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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

My Sugar Cookies Are Done (#IWSG)


If you're not feeling insecure then you're either dead, you're drunk, or you're lying to yourself.  


Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog



When do you know your story is ready?
          
         Your story is ready when you've received payment for it and the check is deposited in the bank. That's enough confirmation for me in a practical sense.  But I guess there is more to it than that since you've got to feel confident enough to submit the story in the first place.  You, the writer, have to check it out to see if the story is ready for consumption.

          Let me offer an analogy taken from real life.  Today I decided to make a batch of sugar cookies with an M&M candy stuck in the middle of each one.  I was in the mood for some cookies so I made some.  I have a problem with my oven where apparently the thermostat isn't working or something so I have to carefully watch anything I cook in it.  Yeah, I guess I should get it fixed, but I've gotten used to it.  

          It's not difficult baking stuff, but I do have to cook with care.  First, like when writing something, my past experience gets me started with a knowledge of what to expect.  While whatever is in the oven is baking I use the smell test to make sure it all turns out right.  The story has to smell right in the first place or it's not going to be especially successful.

          While the cookies are baking I have to peek in on them periodically to make sure they look okay.  When I write, I edit as I go to some extent--that's the eyeball test in a sense.  Then when the cookie edges are lightly browned and the general appearance looks ready, I pull the cookies out of the oven to let them cool.   That's the story too:  If it looks good in every respect I can put the story aside for awhile to let it cool off a bit.

          Finally, I'll go back and eat a couple cookies.  That's like the definitive read and edit when I decide whether or not the story is worth serving to others.  And that's the analogy of cookies and stories.   It makes no sense perhaps, but then again I'm just cranking out a blog post and just saying any old silly thing.

          I know this is a stupid analogy, but dammit I've got cookies and I don't have to read any story right now.  So eat your heart out--I'm going to eat my cookies.  And maybe I'll read a book or watch television or something.   And eat a few cookies with a glass of milk.   Later I'll write a story.  Or maybe just another blog post.


Battle of the Bands Vote


    

       There's still time to vote on my current Battle of the Bands competition.  It's a tight race between two versions of a song I originally heard in the 1988 Harrison Ford film Frantic.  I think it's a darn good song with some tasty guitar work in the versions I've matched up.   So if you are so inclined and would be so kind, please stop by this post to cast your vote.   The winner will be announced on Friday.  


          Do you like to bake?  Do you like to eat cookies?    Do you like to think up ridiculous analogies?    


66 comments:

  1. You were excited about those cookies, weren't you?
    The analogy makes sense to me.
    And now I want a cookie.

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  2. Actually, that's a very good analogy!

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    1. MsHatch, the cookies were pretty good too.

      Lee

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  3. Send me a batch of cookies Lee, wonderful post and a pleasure to read.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, you'll have to come and get 'em. Better hurry--they're almost gone.

      Lee

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  4. Loved this, Arlee!! Mind you I had to read it in two sitting. Couldn't stop laughing at the first paragraph. Thank you for sharing your cookies and wisdom. Gratefully accepted :)

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    1. Nicola, now you're encouraging me. That could be dangerous. Really though, I can use all the encouragement that comes my way.

      Lee

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  5. I'm too much of a multi tasking person. I'd get busy on something else and my cookies would burn.

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    1. L.Diane, I was multi-tasking with care. The cookies were prioritized though.

      Lee

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  6. Ha! I love your practical answer in the first sentence. This is the second baking analogy I found today. :)

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    1. Chrys, funny how analogies sometimes come in waves. Kind of like going to the beach of a literary ocean.

      Lee

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  7. I am completely in favor of any process that involves eating cookies!!! Good idea.

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    1. Kathleen, lately I've been eating more cookies than writing. Probably not the best thing for me to be doing, but what the heck.

      Lee

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  8. Actually, it's a pretty good analogy.

    Mary bakes occasionally, but she hasn't in a while. She makes great cookies, which I then eat too many of.

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    1. John, I was thinking that it was a silly analogy, but then I was also striving to write a silly post. I'm feeling a little better that my objectives were met to some extent.

      I've been eating way to many cookies of late, but they're homemade and so hard to resist.

      Lee

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  9. I love baking and baked goods! No one can ever accuse me of being skinny or willowy, due in part to my major sweet tooth.

    Sometimes we think cookies aren't done yet, so we give them more time, only to discover we overbaked them and they really were meant to be a little softer. I also like no-bake cookies, which still require the right amount of each ingredient.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, baking in an oven with a faulty thermostat is especially tricky. It's very easy to overbake whatever I'm baking because things cook too fast.

      Haven't tried making no-bake cookies, but I've eaten some that others have made and they were good.

      Lee

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  10. haha who knew cookies could leave a trail of crumbs to completion. Ridiculous analogies are always fun.

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    1. Patt, I can see where you might appreciate absurd analogies as I think you have indulged in them like I have been indulging in cookies.

      Lee

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  11. Cookies, I love it! Though I'm one of those who just can't be sure till I nearly burn them (sigh).
    It's the same with editing. If I don't hand it off to other eyes I'll pick the poor thing to pieces. It's much better to leave the flavor in;-) Enjoy your cookies, Lee!

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    1. Diedre, a writer can certainly beat a story to death if they keep messing with it. I usually just edit for grammar and spelling errors and leave the content alone as much as I can.

      Lee

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  12. The second baking analogy I have seen today. I believe it makes sense Arlee. You and Elizabeth Seckman should meet up for a Bake-Off content one day. ;)

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    1. Sheena-kay, now that you have identified the other baker writer I'll have to check out that post.

      Lee

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  13. I think allowing the story to settle for a bit is a great idea.

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    1. Elsie, every new thing seems exciting & all glittery at first. Returning after a while we sometimes wonder what the big deal was.

      Lee

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  14. I love to bake! Cutting off slices of cookie dough log and putting them in the microwave counts, right? But I do get finicky when I'm baking for other people.

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    1. Karen Lynn, can you bake cookie dough in a microwave? Maybe I won't have to use my regular oven.

      Lee

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  15. So going by this analogy, does that mean you have a recipe for your story? Like 1/2 cup characater development, 2/3 suspense, 2 tsp climax, etc? And are the M&M's like little unexpected plot twists in the middle?

    IWSG October

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    1. CD, might as well take an analogy as far as it will go, right? That works for me.

      Lee

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  16. I EDIT AS I GO TOO. ALTHOUGH THE NEW NOVEL I'VE BEEN WORKING ON, I'VE NOT BEEN DOING THAT.

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    1. Shelly, I find it very difficult not to edit as I go. Old habits from school days I guess.

      Lee

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  17. Oh, man. I was picturing those cookies. I leaned into the oven to check them with you. I could even smell them! Hope they were as good as they made me feel!

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    1. Liza, I have a few left if you'd like some, but they'll probably be finished off tonight. They were pretty good. Glad I could encourage your cookie cravings.

      Lee

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  18. I like your analogy. My oven runs hot--so I have to use the smell test or else stuff burns. Not sure how that fits with writing--but you can get burned when you revise too much. There's no perfect formula, except knowing that you've done the best you could.

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    1. Jenni, striving for best should always be our goal.

      Lee

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  19. I love to bake! I made pumpkin chox chip cookies a couple weeks ago and there were so many that I have four left.

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    1. JoJo, pumpkin stuff is everywhere now, but it's the season. I limit my batches to about two dozen. They're gone in a few days.

      Lee

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  20. Good analogy. Unfortunately, my husband does all the cooking. Maybe that's why you're making cookies--is it the same in your family?

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    1. Jacqui, yes, my wife works so I have dinner for her when she gets home. She rarely eats any of the cookies so that's mostly for me.

      Lee

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  21. I think there is nothing better then a really great cookie to make the day all sunshine and flowers. A book too if I think about it. I like your analogy. I am more of a cook than a baker but I love eating cookies and I am very picky about them. :)

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    1. Erika, eating really good cookies while reading a book is Heaven on Earth.

      Lee

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  22. "put the story aside for awhile to let it cool off a bit."

    That's writing advice gold, one I keep giving to my students.

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    1. Damyanti, I've heard it somewhere before and the advice stayed with me. But it's also common sense advice that anyone should do naturally. Though I know how some of us can get excited about something and just want to get it to others.

      Lee

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  23. I am really enjoying all ofor these baking posts toay. Tomorrow I am definitely making sugar cookies!
    I think a check in the bank sounds like a done deal to me.

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    1. Doreen, you can't argue with a check in the bank. Hard to argue with fresh baked goods either.

      Lee

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  24. I love to eat cookies - sugar cookies in particular- but I'm not much on baking them. I guess I'm the same about writing; love to read, hate to sit and create. Love the outcome when I do though.

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    1. Dolorah, I've never been much on baking cookies either, but they are so easy. And I've got a lot of time on my hands these days. I should be writing and doing other things I'm sure, but baking can be a nice distraction.

      Lee

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  25. I loved that! Go, cookies!

    Or in my house... went, cookies :(

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    1. Jemima, my cookies went relatively fast since I'm the only one here eating them.

      Lee

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  26. There's no better way to escape from the world (and the wip) than sitting down with a plate of fresh-baked cookies (and for me, a cup of tea or coffee).

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    1. Patricia, a cookie escape might not be as good as getting off to some vacation destination, but good cookies can be a pleasant diversion.

      Lee

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  27. I think it's an awesome analogy. I think only the most brilliant minds would understand the connection between writing and tasty treats ;)

    My oven is also quirky. The doggone thing is probably older than me, but I love it. It has the style modern appliances lack.

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    1. Elizabeth, brilliant minds or hungry writers. I've had my oven since our house was built in 1997 and for the most part it still works well enough not to feel the need to replace it.

      Lee

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  28. Yes! I guess a book is ready when it is making money! Love it. Nice analogy with cookies.

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    1. Rebecca, I can write a book and read myself or even pass it among a limited audience, but it doesn't mean as much until it's actually published and generating some revenue.

      Lee

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  29. I love cookies, especially maple cream ones...
    Hate to cook or bake. Just not my thing.
    But when I feel like I have to (like at Christmas) I do reluctantly then I'm always pleased with the outcome.
    That was a fun analogy with the cookies. My story is still baking...it's been baking so long that it's probably long past burnt!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Michele, cookies feeling the burn--slow burn. Aging cookies probably isn't the same as wine.

      Lee

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  30. Terrific analogy! Funny, too. But alas, now I want a cookie.

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    1. Susan, I'd offer you one if you were here, but I guess I'll have to eat them all myself.

      Lee

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  31. This month's IWSG has the potential for some weight gain. You with your sugar cookies and another blogger talked about cake. I get finished reading and am mysteriously drawn to the kitchen to rummage for something sweet to eat. Great analogy.

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    1. FAE, I'm not sure what to make of all the food/writing analogies. It's kind of strange in a way, but maybe it's just that time of year to start thinking of cooking and baking.

      Lee

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  32. That's a good analogy. Those cookies sound delicious! ☺ Editing as you go is frowned upon by some, but it's the only way I can write. Blog posts count as writing, don't you think? Sorry I missed you BOTB. I'll try to get my vote in before the deadline.

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    1. Debbie D, writing as I go is so ingrained in me that it's just a habit. I've always maintained that composing blog posts is writing. So is commenting if you're commenting with content.

      You've gotta make it to my next two BOTB posts. I want perspective from outside the United States regarding our election.

      Lee

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  33. Story = cookie. How true, but I love your first answer best: the story is ready when you get paid for it. YES!

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    1. Olga, work deserves pay and writing is a certain amount of work.

      Lee

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Lee