Writing methods, writing styles, pleasing a crowd - pie will do!
My writing method is complete madness. There, I've said it. I go around reading blogpost after blogpost on how to be an effective, prolific, better writer, and sift through the contents trying to finda any validation at all inside what I read, but I hardly ever do. Not where it comes to the do's and don't's of the writing business, in all their glory. I have no idea what it is to have a first draft written, from start to end. I have never had a first draft written. Halfway through writing something, the first fifty pages are already on the third draft stage, the following ones on second draft, and only the writing I managed to do on that specific day is a first draft - that is until I do a re-read, a re-write and an edit before I finish up for the day. My writing methods, much like my writing voice, are weird.
Take my Arthurian saga, for instance. I've been writing that for how long? A year? Less than? Can't quite remember, I think I started writing the first few lines to it when I was just about to wrap up The Preternaturals Series. At the moment, I have two entire volumes on that saga written, and am one fourth into the final volume. The two first ones are probably at fifth draft stage. Because I keep going back, re-reading and re-writing them, picking up the nuances and the details I need to write the following volumes. That first book on the saga has seen more re-writes than I can even remember. It's had chapters moved from start to middle, characters brought in, characters taken out and then brought back, scenes deleted, scenes added, you name it. As I'm on my way to finishing Blood Trilogy, I'm already considering another re-read just to get myself reaquainted with the story. A re-read usually means a re-write, with me. So book one will get a refresh, book two will also get one, and by the time I get to book three, probably all I've written in it will need to be changed. Crazy, I know.
Some people might say I allow myself to get distracted in the midts of working on something, it's probably true. I do get distracted, but by stories so pressing they need to be written, lest I really go mad with the countless voices in my head demanding my attention. Soem voices shout louder than others. It happened with the Blood Trilogy, those voices were high pitched. The twins needed to be set loose on paper, Marianne needed her story told. Funny thing is, a couple of characters from my Arthurian saga have transpired into the Blood Trilogy as well, although they have strong storylines in that other work. But they demanded a new plot be given them, and so I did. There's even mention of a couple of characters from The Preternaturals Series there too. It all ties in, in the end, like Stephen King's imaginary world of the Crimson King and Gilead. It all ties in. At least in my head. So when the Nilsson twins came into my mind, I knew they weren't going anywhere before I wrote down their story. Now I'm close to the end of it, and can hear the callings of Morganne and Artuír once more, can hear Yseult and Emrys demand attention.
I kind of wish I was one of those people who can focus on one thing only at a time, I can't. I even wish I could sit down and write a story from start to end without constantly going back and changing, re-arranging stuff in it. I'm not. There is a method to my crazy, believe me, and it is how I work best, so I'll keep up with my own way of making do. After all, I have been told so many times I must change my writing style, that my sentences are too long, my paragraphs too big, my wording too emotional and purple prose-ish, you'd figure I would have changed things up by now. But I'm the stubbornest mule in the pack, and even though I know most readers will detest my writing, find it boring and confusing, not understanding quite what I'm doing there nor the purpose of my books, I refuse to change. It is, after all, what makes me who I am. Once a critique partner told me that exorcising one's demons does not make for good books, readers want something that entertains them and I just bore them. This may be true, but I've come to the conclusion - as bad as this may sound - I write not because I want to please readers and gain an audience, sell books, receive rave reviews. Although praise is heavenly - and as a writer of course I need it, long for it, whatever writer tells you they don't is lying - I write because I must. I have to. In my own way.
This of course, has nothing to do with pie. But I love pie and wanted a vegetarian one, so here it is. Mushrooms, squash, bell pepper, it's got loads of yummy stuff, and that crust, hmhm, it's heavenly. Want to bake one?
For the crust you need:
- 200 gr flour
- 150 gr spelt flour
- 100 gr butter or magerine
- 150 to 200 ml water
- 1 tsp salt
- aromatics of your choice
Mix the flour, salt and aromatics on a food processor. Add the cubed butter or margerine and pulse until you have a sand like consistency dough. Pour onto a bowl and slowly add in the water, mixing with a knife to combine everything together. Once the dough comes together and looks smooth, wrap it in baking parchement, form into a ball and let it rest in the fridge until you're ready to use it. The longer it rests, the better.
As for the filling, you can use these:
- 1 small butternut squash, deseeded and peeled, cut into small chunks
- 3 medium sized carrots, cut into small chunks
- 1 large cup of mushrooms, chopped
- 1 lcup of haricots verts - I used frozen ones
- 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
- 1 small turnip, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- olive oil,
- white wine - just a glug
- salt, cayenne pepper, herbes de provence, all spice and nutmeg- a dash of each
- a glug of balsamic vinegar
Take the onion, bell pepper, carrots and garlic to the stove inside a pan with a glug of olive oil and let them sweat for a bit. Add the turnip, the squash and the mushrooms. Freshen up with the balsamic and stir, allow to cook for a couple of minutes. Add the white wine, one small glass will do, and the haricots verts. Season well with the herbs and spices, cover with a lid and cook for about seven to eight minutes on a medium heat. Transfer into an oven dish. Roll the dough and cover the veggies with it. Cut a few holes in the middle so the steam lets out while cooking. Bake in the oven at 180º for about thirty minutes or until the pastry is golden and hollow sounding. Serve immediately, with a green salad on the side!