Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Triple-Chocolate Mousse

What am I reading now? Shades of Milk and Honey (Mary Robinette Kowel, Glamourist Histories #1)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? I really do enjoy period romances: medieval, Regency, Victorian. Almost as much as I love paranormal romance. So it makes sense that his Victorian era romance mixed with magic would be a home run for me. I loved the magical element of people who could weave ether into imaginary scenes that looked real to those around them. The scenes were so sensory rich, I could imagine them as if I were in the room.

Triple Chocolate Mousse
This yummy dessert is made with dark, milk and white chocolate mousses.

Beat 4 cups heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks. Don't add sugar.

Combine 2 small packages white chocolate fat-free sugar-free instant pudding mix with 2 cups milk and blend for 2 minutes. It will set in a couple of minutes. When set, place in microwave for 30 seconds and remove to beat. Repeat to take the chill off the pudding.

Gather three microwavable bowls to melt chocolates. Put 2 cups of white chocolate chips in one, 2 c. milk chocolate in another and 2 c. dark chocolate in the last. Melt in the microwave by heating for 40 seconds, then 30 seconds (stir), then 20 seconds (the white chocolate usually melts first take it out if needed and continue with the other two to finish,) then 15 seconds. When the chocolate and the bowl feel warm to the touch, take it out and let the rest of the chips melt from the residual heat.

Using beaters, blend 1/3 of the pudding into each of the melted chocolates.

Fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream into each of the chocolate mixtures. Reserved the last 1/4 to make the column up the center and to garnish the top.

Assemble using pastry bags. Fill a bag with dark chocolate mousse, another with milk chocolate mousse, another with white chocolate mousse, and the last with the remaining whipped cream.

Starting with the dark chocolate, fill in the bottom of the glass. Then make a column of whipped cream that will be in the center of the next two layers. (Mousse is a very rich dessert and the whipped cream will temper the sweetness of the mousse flavors.)

Pipe in the milk chocolate mousse then the white chocolate mousse. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and raspberries.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Write Small

What am I reading now?  Of Poseidon (Anna Banks)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? I started laughing on the first page at "intoxicated walrus" and loved the humor throughout. I picked it up because the cover was beautiful. I kept turning the pages and turning the pages because I couldn't put it down. The voice of each character was interesting and their own interests propelled the story into a fun plot. The cliff hanger at the end ensures that I will traipse to Barnes and Nobel tomorrow and buy the next book.

Write Small

No, I don't mean like this.
The idea behind writing small, is to take one portion of the text and delve into the heart and mind of the character to give the small details.

Which one do you like better?

When we start class, I let the students know that Jade moved. “If you would like to send Jade a letter to tell her goodbye or that you were glad she was in our class, I will gather them up and mail them to her tomorrow.”

•When we start class, I let my students know that Jade moved. I glance at the children's faces and can’t help but imagine the sorrow and fear they would have to find themselves without their moms. Tears are barely behind my eyes, burning with heat, and my voice is soft and low. “If you would like to send Jade a letter to tell her goodbye or that you were glad she was in our class, I will gather them up and mail them to her tonight.”

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Short Term Goals for the Hero(ine)

What am I reading now?  Invisibility (Andrea Cremer and David Levithan)
Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  I loved the New York-iness, the landmarks and sounds, the busyness and bigness in the setting for the story. I loved the original idea of the person who feels invisible there and the person who is. Stephen was born invisible, to his parents, to everyone, to himself. He has never been seen and has only interacted with his mother who died recently. When Elizabeth sees him and talks to him, he's shocked and wonders what is different about her that allows her to do what he has desperately wanted but also feared.

The book is written from both point of view characters, alternating chapters. I loved the writing style of Cremer but not the character (Elizabeth) so much. I loved the character of Stephen much, much more but the writing style of Levithan didn't resonate with me. I'm sure this is a personal preference and many people will see it differently.

 Short-Term Goals For Characters
Here's something Deanna and I have been learning this past month. We've been thinking about and plotting a serial series. We haven't been big on plotting before, usually we saved plot analysis for revision. But this time we are using the structure from Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. There are 15 plot points to a completed story. But since we are writing a serial we have the basic 15 plot points over the completed series but 15 within each novella too.

What we are forced to consider is how each novella has to have a goal the characters work toward. These become the subgoals for the larger story. The ah-ha we've had is how our new learning about sub-goals will affect our future writing of novels as well.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Purposes of Dialogue

What am I reading now?  Born of Illusion (Teri Brown)
Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Anna and her mother are an acclaimed spiritual medium (mom) and magician (Anna) that have moved to New York in the 1920s (I would love to read more books set in their time period.) For her whole life, Anna has moved frequently, lied, cheated and deceived people to create credibility for her mother's show and subsequent seances. But Anna has a secret; while her mother is a fraud, Anna has strong psychic abilities that put her life at risk. As the supposed illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini, Anna wonders if her abilities were the only gift she received from her father.

The Purposes of Dialogue
In the iWriteNetwork Summer Workshop, Greg Park spoke about making dialogue work harder in our stories. He gave us a list of the goals of dialogue and challenged us to create dialogue that uses more than one of them at a time. Here's the list:

• Reveal character and motivations
• Create or add to existing conflict
• Move the plot forward and/or increase its pace
• Establish tone or mood
• Create immediacy and intimacy (build reader empathy)
• Foreshadow
• Provide exposition or back story
• Remind the reader of things they may have forgotten.