Today is the day we celebrate veterans. I’m sure all of us have relatives that served in the armed forces. One of my relatives was stationed in Korea, one served in Frankfurt, several served during the Korean Conflict, and WWII. Our family was lucky, all of our loved ones returned home safe and sound. An Australian reporter started the November 11th day of honor of veterans. He simply asked on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour a memorial of silence for two minutes to honor the sacrifice of veterans. A short two minutes…120 seconds for years of being shot at, plotted against, called horrible names, and even their own countrymen not understanding how they could go to war. No one really wants to go to war but when the American way of life is threatened, these brave men and women take a stand. They execute their orders with no thought whether they are protecting Democrats or Republicans, or whether we wear the latest fashion or hand-me-downs, they simply protect us. PLEASE tell every veteran you see today and every day; thanks.
Lily’s Lagniappe: North of Baton Rouge on Highway 61 is Port Hudson, the site of a big battle in the Civil War. To this day folks who visit the battleground still find arrow heads and cannon balls. A place where our young country was struggling with who we actually were is a constant reminder that our democracy is a fragile thing that must be nurtured.
Heading to Gatlinburg, TN with three-fourths of my writer’s group, SOUP SISTERS… We are going to Dollywood today but the rest of our time there will be writing. No one to bother us or make demands. Solitude, pajamas, a little Louisiana gumbo will help the creative juices to flow. Hope all you find a place where you feel whole, inspired, loved and fulfilled.
Lily’s Lagniappe: This time of year it’s turkey frying time in Louisiana. There are cajun spices that can be injected into turkeys. The key to a good fried turkey is the temperature of the oil. Please be careful this season and use fresh turkeys not frozen ones.
Today is Friday. The end of the work week but for most of us the beginning of the writing weekend. Those priceless hours when there are no demands on your time, the sleepless nights we wade through our picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels or young adult novels. It really doesn’t matter what you write there are always issues. Maybe you have too many words in your picture book manuscript or barely 25,000 in your young adult novel which is more of a novella; so you shift subplots and use a thesaurus to whittle down the picture book script. Now you realize it is 7:30 AM the next morning so your family day begins and it is only a mere 12 hours until you can work on these treasures again. Happy writing!!
Lily’s Lagniappe: Thanksgiving usually provides left over turkey, so why not try a Louisiana stable, turkey jambalaya. Many recipes online but remember without rice not a true jambalaya. Rice is a agricultural product of the state. In southern Louisiana there are rice patties scattered all over.
Well, the election is over but more importantly the political ads are over for awhile. As a writer and a former educator it is appalling just how untrue these ads have become. It seems no one wants to tell the truth, only wants to win at any cost. So what about the protagonist and antagonist in your work-in-progress? Are they untruthful? Do they have tunnel vision? Characters are not one sided, they are complex unique individuals with a variety of traits. Some traits are good and others are not. All people have those traits, good and bad. Your characters should reflect that especially your antagonists. No one is all good or all bad.
Lily’s Lagniappe: If you travel to southern Louisiana during the holiday season and happen to be there on Christmas Eve; do not miss the bonfires on the levees. It lights the way for Papa Noel’s journey. It dates back to the 1870’s. It a fun night for families.
Tomorrow we elect new senators, representatives, mayors, and governors. Government is not perfect but it can only work efficiently if we force our elected officials to do as WE want!! If they don’t they are OUT! Vote you choice and then hold them accountable.
Lily’s Lagniappe: Our food is favorable not so hot, you break a sweat when you eat. We add things to enhance flavor not burn your tongue. There is Tabasco Sauce for those who like a little kick! BE WARNED: A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY!!!
This is the weekend we turn the clocks back an hour. It is chilly outside so another hour snuggled in our beds is perfection! The major problem for me is sleeping for that extra hour. I rarely get five hours on a good night. My mind is usually running through issues with the current work-in-progress. Character issues, plot issues and conflict issues. I can only take care of one thing at a time. So today I’m trying to solve character issues.. How about you? Any issues with your manuscript?
Lily’s Lagniappe: If you are seated at Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter in New Orleans eating beignets; WARNING!!! Do not inhale as your take a bite! Loose powdered sugar will choke you every time. The beignet are delicious.
Fall has finally arrived just in time for Halloween. Now all the little munchkins will have to wear coats on their costumes. So many times we clothe our true meaning with descriptors or create diversions for our plots that lead to no where. We give contradictory messages from our characters causing confusion and our readers to lose interest. Hopefully keeping our scary creatures, super heroes, princesses, cowboys, hobos, etc warm doesn’t cause confusion on what they’re pretending to be. So keep characters’ traits clear, plot lines strong and the energy ramped up heading to the climax. Don’t hide the struggle with unnecessary things.
Lily’s Lagniappe: Most plantations backed up to a waterway for shipping crops to other states and countries. The biggest crop during the Antebellum period was cotton. Most of the cotton was shipped to Europe.
The weather can’t decide if it’s going to be warm or cold, are you having the same dilemma? You love this character but hate the direction their taking, you love your secondary character and wonder it is really his story, and lastly the whole project is just tiresome. Try a very simple test. Take your dog, friend, spouse, or significant other and take a walk. Try hard not to think about the novel. Can you do it? Does it leave your mind? Can you concentrate on what your walking partner is saying? If you answer “no” to most of these questions, then this project is one you need to work on with major revisions. If you can answer “yes” to most of these questions then a new project is probably best for you.
Lily’s Lagniappe: On Mondays in Louisiana and parts of the deep south is red beans and rice day. Almost every restaurant will offer this southern delicacy for purchase. Why? During the Antebellum period, Monday’s were laundry day. The kitchen staff or plantation owners would put on beans and let them cook all day. Laundry got done with little or no problem while providing a delicious supper.
The leaves changing, the chill to the air and NaNoWriMo starting in less than a week, makes me wonder just how many writers take this month for what it offers. What happens if I find my plot going wonky or my characters lacking full development? Here is what I believe the month provides: a start and a finish. Will it be perfect? Heck no!! But it is a wonderful spring board to have at least the first draft down on paper. The finished product will not resemble it at all but what an accomplishment!! It is finally out of your head and on paper. Just keep writing…So your character is not perfect, or your plot needs a conflict; those are things you can fix.
Lily’s Lagniappe: If you are brave enough to try the NaNoWriMo prepare a bit ahead of time. Jot down the bare bones of the book you are going to write. Each day you can hone this list of what happens so you can stay on track. Now go forth and conquer!!
Watching the leaves turn this time of year reminds me of things I wanted and needed to get done this year. The proverbial New Year’s Resolutions… this website was on that list. It’s late October so it’s definitely time to get off the duff and get it done.
I’ve made some progress but there is still much to do. Hopefully you will see the results in a couple of weeks.
Today’s little something extra (that is the definition of lagniappe): Talk to your family members about their past. Story ideas abound in their lives. I waited too late for some of more ‘colorful’ family members; don’t let this happen to you.