On the other hand, other California counties were beginning the slow roll out to opening. Even as an essential employee required to be in an office every day, I was becoming punch drunk on isolation. No matter how many hours you spend writing, you need some kind of break to get out of the house and away from the laptop. Why else would we all congregate in coffee shops?
The walls were closing in.
Which is what put me in a car with my friend heading down to Knott’s Berry Farm. Knott’s is more of an amusement park than a farm now, but they still run the berry farm and had opened their market, bakery, and fried chicken restaurant. Their number one berry is boysenberry. If they missed out on the spring months, the whole crop would go to waste.
I’d never had a boysenberry, didn’t my palate enough to buy a whole pie, so I took a gamble on something I was almost certain to enjoy.
I’d had apple butter. And, pumpkin butter. A variety of various nut butters.
I’d had strawberries and strawberry jam.
But, strawberry butter?
I took it home.
For a few weeks, it sat in my fridge, quiet and sealed.
I wanted to try it. I was rather excited. But, all I had to put it on was normal bread. That didn’t seem appropriate. Something like this needed a vessel worthy of containing it, a bread that would not distract from the flavor, might even enhance it.
Given the stay-at-home orders, it was difficult to get to the grocery store. I didn’t really have the time to stand in line social distancing while the rest of my life passed by somewhere else. On top of that, there was no guarantee that the store would have the good bread.
Eventually, I was able to get a nice loaf of brioche.
Strawberry butter is delicious.
If the strawberry butter is ready, why are you hesitating to have it? The bread doesn’t matter.
That’s just it. It is about the bread. The story that you are telling and the characters that populate it may be delicious. They may be screaming in your head to be let out, to be birthed into the world. Put the on the ground and let them run. You may even be tempted to stick a spoon in them and take them out for a quick hit.
Without the bread, though, there’s no structure, there’s no grounding. You don’t want to be caught licking strawberry butter off some spoon in a back alley somewhere.
This isn’t an argument for plotting or pantsing. The process you use doesn’t change the fact that you still need bread to keep all the elements of your story afloat. It’s an argument for a plot, an argument for giving your characters direction and motivation. For building them a story that won’t distract from the flavor, but will enhance it.
No matter how fantastical a story is, the idea always comes from reality. In the case of high fantasy, a great bit of the bread is made up of worldbuilding. An author should have a good understanding of the way their world works. For one thing, you might get strange questions at panels and conventions about the hierarchy of a matriarchal orc society. For another, the deeper your world, the more your characters have to explore. You’d be doing your creation a disservice if you put them on the dried out, stale loaf that’s been in the freezer since you can’t remember.
If you take too much time on the bread, you risk everything else going sour. It’s a delicate balance that will always be part of a writer’s journey.
I suppose this story about strawberry butter turned into some kind of long-winded metaphor about time and writing.
Then again, maybe I’m just hungry.
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Princess Kalista has known her role from birth. She’s spent her entire life preparing to be the socialite wife of a prince from a peaceful kingdom. But on her big day, she is shocked when she is instead forced to marry the warrior prince of a cursed land, who is as cold as the wintry kingdom he’ll one day rule.
Carson has a throne no princess wants to share with him. An immortal beast ravages their land, and he’ll do anything to stop it, even marry a complete stranger on the day she was supposed to wed her betrothed. Let her hate him for it, but Kalista is his only hope for peace.
Kalista knows she’s just a pawn on the chessboard of politics, but now she’s expected to kill an unstoppable creature because of some legend about her bloodline that Carson believes as truth. He trains her how to fight, and when lessons in swordplay lead to lessons in love, her destiny puts more than just her life at risk.
How far is she willing to go to save the prince she never wanted…but can’t imagine living without?