#AcresOfInk Writing Challenge ~ Week 17: Questions 14 & 15

Catching up with this challenge slowly but surely…

Part of the 52 Week Writing Challenge. Click here to view all questions.

14. What (if anything) would you like to express through your writing?

It’s hard for me to explain what I’m trying to achieve through my writing when I don’t rightly know myself. I’m not actively trying to get a particular message across; I just want people to get swept up in my story and grow to love and loathe my characters in equal measure, hopefully enjoying themselves in the process.

Of course, it’s nigh on impossible to write completely objectively; my own thoughts, experiences and opinions are inevitably going to bleed into the pages somehow… I’m not comfortable with explicitly stating what these are. It’s much more fun for my readers to guess, or better yet, relate to it themselves without me forcing it down their throats.

Mostly, I just want to tell these characters’ stories so they’ll bloody go away and let me sleep!!!

15. Recipes in your book

I’ve spoken before (see here) about how my protagonist Melora absolutely loves ginger-nut biscuits and how I use them as a narrative tool.

In that vein, below is an 18th century gingerbread recipe taken from A New and Easy Method of Cookery by Elizabeth Cleland, 1755:

To make Ginger-bread.
TAKE half a Peck of Flour well dried, five Pounds of Treacle, half a Pound of Butter, two Ounces of beaten Ginger, an Ounce of Carraway Seed; boil the Treacle and Butter together, then mix it with the Flour and Seeds; You may put candied Orange, or Lemon-peel in it; If you please put three Eggs in it, bake them in little Cakes of butter’d Papers.

Simple, non?

If you can’t be bothered to bake but still want a taste of the past, there’s an English company called The Copper Pot who make and sell foodstuffs based on historical recipes (I can attest to their deliciousness). As far as the 18th century goes, they sell Hot Chocolate, Curry SpicesPink(!) Pancakes and, you guessed it, Gingerbread!

They even sell a herbal mix for you to enjoy a luxurious footbath, 18th century style. Enjoy!

S.E. Berrow

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Of Gingernut Biscuits and Pirate Doubloons

First of all, I must apologise for the fact that I am now behind by a week in my 30 Week Writing Challenge. This is because Question 9 is a hefty one and I can't just bash the answer out in five minutes. I need to actually sit down and make the time to answer it properly. My intention therefore is to answer two questions for this week, so please stay tuned this Wednesday.

For now however, I have a couple of other cool things to share with you:

This July, I won my first ever Camp NaNoWriMo. I feel like I keep participating in these events and failing — which is rather disheartening — so this time I made sure to set myself a realistic goal that I could meet despite having a full-time job, a boyfriend, and a family to placate.  The aim was to write for the equivalent of 1 hour for every day of the month of July. It worked! I smashed it, I had fun, and I'm just that little bit closer to meeting my self-imposed 31st December 2017 deadline for completing a first draft of The Mayor. Hazzah!

Camp NaNoWriMo

Something else cool, my writing partner K.F. Goodacre recently attended a medieval festival called the Loxwood Joust. First of all, can I just say how jealous I am. I love all things medieval (I read Medieval History at University) so it is my fervent hope that I am able to go with her next time. It looked like such amazing fun!

Whilst she was there, she very kindly picked up some homemade gingernut biscuits for me, which were made according to a recipe from the 18th century. The true thoughtfulness of this gesture will be lost on you, Dear Reader, so I will endeavour to explain. Melora  the 18th century protagonist of The Mayor – adores gingernut biscuits. They are her absolute favourite, and I use them as a neat little device for helping her to form bonds with other characters (Redcoat Jack for example gives Melora gingernut biscuits to help her with seasickness when she first joins his ship). Kim knew this, so she bought them for me from this festival (not very medieval, I know, but still historical I guess!). They're so awesome, I'm almost reluctant to eat them. Almost.

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As if that weren't enough, she also gifted me with a genuine pirate doubloon from a company she has forgotten the name of (I'm trying to find out) who have helped provide productions like Game of Thrones and Pirates of the Caribbean with their props. Lookie!

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OK, it's not actually a doubloon. Real doubloons were made of gold. This is essentially the pirate equivalent of a penny, but it is still beautiful! I love it. It looks very similar to the necklace that my character Nell Shoar wears, wouldn't you agree?:

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Thank you so much, Kimothy! ♥ I knew you were my writing partner for a reason. Thank you for continuing to inspire and motivate me to write this blasted thing.

Lastly (slightly off-topic) Voltaire's new album Heart-Shaped Wound dropped on Friday. It. Is. Awesome. Voltaire, for those of you not in the know, is huge news on the Goth scene and his piratey album To The Bottom of the Sea features heavily on the playlist for The Mayor. Decidedly more melancholic and personal than the likes of say, 'Zombie Prostitute' and 'Brains!', I strongly recommend Heart-Shaped Wound. Please check it out here – it's on sale and you won't regret it! It even features the likes of incredible metal vocalist Alissa White-Gluz (now there's a musical collaboration I definitely didn't see coming! It's so good to hear her singing cleans again).

That's all for now, folks. Hoping to speak to you again next Wednesday, when I finally get around to that question from Week 9 of the Writing Challenge…

Take care,

 

S.E. Berrow