Six p.m., and Happy Hour at the January Writers’ Binge! In the past three days I’ve made one breakfast, one lunch and one supper, plus a batch of homemade mango ice cream (recipe below) for tonight’s dessert. Oh, yes, and I’ve written just over 10,000 words and looked over all the material for my book on knitting.
In terms of what I usually do, this was a relaxed binge. I’ve been known to write 30,000 words in a weekend. In one weekend I started and all but finished the first draft of my non-fiction guide to choosing a reptile. So I feel, in a way , as though I’ve been strolling this weekend instead of running a marathon. But that’s okay – I’ve been working, and I’ve been getting, and giving, good critique on the writing going around the group.
Angie, Gordon and I are the hard-core binge writers. Sometimes there are others. Kevin, who writes in his own home, comes for supper each evening. This weekend we also had Terry for one day and Ali for two. But the Three Musketeers are at every single binge. Usually Sky is, too – she makes sure I get up to let her out, and to take her out to play, so my butt doesn’t merge with the chair. This weekend it was so bitterly cold that the poor pup was holding up her paws in turn and limping. She didn’t even want to chase the ball, and she gave me the Pitiful Puppy look when I made her go outside to pee. I hope the temperature moderates so I can take her out and play with her tomorrow and make up some of the fun she missed.
In the meantime, I’ve written some pivotal scenes in Here be Dragons, although not all of them, and I’ve had some feedback and some ideas about how this story could get to where it’s going. My main character has turned into a real character, with contradictions and everything, instead of being just someone I can manipulate. She did something quite unexpected yesterday – both to the other characters in the story, and to me. I also found that a character who had been a pain in the ass to her earlier has turned into an ally. This is supposed to happen to real writers, that their characters slip out of direct control and become their own people in a way.
So now I feel like I’m well on the way with this novel, and I’m beginning to get ideas for another story in the same world as The Swan Harp. I also have another apocalyptic short story (Going West) that, while I doubt it would make a novel, could definitely go to novella length, which is about 40,000 words.
I’ll go back to steady work on Here be Dragons tomorrow. By the time the next binge comes around, I’ll be done the first draft and probably ready to work on a non-fiction project. In the meantime I’m heartened by my progress, by the weekend with other writers and by the energetic kick I always get from a binge.
For now, it’s time to wrap up and go have some red wine, vegetarian chili and homemade mango ice cream.
Mango Ice Cream
This recipe is for a small ice-cream maker, one that handles about two cups (one pint). The appeal of this ice cream is in the richness of the cream and the flavour of mango rather than overwhelming sweetness.
1 3/4 cups heavy cream (whipping cream, 35% cream)
About 3/8 of a cup of sugar
One ripe mango
Peel the mango and grate it with a cheese grater.
Stir the sugar and mango into the cream, making sure the sugar is dissolved
Put the cream/sugar/mango mix into the ice-cream freezer and follow the instructions. Mine says to crank the paddles a few times every minute or so, and I find the ice cream is done in half an hour.
Pack the ice cream into a container and store in the freezer.
Lick the paddles.