May 19th, 2012

scold with Lilly, no more monkeys!, and another thing!

Very special episodes.

During his visit, alecaustin and I watched the Doctor Who "specials" discs, and markgritter watched the last two with us. (timprov apparently has a self-preservation instinct.) And it triggered a theory or perhaps a reminder for the writerly types:

If you feel that you have to have sympathetic supporting characters reminding the reader/viewer at every turn of how Just Plain Gosh-Darn Wonderful your central character is, this is a warning sign that your central character has not been acting Just Plain Gosh-Darn Wonderful enough in plain sight of the reader/viewer.

In the seventh grade we were solemnly taught a list of things you can know about characters, and they included things other people say about them and things they believe about themselves. But these things cannot trump actions. If you have somebody being a megalomaniac onscreen--if you have them being self-indulgent or self-involved or a whiner or whatever else that is not sympathetic and amazing and gosh-darn wonderful--after a certain point, the sympathetic character saying, "Jinkies, you're swell," does not give us information about the non-swell person. It gives us information that the sympathetic person is willing to self-delude and/or ignore evidence. Which is also important information! Just not in the same way. So beware the protag who suddenly seems to have people declaring, "You're dreamy," in herds and droves. This is telling you something, and the thing it's telling is often pretty sketchy.

Notes on dinner

So if you decide to use large tomatoes instead of ramekins or dinner rolls as implements for holding raw eggs to bake them in a moderate oven, it'll work just fine, but the acidity of the tomato will interact with the egg and increase the needed baking time to about 40, 45 minutes for a moderately firm yolk. I salted the inside of the tomato lightly and lined it heavily with basil before cracking the egg into it, and then I stuck a thin slice of baguette over top and put a little cheese on that. I'll use more specifically chosen bread (likely Swedish rye) and cheese next time, but I didn't want to go to the store for this experiment, so I used the bit ends of what we had, and it turned out fine once we figured out about the acidity. Pretty tasty, worth remembering.

And now you know, and knowing is, if not half the battle, at least some appreciable fraction.

The book I'm reading right now seems to think that the rest is breeding the right horses, but since it's regarding 1812, I'm not sure it's universally applicable.