Tuesday, March 18, 2014

You Make the Rules


In the writers group a few days ago we were talking about a recent blog post here -- .Are You Upside Down in Your Writing?

Everyone was interested in talking more about the problem of how to write about painful areas of their lives. We will be talking more about it in our meetings and in these blog posts.

Wherever we go, there are rules.

Photo by Carol Newman

So writers think there should be rules for writing, too; and, of course, there are rules.

But the first and most important rule of writing memoir or life story is this: you make the rules.

If an incident is too painful or too embarrassing or incriminating, you are not required to write about it. You decide how to shape your story.

That said, keep in mind that even fairy tales, even Walt Disney movies, even animated cartoons involve some kind of struggle, some kind of failure to be overcome.

But, you get to decide how much detail and how much space you allow for those incidents. If you want to give your mean mother-in-law only one line in your entire story, that is up to you. If you want to devote a chapter or the entire book to your addiction, that is up to you. Maybe you lost a loved one. How much detail and space do you want to give that part of your story? It is up to you. You make the rules.

Now that you are in charge -- start writing.

Uh-oh, you may soon need to revisit the information in Are You Upside Down in Your Writing?

Get comfortable with this in your mind and we will move on to getting words on paper.


Today's recipe is from Trisha Yearwood, but the image is from  Pale Yellow. Trisha Yearwood's version of this popular recipe does not call for broken pretzels on top, but I like the pretzel topping. Helps identify what to expect with the first bite.

No-Bake Chocolate Pretzel Squares


1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, melted
2 cups pretzel rods, crushed into crumbs
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup plus 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips


In a medium bowl, add the melted butter, pretzel crumbs, confectioners' sugar and 1 cup of the peanut butter and stir together until well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. Combine the chocolate chips and the remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate and peanut butter are melted and smooth; two intervals should be enough. Mix to blend, then spread over the peanut butter-pretzel layer. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.

Can't wait for how to write about difficult life experiences to play out here on the blog? You can order a copy of  Write Your Life Story in Eight Weeks Workbook.

See you there.

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