Wednesday, 2 October 2013

What's Up Wednesday

Hey, folks! It’s time for What’s Up Wednesday again! In case you’re new to WUW, it’s a blog hop created by my sister Jaime and me, intended to help writers keep in touch with one another. If you’d like to participate, please sign up on the linky below, and be sure to spread some writerly encouragement around to at least a few other people taking part. Because my sister is awesome, and she’s apparently a button factory, she made a lovely new autumn themed button for us. Please help yourself to it!


What I’m Reading:

I’m still reading Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, but I only have a few chapters left. Seriously, if I didn’t have so many other things to do, I could easily have devoured this book in one sitting.



What I’m Writing:

Plotting, plotting, and more plotting. Every time I think I have my plot details sorted out, I find some wrinkle in my plans. It’s not so much the details themselves as how they all need to fit together seamlessly. That’s okay though, because while I mull these things over, usually some juicy new details work their way into the mix. Eventually (meaning hopefully this week) I’ll figure out how to arrange it so all those scenes play out like a nice, smooth line of dominoes falling over.


What Inspires Me Right Now:

Wind and rain and tree branches beating against the house at night while I write. The way our yard looks like Rivendell with a constant shower of yellow leaves falling. Season premieres of TV shows with horrible, unbelievably shoddy writing that make me determined to create better stories. Pumpkins.

What Else I’ve Been Up To:

For whatever reason, I always seem to mention beverages in my posts. I suppose that’s because many writing sessions, relaxing moments, or fun times are accompanied by something good to drink, so…

When my son decided to go play bocce with his grandparents this weekend, the husband and I had an impromptu date at Winston’s English Pub. I’ve mentioned their Guinness beef stew in a bread bowl before, but this time I included a picture. Call me boring, but I ordered it again because it was just so freaking good. And the concept of a bread bowl just appeals to my practical side. And my stomach. The Cobblestone stout I ordered was much to my liking, but my husband’s Rogue chocolate stout may have been one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Absolutely amazing.

And at the risk of sounding like all we do is drink beer, we then went home and made a batch of PUMPKIN stout, which should be ready on time for Halloween. How fun is that?! Mostly I sat on the kitchen floor and read Crown of Midnight while my husband (who has his system all worked out) did the important steps, but I pitched in when he needed a hand. We’re calling this latest homebrew “Monster Mash,” a little play on words seeing as the soaking grains used to make beer are referred to as “mash.” If I have time, I might even design a fun label for the bottles. We’ll see.


Oh yes. One other thing I've been doing is taking pictures of pumpkins. You probably caught that though. I couldn't resist, especially since one of them met a sad (but hopefully noble) end in the pumpkin stout and deserved to be immortalized before drank.

Care to share what’s happening with you these days?



50 comments:

  1. Best of luck with the plotting! May the scenes tumble like dominos ;) That's a great image.

    Love the pumpkin images. I just love this time of year sooooo much!

    Nothing wrong with talking about beverages. It all sounds very delicious.

    Have a wonderful week, Erin!

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    1. Glad you liked the domino metaphor! Right now the group of scenes I'm working on is more like a collapsing house of cards, but it'll get there eventually. I couldn't resist adding a few of my pumpkin pictures. I thought they made the blog more festive. Hope you have a wonderful week too, Cole! :D

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  2. Good luck with plotting! I often find the details don't all fall into place until I start writing, no matter how much planning I do! I love October, pumpkins and pretty-coloured leaves being one of the main reasons! I always find myself inspired at this time of year.

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    1. That's very true about the details falling into place once you start writing. The creative aspect of actual writing has a way of taking things in other directions or gelling details together. My problem right now is that the writing keeps stopping and starting, because I need to figure things out before moving on. Ah well. I think it's just this patch of scenes that's a problem and they'll be hammered out soon enough.

      October is my favourite month! I think it's the best time of year for inspiration too. :)

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  3. That stew looks delicious!
    "Season premieres of TV shows with horrible, unbelievably shoddy writing that make me determined to create better stories." Agreed! There is a lot of sloppy writing on TV right now--one exception being Breaking Bad. Although that series just ended (sniff!).
    Have a great week!

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    1. The stew was incredible. I really need to figure out the recipe, so I can make my own!

      So far the new TV season has been a real let down--both new shows and old ones we're continuing on with. I haven't checked out Breaking Bad, but I've heard so much about it that I'm thinking maybe I should. The exception for us is The Good Wife. Its season premiere was awesome and the writing is always head and shoulders above everything else we watch. Totally recommend it.

      Hope you have a great week too!

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  4. If we lived closer to one another, I think my husband would volunteer to be your official homebrew taster :)

    I'm jealous of your colorful leaves! I've seen a few patches on trees here and there, but the 80+ degree week we're having isn't helping. Come on, fall!

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    1. And my husband would be more than happy to try out his homebrew on willing guinea pigs lol!

      Where I live now, we mostly get yellow leaves. They're pretty, but I miss the red and orange leaves where I grew up back east. I'll take what I can get though! Wow, 80 degree weather. Sometimes we're that hot here in September, but usually by October things have cooled down. The nights start to get pretty chilly here as early as August though. Hope you get some nice fall weather soon!

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  5. I love this post, Erin. Pictures of pumpkins, and stew, and imagining your Rivendell yard, has me longing for chilly weather here. Texas is actually quite wonderful in the fall, but fall weather doesn't usually hit until late October, sometimes even well into November.

    Your writing will get there, all in good time, and probably in a way you couldn't have foreseen at the beginning. I think most writing is a result of both good plotting and total abandon.

    Have a wonderful week!

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    1. I guess my Canadian fall can get you primed for your Texas fall then! I seriously wish it was autumn all year round.

      I love, love, love how you put this: "most writing is a result of both good plotting and total abandon." That one is going in my writing quotes book for sure. Total abandon actually resulted in an accidental all night writing session for me earlier this week. Oops, but at the same time I love it when that happens. Right now, I feel like this patch of scenes I'm working on has sort of hit a plateau, but I'm trying to plow ahead, and I'll make it all more exciting in the revision stage, I think.

      Have a wonderful week yourself!

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  6. So many things to comment on! PUMPKINS! WINSTON'S! I hope you don't mind, but I stole that picture of you and Trev for myself. I don't really have any recent pictures of you guys and this one is good! I know what you mean about plot wrinkles. I feel like that's all I come up with now when I'm thinking about my stories: issues that need sorting out. It sounds like it's coming along well though, so that's good. That's awesome that you and Trev got to go on an impromptu date the other day! You really should do that kind of thing more often. :-) Love all the pumpkin pics. I'd kind of like to carve one for Halloween, only using a drill and putting a word like "Lumos" into the side of it instead of a face. Not sure how practical that would be considering we're moving right around then. We'll see. Have a great week, Erin! :D

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    1. I don't mind at all! I look a little like a deer in the headlights, but then I always do in pictures. We really need to do a recent family photo this year too actually. Maybe for Christmas. Our spur of the moment date was a lot of fun and tasty too!

      As far as plot wrinkles go, you and I will have to discuss those and see what we can come up with for solutions. I think my biggest problem right now is that I have this whole string of scenes that are introducing important plot points but are making the story drag. Plus, I've had to shuffle them all around repeatedly to try and figure out the best way for them to lead into one another. It'll work out eventually, but in the meantime it's giving me a headache.

      I love the Lumos idea and using a drill to cut the pumpkin! It reminds me of those tin can Christmas lanterns you can do with a hammer and nails. I might have to steal your idea! Hope you have a great week too!

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  7. Ack, what shows were you watching where the storylines were so bad? I've actually been pretty happy with the new shows I've tried so far, but then again, I don't have much problem with overlooking the plotholes or the roll your eyes moments. I'm easily entertained I guess. :p
    Good luck with your plotting.

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    1. The season opener for Castle was just totally unbelievable. I mean, come on writers, it's Nathan Fillion. Give him something to work with. Big Bang Theory was lame and even Modern Family wasn't on top of it's game. There were just a bunch that felt boring and badly written to me. Maybe they'll hit their stride in a few episodes though. That's good if you can overlook the plotholes. I get hung up on them way too easily sometimes. :)

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  8. That beef stew in a bread bowl looks delicious! I don't blame you for ordering it again :)
    I love all the pumpkin pictures, very appropriate for this time of year.

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    1. It was SO good! I wish I had the recipe so I could make my own. I'm glad you enjoyed the pumpkin pictures. I thought I'd spread a little autumn spirit around. :)

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  9. Bread bowls are great. There's a local restaurant here that serves a vegetarian black bean chili in a bread bowl. Really good. And, as you say, very practical. Tasty, and less washing up! :)

    I'm not a stout drinker--a bit too bitter for me--but I'm game to try new flavors. Chocolate stout's okay. Pumpkin might be interesting to try.

    I hope all your plotting and beer-making go well for you this week, Erin! :D

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    1. We tend to eat a lot of soup and stew in the winter at my house, so I should start making bread bowls myself--or get my husband and son to make them, seeing as they're the bread bakers around here. I've served soup in mini pumpkins for Thanksgiving before and that was fun too.

      Stout is definitely an acquired taste. I had to work my way up to appreciating the bitterness. According to my husband, the trend in homebrewing these days is really hoppy beers. In other words, the more bitter the better. I've tried a couple recently that were a little much for me though. I think the pumpkin stout recipe is a little less on the bitterness scale, and it has some spices like cloves and cinnamon, so it should be pretty tasty!

      And thanks! I hope the plotting goes well too because it's sure providing a challenge. As for the beer, it's fermenting in the "cupboard under the stairs" right now. :D

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  10. Mmm, that bread bowl pic looks so delicious. Good luck with your plotting! It can be so insanely fun and so insanely taxing haha.

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    1. It was very good! And filling too! Thanks for wishing me luck with the plotting. It's been draining, but I'm enjoying the challenge anyway. :)

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  11. I love your pumpkin pictures. I'm so excited that Halloween is coming up. Soon I'll have to start decorating my new apartment for the holiday, as well as changing my blog over to the Monster template I used last October.

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    1. I'm glad you liked the pictures! I couldn't resist adding some autumn touches to my post. I'm excited about Halloween too. Have fun decorating your apartment and your blog!

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  12. Pumpkins are my favorite thing during fall! I love that picture of them on top of the stacked-up books the most. I love Autumn: cinnamon and stew and apples. It's like we save all the really good things for this time of year :)

    Good luck plotting!

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    1. The photo of the pumpkin on the book stack is my favourite too. My neighbours probably thought I was crazy snapping pictures of pumpkins under my trees, but I couldn't resist. I love all the things you mentioned about fall too and I'd add sweet potatoes to the list, because we have a couple awesome fall recipes with sweet potatoes in them. I honestly wish it was autumn all year long. :)

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  13. I'm in the plotting zone too - ironing out kinks in the brain. I enjoy it, especially when something new and fresh that AHA prances through. Enjoy the plotting!

    Also, I love pumpkins too! Although not so many pics here - at least until we buy some from our local pumpkin patch!

    Have a great week!

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    1. I feel like I've been stuck in the plotting zone for way too long now. It's a fun challenge, but I'm ready to move on already. Wanna tell my characters to get their act together for me lol? This string of scenes feels like it's incorporating the necessary plot points but needs a boost in the excitement department. I guess that might be a job for the revision stage though, so I'll keep plowing ahead and see what I can do about that later.

      And pumpkins are awesome--so bright and cheerful looking. I used to have a pumpkin patch and would love to grow one again.

      Good luck with all your plotting this week! I'm waving at you across the plotting zone. :)

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  14. okay, now i'm hungry! I can't wait to pick Crown of Midnight, heard nothing but incredible things about it. I'm also doing some plotting, which goes against everything my pantsing self believes, but in order to get through NaNo next month I have to take precautions. glad you had a date night with the hubby!

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    1. Ha ha, sorry about that! I was craving more of that stew like crazy last night. I think maybe every night should be date night. :)

      So far CROWN OF MIDNIGHT has been awesome. I'm pretty sure I'll be giving it five stars on Goodreads, and then waiting for a long, long year until book three comes out. Hope you enjoy it too!

      I can see why you'd work ahead to plot things out before NaNo even if you're a pantser. One month will fly by so quickly! Good luck getting ready for November!

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  15. Mmm... That beef stew and bread bowl look amazing -- perfect fall food! Love all your pumpkin photos, Erin. Best of luck with the plotting, and have a great week. :-)

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    1. It was SO good! I love simple hearty dishes like that, and I really, really need to try and find a stew recipe that tastes like this one. Glad you enjoyed the photos. I thought a few pumpkin pics might make my blog look a bit more fallish and festive. Thanks for wishing me luck with the plotting--I need it right now! Have a great week yourself!

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  16. When you mention Crown of Midnight, I look longingly over to where Throne of Glass is sitting sadly unread on my bookshelf...le sigh...I need to just schedule a weekend to read it. At which point I'm sure I'll just want to get the sequel!

    That stew looked delicious! Lucky you! It seems like such a good choice for fall, too. :)

    Best of luck with your plotting. Fall and winter seem like a good time to edit and plot and plan. Nature is winding down, we end up staying inside more, and the season just seems more contemplative.

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    1. Yes, you should totally do that! It would be a weekend well spent! The stew was amazing and definitely a perfect choice for fall. I'm going to have to try making it myself.

      Thanks for wishing me luck with the plotting. It's coming along, although it wants to keep throwing me for a loop every time I sit down to write. I agree that fall and winter are the best time for plotting/planning/editing. For whatever reason, I always feel more like drafting in the spring and summer. This draft is dragging on into the fall though. Contemplative is the perfect word for describing this season. :)

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  17. lots of pumpkins. We did pumpkins once for Halloween a long time ago, well we carved them, but haven't since. I have never eaten anything or had a drink with anything made from pumpkins. I may have to give it a try sometimes. I like sitting on the kitchen floor too, while hubby is hard at work, or I used too. Not sure I could get up off the floor any more with my back, so I use my wheelchair now. :)

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    1. I love all sorts of foods with pumpkin in them. Come fall we always pull out our pumpkin recipes around here, along with apples and sweet potatoes. Just thinking about it makes me want to get in the kitchen and bake something! I definitely recommend trying something with pumpkin in it! :)

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  18. "And at the risk of sounding like all we do is drink beer..." But is there actually a problem with this? I think not. (Guess how I spent my weekend with my friend visiting...)

    Also, I love how you described your yard as Rivendell. Now I'm really jealous, because our yard more resembles Shelob's cave. I can't wait for the spiders to all be gone...

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    1. Ha ha! Beer has become a hobby around our place, and we definitely enjoy it. Lately my husband has been mysteriously producing all sorts of interesting bottles for me to try while I write. It makes good creative fuel!

      Despite my Rivendell comparison, our yard could use some work. I conveniently ignored the weeds and the pile of boards that's sitting there from our old fence when I got all inspired by the falling leaves. Shelob's cave? Lol! I despise spiders, so I hope they leave you alone soon too! :)

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  19. I can't wait for pumpkin pie, carving pumpkins, and watching Hocus Pocus over and over! Good luck with your plotting! Have a great weekend!

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    1. I need to make some pumpkin pie very, very soon, especially seeing as Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up. Hope you have a great weekend as well!

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  20. Now I'm starving! The bread bowl looks so tasty. I love all of the pumpkin pictures. I have small pumpkins staring at me right now :) Best of luck on your writing!

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    1. It was VERY tasty. I've been craving more of it for the last few days. I'm glad you enjoyed the pumpkin pictures. I had fun taking them. I love small pumpkins--they're great for serving soup in actually! Good luck on your writing too!

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  21. I LOVE that you include "pumpkins" as one of your inspirations. Haha! That is wonderful. And I love the "Monster Mash"! You should totally make a fun label to go with it.

    Good luck with all your plotting! And any beverage lubrication is Very Beneficial to plotting, I've found. So by all means...indulge.

    Hope you have a fantastic week! :)

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    1. There's just something cheerful and magical about pumpkins that inspires me. Maybe it's because they remind me of Hagrid's pumpkin patch and all things Harry Potter (although my love of pumpkins predates HP). October is just such a creative time of the year, probably because of Halloween. I need to start looking for some good clipart to use for our Monster Mash labels. Why go to the trouble of making and naming your beer if you aren't going to give it a fun label, right?

      I think I'm going to need a lot of "beverages" to get me through this bumpy plotting phase. My brain needs a kickstart. :D

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  22. Ohhhh... LOVE the pictures, Erin! And this time of year inspires me too... for some reason, it renews hope, you know? Weird! (And you and your sister are seriously so gorgeous. Models!)

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    1. I'm glad you like the pictures! I looked a little crazy making book and pumpkin collages under the trees in my front yard lol! I totally agree that fall renews hope. Jaime and I were just discussing that this always feels more like the start of the year than January, probably because of the school beginning in September. I think maybe it's all that crisp autumn air that kind of wakes you up after the summer, you know? Ha! Thanks for the compliment! One comment from you boosts my self esteem for a good, long while, Morgan! :D

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  23. Good luck with your plotting! Writing has fallen by the wayside a bit these last few weeks but I plan to dive back in by plotting my new WIP some more. I want to get the Plot Whisperer's Handbook.

    Love the pictures! Pumpkins are the best.

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    1. I'm wondering if I should have let writing purposely fall by the wayside for a few weeks instead of banging my head against the keyboard over these plot details. Sometimes a break and focusing on other things is exactly what's needed to renew your perspective. I hope plotting goes smoothly for you when you jump into your new WIP soon! So exciting to have a brand new story idea waiting for you!

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  24. Beer tasting and beer making - sounds like fun! I love all the pumpkin photos, too, and that photo of you and your husband is lovely. :) I am soooo excited to read CROWN OF MIDNIGHT. So. Excited. Also, your front yard sounds amazing (Rivendell? I'm there.) and this is beautiful, "... so all those scenes play out like a nice, smooth line of dominoes falling over." :)

    Have a great week!

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    1. I tend to do more of the tasting than the making, which I thoroughly enjoy! Glad you liked the photos. Pumpkins are definitely more photogenic than me. It took us several tries to get a good picture of us, but then it's not so easy with a phone camera. Our yard is only amazing if you ignore the pile of old fence boards and the overgrowth of weeds lol! Good thing I have an active imagination, and focusing on the trees definitely helps.

      Like I mentioned in another comment, my story is behaving more like a collapsing house of cards these days than a neat line of dominoes, but it'll get there! Hope you have a great week as well!

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  25. Haha, I love your list of inspirations! Great stuff that. :) And you must be super busy if you've managed to stop so close to the end of Crown of Midnight. I remember a lot of stuff happens in that last section, and I couldn't put it down!

    That bread bowl soup looks so good. I'm getting kind of hungry just looking at it. I also totally get your pumpkin picture taking urge. They're just so cute and festive. I actually took a few pics of pumpkins at the grocery store last weekend because they were so adorable. There was a "fairy tale" pumpkin and it literally looked like those pumpkins you always see in cartoons and illustrations!

    Good luck getting your plot in line!!

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    1. Yeah, it's been a wee bit crazy around here lately. I've been reading really late, after I'm done writing for the night, and so I end up falling asleep regardless of how good the story is. Last night, I sat down and devoured the ending of CROWN OF MIDNIGHT and it was amazing! I'm dying for the next book already!

      I love that you were taking photos of pumpkins at the grocery store! Ha! Now I don't feel so crazy for making book and pumpkin collages in my front yard. The neighbours probably think I'm insane. Okay, I totally want a fairy tale pumpkin now. They sound adorable! :)

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