Vampy times!, Writing

Adopt an idea for your novel!

Dear Vinepires,

Have you already heard about NaNoWriMo? It is an online event taking place over the entire month of november (but gets often out stretched into summer sessions, and editing periods). During this time, writers young and old gather in front of their notebooks and write like crazy, trying to reach the contest´s goal : 50 000 words. That´s where the name of the National Novel Writing Month comes from. Along the road, usually grows a community, high on coffee and adrenaline, and people start to exchange ideas. They inspire each other in the so-called “Adoption Sections” of forums, where they gather and leave behind ideas for storylines, character flaws and even enchanted objects. The unfortunate thing about that exchange though, is that the forums get wiped out every year and all of that creativity fertilizer sinks into the ground leaving behind only vague regrets.

will you write the book you have inside?

Will you get inspired to write the book you carry inside?

I don´t want the inspiration to end this year too, and so I would like you, Vinepires, weathered NaNoWriMo veteran´s as well as newbies, to get your creative juices flowing. Let´s get together and create a place where writers can help each other do what they can do the best.

The principle is simple : everyone has the right to post in the discussion below his/her writing ideas. One only has to contribute if an idea standing below has gotten “adopted” for one´s own purpose. You are free to invent everything story-relevant, from a frightening setting to a fantastic beast or the unexpected twist in a love story.

Thank you for reading and writing with me,

Your Vine Vampire

PS : I leave behind : An antique book (a diary? a novel?) that each morning gets found with freshly melted candle wax on its cover, although no one seems to ever touch the book.

And : A character in the possession of a pocket watch, which he often consults without apparent reason. In reality, it does not show the time, because it stopped working at the moment something tragic happened to him. It has since become a constant reminder of his promise, to avenge his…

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Literature, Writing

Stop the book-DIY!

Dear Vinepire,

The book-sacrifice must stop. I think those crafts are pretty, inspiring, and absolutely unjustified. The thing that disturbs me here is not the use of word-filled pages as artistic material. We always incorporated what was considered precious into our artworks, just look at the marble and expensive paint! We also destroyed what was beautiful (and I´m not referring exclusively to Fontcuberta´s Fauna) to offer to our Muse.

The problem lies in what the owner of the book feels when killing his copy : it will be worth more to me once I can do more with it than reading. Or does anyone cry over the victim of that sacrifice? Of course not, we only rip out the pages we consider covered in worthless material. Now here comes my question : when was the last time you read a book that made no addition to your life? Now don´t mention the bad quality of writing and the insulting ideas it contained. Bad reeds can be good for us, in some ways. They shake awake your sense of critical thinking and boost your self-confidence. Seriously. Stephen King talks about this magical moment, when you lye down a read and think : “I can do better than that!”. And here might be the beginning of a new book, maybe even a good one.

Back to your bookshelf : which book do you regret buying, or think you have lived long enough with? Choose one title, and then go back to the moment you laid it down with relief. Would your values be a foundation just as strong if you haven´t read it? Would the belief in your talent? See, the worst reading-experience of your life was really a beneficial one, just for different reasons. Don´t throw away the rock bottom you can go back to when you need to get reassured, it´s precious.

Thank you so much for reading,

Your Vine Vampire

PS : My worst read was a cookbook (now don´t accuse me of breaking the rules here, if you read a little further, you´ll see that it really was falsely labelled fiction). It was entitled “Recettes Végétariennes” (Vegetarian recipes) and featured a palette of side dishes… I wanted to cut the pages out, and certainly not to transform them into an artwork! The insulting underestimating of vegetarian cuisine it represented, and my disbelief as to the fact that something written with no knowledge about the subject (vegetarians don´t live of grass, there is protein involved!) got actually published were just the perfect foundation for dislike. It still stands proudly on the lowest floor of my kitchen shelf. I flip its pages on days when i lack cooking-inspiration : it makes every other recipe instantly look delicious.

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Writing

You can´t judge the quality of your own writing.

Dear Vinepire,

Did you know what those other writers are saying behind your back? Because I do : you don´t know the true quality of your work! Now don´t be shocked, but I think it might be true…

Here´s the deal. Your words spill out from under your fingertips in a stream so vivid, you can almost feel your ideas flowing. No matter how thoroughly you edit, there will always be some of that heat in your work, forever. And that is probably my favourite thing about the craft, which allows the everyday person to create that sort of hocrux for their imagination. The downside, however, comes into light the moment you compare your take on the book with other´s.

They have not carried those images inside of them, did not let them into the world with as much anguish, and so lack that emotional attachment to the words you so cherish. Don´t hold a grudge against these poor souls, they don´t know any better. Instead, do the only thing in your power and step back from it all. To pass the time during the first storm of readers following your books début (be it in the family circle or on the best-seller list), sit down and remember which work Dickens thought was his best, then laugh about it.

Now whether you decide to open to criticism or not is your decision, but I recommend to trust your opinion the most, even when you´re probably wrong. You will see things that aren´t there, ghosts of talent, shadows cast by mistakes. That´s the price for the privilege of writing what you think, how you think it should appear on the page. So, when those same illusions have set the creation-machine into motion, why should you walk away from something so effective? Trust your erroneous beliefs, and let them become the only ones with the power to make you accept constructive criticism. You´ll stay confident and become more open for advice. And in the end, you can´t know how good your book really is (let alone how long this label will stay with it as the years go by), so you can as swell stop bothering about it altogether.

Thank you so much for reading,

Your Vine Vampire!

PS : Do you remember by how many editors Harry Potter got rejected? That´s something that boosts my writing-confidence!

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Recipes

Cinnamon-Banana-Baby

Dear Vinepires,

It´s not a real baby! 😉 This so-called Dutch-Baby pancake is my shortcut to heaven, especially on misty winter mornings… with a drop or two of maple syrup… hmmm… Your worries will melt away and your kids will ask for more! Here is the original recipe : http://spoonful.com/recipes/banana-and-cinnamon-sugar-dutch-baby-pancake

For one pancake, enough for 4 people :

– 1/2 cup flour

– 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

– 1/4 tablespoon salt

– 1 teaspoon cinnamon

– 1 teaspoon vanilla

– 3/4 cup milk

– 3 eggs

– 2 tablespoons butter

– 1 banana in 1/4 inch slices

– Maple syrup for serving

Heat  the oven ( 425°F). In a medium cast iron or non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat and set aside. Put the all the ingredients, except for the banana, cinnamon and the sugar in the tablespoon into the blender (you could also use an electric mixer) and blend for about 1 minute, until foamy. Pour the mixture into the pan and top evenly with banana-slices. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle it over the top. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and puffy and serve warm with maple syrup, voilà!

Enjoy this magical breakfast!

Your Vine Vampire

PS : Let me know in the comments how it worked out, did you add any secret ingredient? Mines are chocolate chips or nuts, chopped, with honey instead of syrup.

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Literature, Vampy times!

Have you got the creeps?

Dear Vinepire,

When was the last time your fright took upper hand,  tied your throat in its icy grip and an invisible hand extinguished the lights in your room as a warm whisper crept into your ear, stinking of freshly spilled blood? Oh, and I don´t mean while watching a horror movie, I´m talking about books here.

In my  case, it was actually so long ago, I remember wearing Hello Kitty pajamas… I know, sad. But in all seriousness, do you still experience those creeps while reading? Because if not, we might just have to add another case to the endangered species list : scary books.

Thanks for reading, my fright-lovers,

Your Vine Vampire

PS : Please share any scary read you´d recommed me!

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Literature, Writing

Who made you write?

Dear Vinepire,

Who was the one? Come on, you know what I´m talking about. Was it your favourite young adult fiction writer (*ahem*, John Green) ? I guess it might also have been this brilliant journalist… Or that special someone, whose name you don´t pronounce in front of your parents. Are you maybe one of the lucky ones to have gotten the call from Stephen King´s page… or were it the classics who made you want to write?

If you came here, you probably felt this vocation at some point in your life, possibly too early to remember. But you became a story-teller, a writer. Did you ever wonder whose narrative voice woke that little, burning thing inside of you? I often ask myself how that first calling shapes people of the word, and so I ask you too :

Who made you a writer? And most importantly, how has that shaped your craft?

Thank you so much for reading,

Your Vine Vampire

PS : Although I never received a letter from Hogwarts, my passion for the magic of books got woken by J. K. Rowling… Thank you.

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Recipes

Healthy Chocolate Mousse (Vegan)

Dear Vinepire,

I don´t know if it´s me, or does everyone suffer from an underlying chocolate addiction? Well, do not worry anymore about those calories piling up, unhealthy fats and lactose involved, because here comes the recipe I stumbled upon right here http://food52.com/recipes/16044-herve-this-chocolate-mousse ,clearly invented by a genius. Just look at the ingredients and you will understand :

For 4 people (or a very hungry one) :

– 6 ounces of water

– 8 ounces of quality dark chocolate

– Ice cubes

Pour the water into a saucepan, and when at medium-low heat, add your chopped chocolate. While being whisked, the mixture should become homogenous. Now, having put the ice into a large bowl, place a smaller one on top and fill it with the sauce. Whisk it using an electric mixer under close watch, and as soon as it has become thick, transfer into small bowls and voilà! Your metamorphosed chocolate will taste delicious left pure or topped with whipped cream or sweet orange zest. Enjoy!

Thank you so much for reading,

Your Vine Vampire

PS : I hope all that whisking involved won´t distract you from commenting on your results. Hope you enjoy your vegan treat!

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