar night hang-overs.

Morning people.
I'm pretty much not awake while writing this after having spent all night watching the Oscars which for people in our neck of the woods means staying up until at least to see the "big ones."
We did an Oscar ballot and out of 24 categories I only managed to guess 9, so safe to say that I don't always agree with the jury about which movies are art and which ones are just... well American propaganda.
For those who did not watch it here are some results for you:
Oh and seeing as it is Music Monday and it is little over a month until Game of Thrones season 3 premieres (March 31st) here is a little friendly banter from one author to the next ;)

Write like the wind!

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Alan Arkin in "Argo"
Robert De Niro in "Silver Linings Playbook"
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "The Master"
Tommy Lee Jones in "Lincoln"
* Christoph Waltz in "Django Unchained"
Best Animated Short Film
"Adam and Dog," Minkyu Lee
"Fresh Guacamole," PES
"Head Over Heels," Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly
"Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare,' " David Silverman
* "Paperman," John Kahrs
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
* "Brave," Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
"Frankenweenie," Tim Burton
"ParaNorman," Sam Fell and Chris Butler
"The Pirates! Band of Misfits," Peter Lord
"Wreck-It Ralph," Rich Moore
Best Foreign-Language Film
* "Amour," Austria
"Kon-Tiki," Norway
"No," Chile
"A Royal Affair," Denmark
"War Witch," Canada
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in "The Master"
Sally Field in "Lincoln"
* Anne Hathaway in "Les Miserables"
Helen Hunt in "The Sessions"
Jacki Weaver in "Silver Linings Playbook"
Adapted Screenplay
* "Argo," screenplay by Chris Terrio
"Beasts of the Southern Wild," screenplay by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
"Life of Pi," screenplay by David Magee
"Lincoln," screenplay by Tony Kushner
"Silver Linings Playbook," screenplay by David O. Russell
Original Screenplay
"Amour," written by Michael Haneke
* "Django Unchained," written by Quentin Tarantino
"Flight," written by John Gatins
"Moonrise Kingdom," written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
"Zero Dark Thirty," written by Mark Boal
Achievement in Directing
"Amour," Michael Haneke
"Beasts of the Southern Wild," Benh Zeitlin
* "Life of Pi," Ang Lee
"Lincoln," Steven Spielberg
"Silver Linings Playbook," David O. Russell
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain in "Zero Dark Thirty"
* Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook"
Emmanuelle Riva in "Amour"
Quvenzhane Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Naomi Watts in "The Impossible"
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook"
* Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln"
Hugh Jackman in "Les Miserables"
Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master"
Denzel Washington in "Flight"
Best Motion Picture
"Amour," Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka and Michael Katz, producers
* "Argo," Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, producers
"Beasts of the Southern Wild," Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, producers
"Django Unchained," Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, producers
"Les Miserables," Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, producers
"Life of Pi," Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, producers
"Lincoln," Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, producers
"Silver Linings Playbook," Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, producers
"Zero Dark Thirty," Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, producers