Monday, May 17, 2010

Try Dancing and Easiest Edible Topiary with Chocolate

Remember the dreaming kitty in the previous blog post about the importance of dream time for a writer and how I thought no one listened to my advice? I heard from Rachel Gifford who had this to say:

I can tell you I DO remember when you told me to spend time dreaming, going to a movie, having a latte...because all those things are part of writing. I took your words to heart, and I have given up guilt not only for Lent, but forever!

Did it work for Rachel? Absolutely. In 2007 she self-published her memoir, A Gift in Wolf's Clothing: Life with Diabetes. If you know anyone with diabetes, with diabetes in their family, or among their friends, you will want to give them this book. Rachel is a nationally renowned diabetes educator and speaker. And, she has diabetes. Her book is funny, angry, sad, instructive, a great story and a great read. You can order it from Author House  or from Amazon.


How to organize the many elements of a book-length project is always a problem for writers. This weekend at The Writers Place in Kansas City, Missouri, Barbara Bartocci suggested writing chapter titles or individual scenes on Post-It Notes and then sticking the notes to a wall. The organization can be seen at a glance and notes can be rearranged as needed.

Another suggestion was to use half-sheets of notebook paper labeled with chapters or scenes and then stack them into your desired order. It's the old college-term-paper-index-card method but with paper.

Barbara's suggestions are for a plan-first-then-write approach. I think that in some instances a write-first-then-plan approach works. If you are writing your life story or memoir, it is perfectly okay to write a series of stories or chapters first. I then suggest you print them, lay them out around your dining table, and chose and move them into an order your like.

This is part of the fun of being a writer. You can be like these girls dancing in a fountain at Kauffman Gardens in Kansas City. There are many approaches, and the only "Best Way" is the way that works for you.


Get a deck of cards. Arrange the cards in an interesting way. See how many ways you can arrange the cards. By color, by suit, by number (all the 1s, 2s, 3s, etc.), by even and odd number, ascending, descending, whatever you like. Remember, the goal here is to arrange them in an interesting way.

Now do the same with several chapters, stories or poems you have written. Move them around. If you move a middle or later chapter up to the beginning, does the story become more interesting? Does moving the pieces create new patterns or themes? Do you see your writing with a new eye?

Writing prompt: I see these themes in my writing.


Today's recipe is really just a scribbled note on a scrap of paper that surfaced on my desk today. It must be from a television show on the Food Channel, but I don't remember which one.

Edible Topiary with Chocolate

Dip large strawberries in melted chocolate and set aside to harden.
Or purchase chocolate covered strawberries. (I have seen some gorgeous ones that were special ordered from Costco.)
Stick toothpicks, regularly spaced,  into a green foam cone, from craft department, something food safe.
When strawberries have set, stick them on the toothpicks.
I think I remember you work from the bottom up.
Fill in any empty spaces with mint. This gave it the pretty, finished look.
Easy, pretty, yummy, and healthy dessert.
Find more Writing Tips, Writing Prompts, Resources, and Life Story Writing FAQ by going to or clicking on the link at the top right of this page, Everything Writerly.

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