The Latest News from Blydyn Square Books
Right now, we’re counting down the days until Thanksgiving (if you’re actually doing anything this year, thanks to our friend COVID!).
If you’re anything like me (read: neurotic), you’re probably getting a little frantic, running around planning menus, getting the silver polished (okay, I have stainless steel, but I still make sure it’s clean—and so should you!), and checking that the fancy tablecloth is pressed and ready to go.
This year, my sister is cooking Thanksgiving dinner, so I’m off the hook (and I couldn’t be more grateful—see what I did there? ????).
Having all this extra time on my hands has got me to thinking about something I always tell the writers I work with: Writing is a lot like Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t believe me? Read on.
Now, even if you’re a reader, and not an official “writer,” I think you can still appreciate the analogy. I know it may seem like an unlikely metaphor, but hear me out:
First off, on Thanksgiving, as in writing, the best experience comes when you know and follow the rules.
When you’re cooking for Thanksgiving, the rules tell you that there have to be certain foods, as a bare minimum, if you expect your holiday meal to be well received—the turkey, for example, along with some kind of vegetable and some variety of potato.
We can equate the generic Thanksgiving menu with the rules of grammar and spelling. Without a firm grasp of the basics as the star of the show, you’ve got nothing to build on. Your writing will be like a Thanksgiving dinner without Tom Turkey, sitting all savory and crisp at the center of the table.
Second, in both Thanksgiving dinner and in writing, you need to have style. In other words, you need to know when—and how—it’s okay (and even encouraged) to break the rules so you can put your own personal spin on things.
Maybe instead of the traditional green bean casserole (which, we all need to admit, has been done to death), you might whip up a side dish of brussels sprouts with maple and bacon. And cheese. Cheesy brussels sprouts would be outstanding! Whatever you decide depends on your unique point of view—in Thanksgiving just as in writing.
And finally, your Thanksgiving dinner needs characters. Whether you’re in person or over Zoom this year, and whether your particular crew consists of your crazy in-laws, your favorite cousin and her kids, your best friend since kindergarten, or (if you’re really and truly alone for the holiday) even just the terrible lip-syncing celebrities on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, your Thanksgiving isn’t complete without people who are full of quirks and strengths and weaknesses.
Neither is any book.
I wish you a very happy (and stress-free) Thanksgiving. And hey, even if you’re NOT a writer, don’t forget to jot down all the nutty things your aunt Mabel says after she polishes off that bottle of sherry. Trust me. You’ll be thankful you did.
Blydyn Square Book Club
This month, we read Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller. In case you missed it, you can see the video from our discussion here.
Our next meeting will be on January 7, 2021, and we’ll be reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Yes, our “December” meeting will be in January. That’s partly because we figured everybody could use the extra time to enjoy the holiday season and partly because the book is pretty long and we’ll probably need more time than usual to finish it. We hope you’ll join us. For more details, visit our website.
Quote of the Month
“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.”
Brain Teaser of the Month
Congratulations to last month’s trivia winners, Sharon Brubaker and Wini Tomczyk (yes, my mom won again—don’t whine; if you don’t answer the questions, she’ll just keep winning!). They both won an Amazon gift card.
The question was: In his famous poem “The Raven,” Edgar Allan Poe originally planned to use a different kind of bird. What kind was it? The answer: A parrot. (Good idea to make the switch there, Edgar: Quoth the parrot, “Nevermore” just does NOT sound scary—like, at ALL).
Now, here’s this month’s question (email us the correct answer and you could win an Amazon gift card just like my mom!):
What was the original title of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice?
That’s all for this month. Wishing you all a healthy, happy, and (of course) delicious Thanksgiving!
Editor in Chief
Blydyn Square Books