Lenz’s thoughtful post on the YA fusion blog, reminded me of a section in the
book, Save the Cat by Blake Snyder (Michael Wiese Productions, 2005). To test
if his stories connect with the audience on a basic level, Snyder asks himself,
“Is it primal?” or “Would a caveman understand?” He lists primal drives as
survival, hunger, sex, protection of loved ones and fear of death.
I look back on my collection of manuscripts, I agree that they involve these
themes, but every novel I’ve written is mostly about loneliness. Perhaps these
manuscripts failed because loneliness is a nebulous concept. I’d like to
propose, however, that cave-people understood that community was essential for
both physical and emotional survival. Surviving high school or an attack by saber-tooth
cats may well depend on the supporting characters.
contestants are mostly young people who are trying to live their dreams.
personal history section highlights the adversity contestants overcame as they
attempted to become professional musicians. The stories of single parenthood,
battling addiction, sacrificing a former career, etc. resonate with viewers.
contestants have been vetted, so there are no cringe-worthy acts.
judges are friends, and the good natured competition between them adds humanity
and fun to the competition.
judges offer constructive criticism, something that is hard to come by in real
tables are turned. If more than one judge “turns his/her chair” for a
contestant, the contestant gets to choose between them. Superstars plead with unknown
singers to pick them.
After buying a large, lumpy eggplant
at the farmers’ market, we decided to turn it into dip. The process was as much
an arts and crafts project as a recipe. First, we stabbed the eggplant
repeatedly with a fork and roasted it on the barbecue until the skin was
blackened and the insides mushy. After it cooled, we tossed the eggplant flesh
into the food processor with tahini, roasted garlic, red pepper, lemon juice
and cumin. (The web is full of recipes, and the amounts of ingredients vary
with personal taste.) Garnishing the dip with hot or sweet paprika and chopped
parsley adds color and enhances the flavor. It’s delicious with toasted pita bread
or rice chips.
You’re probably wondering why I’m
posting this on a writing and photography blog. In my internet search for a
recipe, I learned baba is the Arabic word for papa, and ghanoush means spoiled.
This is “spoiled papa” dip, or the treat you make for dad. Isn’t that
all three of Lara’s notebook books (The Indigo Notebook, The Ruby Notebook and The Jade Notebook), although I liked the last best of all. This novel continues
Zeta’s search for a stable home and family and Wendell’s quest to become a
professional photographer. The supporting characters are interesting and
this book out of the library, but I intend to buy a copy to study novel
structure, suspense scenes and building emotion. There is much to be learned
from Lara’s writing.