Lena Brassard

Lena Brassard

It’s Been a Real Slice

Screw slice of life. It’s time for slice of bread and other baked goods!

I went through my sourdough phase the year before it was cool, so I’ve made some pretty wet doughs, but King Arthur’s Pan de Cristal was my first 100% hydration. This was a spur-of-the-moment decision and of course I didn’t have bread flour in the house, so per my MO, starting off on the best possible foot. But I had nothing but time and a willingness to fail (failure in this case being pouring yeast batter into a buttered dish and ending up with oven-fried semi-flatbread, woe is me), so I went for it anyway.

Since AP flour has lower protein content than bread flour, I knew I’d have to put a lot more work into gluten development to create anything other than flour soup, and I was not wrong. I stirred it in the mixing bowl until there was some visible stretch, and then I did an extremely prolonged course of that first pan fold. After that rest, the coil still wasn’t happening, so another extensive pan folding ensued. Then I was able to lift the dough once, but it broke, so the dough and I had a pan/coil combo session. I probably added 90 minutes to their 6-hour estimate trying to get the elasticity going, but I prevailed!

I’ve been writing this book for 47 million years. Your silly little bread isn’t going to defeat me.

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KotSQ: Revision Update #12

(For real this time. ‘Scuse the premature posting way back when, if you caught it in the 20 seconds it took me to frantically revert to Draft status. When you’re chronically sleep deprived, “Preview” and “Publish” are way too close together.)

I’ve set a goal of writing one short story per month, both to build a stockpile of content for future Ko-Fi memberships and to give myself an occasional sense of completion that’s a long way off with this bloody endless novel. I thought I’d ease into it with a KotSQ-related bonus story that was already mostly finished. I changed nothing about the first scene, made minor alterations to the second, and the third had to be completely canned and a fourth added due to the way the book and series plot have evolved since the last time I touched this story in 2020. It ended up being twice as long as I intended and was very much not the one-day project I hoped it would be, but it illuminated something about Hero’s behavior that will help me on the next revision pass and gave me enough of a mental break to shake loose a major piece of the overarching plot puzzle, so we weigh the benefit against the wasted time and zero out the scale.1

Rewrite Status: Round 1 progress bar, showing 140 of 240 pages, 58% complete 140 rough draft pages have become 227 revised pages. What is that, a 60% increase? The embiggening draft is going smashingly.

In this section, our plucky couple leaves the city, where they had kind of a rough night, and returns to the cursed kingdom, where they should be able to relax for a minute because every living thing there is in slumber. Right? Lol.

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KotSQ: Revision Update #11

I’m getting impatient and almost added the book description to the Fantasy page. It is… not ready, to put it mildly. I did stick it at the top of the manuscript doc, though, so I have to look at it at least briefly every day upon opening and can noodle with it as inspidesperation1 moves me.2 I instead satisfied my need for administrative progress by uploading the final cover to retailers so it’s at the top of my drafts to greet me when I log in.3

ETA: The Fantasy page is temporarily gone, not because I’ve canned the book but because I can’t have a pre-pub “reveal” if a slightly shabbier version of the cover has been sitting there this entire time and I’ve succumbed to temptation to prematurely post the jacket copy. It’ll be back when the book is more than an empty promise.

Rewrite Status Round 1, showing a progress bar at 52% Complete, 125 of 240 pages125 rough draft pages have become 203 revised pages.4 We can now do the Halfway Hustle! Remember, the pelvic thrust when coming out of the twirl goes toward the right.

The last batch of pages went really fast, and then this batch (same length as the last) screeched to a halt. I had to remind myself again the goal at the moment is not a “perfect” draft. The goal is to clean it up enough that the next pass is less overwhelming, which means any given paragraph is allowed to be garbage if I can’t get my head around it right now. When there aren’t 200,000 other things clamoring for attention, that garbage paragraph might be heard whispering what it needs to get better. Until then, I’m wasting time trying to read its nonexistent lips.

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KotSQ: Revision Update #10

Today I learned “complacent” doesn’t mean what I thought it meant, and though I’m going to blame it on near-universal misuse of the word when people actually mean “complaisant,” I’m painfully embarrassed about every time I’ve used it incorrectly. I knew “complaisant” was a word, but I can’t remember seeing it in… 30 years? And while some dictionaries have caved to the common misuse in secondary definitions, know where they haven’t extended it? Complacency, which people also use incorrectly because they were allowed to get away with “complacent.”

Rewrite Status: Round 1 status bar showing 48%, 114 of 240 pages 114 rough draft pages have become 187 revised pages. You can taste the halfway point from here!

Heroine spends a not-insignificant amount of time in this book in dungeons and caves and, in proper fantasy RPG fashion, the sewer. Not sorry, had to do it once before I die.1 Also in proper fantasy RPG fashion, there’s a maintenance ledge, so being in the sewer doesn’t involve being in the sewage. Even my powerful desire to overtly acknowledge the existence of urban waste management has its limits.

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KotSQ: Revision Update #9

Somebody asked me a while ago why I’m not worried about revealing the whole story to potential readers by doing these posts. I just don’t think “they went to a location and performed an unspecified task” is all that spoilery? In fact, I think anyone who came in search of juicy clues would be peeved by the lack thereof. This is very much about the writing process, not what happens in the story. Half the content of these posts is whining about how much I hate coming up with names, which isn’t exactly “Oh great, now I know there are NAMES, you’ve RUINED IT!” material. I had a 2-page synopsis up for a while as an example of how to write a romance-focused synopsis when the romance is deeply entwined with a fantasy plot a 2-page length limitation doesn’t provide enough space to adequately explain, and that was spoilerific, but I also surrounded it with HERE THERE BE SPOILERS signs and hid it behind a spoiler tag so you’d have to actively participate in the spoilage.

I have a massive, life-impairing anxiety disorder. There are very few things I can’t find a way to worry about. This one’s in the clear. I am confident you could read every single one of these posts and not have substantially more insight into the actual content of the book than what you’d get from reading the book description at point of sale. You will, however, have taken a guided tour of the labyrinthine crime scene that is my brain. Don’t forget to purchase a commemorative tote bag when you exit through the gift shop.

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