Risk taking in the writing business and a bread pudding made with croissants to indulge your wildest streak


I'm nearly done with my novella. This feels so good to say, and yet it hasn't sink in at all. I'm still too immersed within that particular world, those particular characters, to be able to let go and focus on something else. But the story is written, the first and second rounds of edits are done, the cover is chosen, the title settled upon, the promotional graphs all lined up so I can tease some interest into this story. "SCARS" is well on its way to be launched, but needs to sit and stew a few days before I do one final read and start formatting it for both paperback and ebook launches. I intend to have it out there by the end of May, early June at worst case scenario.


Once again, I'm not quite sure what happened, what took over me during those two weeks I spent writing the brunt of this novella. Much like it's older sister before, "BLOOD", which was written in two weeks as well. I don't even have a very clear idea what it's all about, yet, so haven't started on the blurb - which is always my nemesis. But I do have a very good sense of acomplishment at having written something I wasn't planning to. See, I wanted to do a prequel, not a sequel, but somehow, the bug got thrown into my head by a number of people who mentioned they would have liked to know more of this story. And one morning, I woke up with it in my head, whole scenes laid out before my very eyes, and it had to be written. And I hope it's as dark as the one before. Darker, even.


I've taken a number of risks, with this novella. Calculated ones, yes, but none the less, risks. I may even alienate a hefty number of readers because of it. See, I wanted to play around with my writing a bit, wanted to try different things, that's the only way to evolve. I wanted to keep my writing voice, which I think is a clear one, but needed to be adventurous, just like I was with "BLOOD". I took my chances there, it paid off. Not just with the writing, the choice of the cover - which actually is what gave birth to the story - was a risky one. I mean, all black and red, hands covered in dripping blood? Bit gory, right? I risked people thinking this might be a horror story, filled with guts and gore. It's none of that. It's so much a story told in the head. Because I do tend to live very much inside my own head, and wanted to somehow bring out that particular trait. Same with "SCARS", I want it to be very much a story in the head. Does this make any sense? You'll have to read it.


 One of the biggest risks I took with "SCARS" was not only the title choice, but the cover. It is a very graphic image, not leaving much to the imagination, contrary to the cover of "BLOOD", which despite its graphic imagery, begs to have you making up a story around it. Not so with this one, it is what it is. And ties in so well with the previous cover and the one that is to follow. There's the same thematics to it: the hands, the blood. All three covers have this. And all three novellas tie to one particular character more than the other, we get to live inside the head of one particular character more than  we do in the other. At least I hope so, although I think it's a bit of a balancing act when your MC's are twins. But the cover choice was not innocent, and not meant for shock value either. it depicts something that is part of the narrative. Even if it loses me a few readers because of it's darkness, it's explicit depiction of something that does happen, and that may harm sensibilities. It is a risk I'm willing to take. I stand by that choice, and stand by this story.


I also took a few risks with the writing style. It is very much in line with its predecessor, of course, but I wanted to play around a bit with certain things. I wanted to play around with what is considered a sure tell sign of poor writing. So there's a bit of literary no-no's in this book, and I am not sorry. They are meant to be there, it's purposeful, but I know there'll be readers who will simply assume I can't write properly and should have it edited and fixed by professionals. Even if I did, these things would still be there, because I wanted them to. The excessive use of adjectives, for instance. It's there, throughout certain parts of the narrative. It illustrates the essence of one of the characters. At least that is what I meant it to do, whether it worked or not is another story. Also the head hopping. Meant to, but I am so aware it poses a huge risk, some readers might end up far too confused and not understand what the heck is going on. But you have to take risks. When I wrote "BLOOD" I risked a lot in the way it was written, and the way it ended. I have tried to do the same with "SCARS".


So now that I have worked so hard these past few weeks, I thought I deserved an indulgent treat, in the form of a croissant pudding. With buttery croissants, sweet strawberries, oozy dark chocolate. Just the kind of treat to greet the weekend with. You'll need:

  • 2 and a half croissants - either puff pastry (recipe here) or brioche (rye brioche here)
  • 2 tbsp strawberry jam (wild berries compote here)
  • butter - it's your choice how much you use in the bread!
  • half cup chopped strawberries
  • half a tablet dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • half a cup dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 cups of milk
Spread the inside of the croissants with butter and jam, spread half of them on a baking tray. Scatter half the strawberries and half the chopped chocolate over it. Spread another layer of buttered and jam covered croissants and scatter the rest of the strawberries and the chocolate. Beat the eggs with the sugar, add the milk and the vanilla, pour over the croissants. Allow to sit and infuse for about half an hour then cook in a pre-heated oven at 180ยบ until it's golden and bubbling away. Do not be me, and forget about it so when you take it out of the oven there's a healthy blush of nearly burnt croissant on top. We managed to just avoid that. Let it cool for a few minutes then serve and eat while you read one of my novels and unwind. Yes, it is the ultimate treat, I know ๐Ÿ˜‰.


Comments

  1. Glad to hear the writing is going well. You’ve got me even more intrigued now that I know it features twins.

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    1. You have no idea how many times I wondered what you'd say about certain things pertaining to the twins. Am always fascinated about the bonds, the ties between twins, how strong are they, really? How much do they feel of wach other's lives, their frames of mind, their moods? I wanted to portray that connection very deeply, the strenght of that bond, and the love between two people who sprung to life at the same time, from one common seed. I hope I have managed to.

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  2. Your recipe sounds delish! And it's such a good feeling when you finish a piece of work and you're satisfied with it! It certainly doesn't happen enough for me...that whole perfectionism thing, you know? ;-) I always finish and think "I should have done X or Y," and then start editing all over again! haha. Good luck with finishing up!

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  3. It sounds like you have really made this story your own, without apology, and I think that's wonderful. :-) This croissant dish looks utterly wonderful. :-)

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