Monday, June 11, 2012

Picnic Magic

We all know what happened when Alice fell asleep on the river bank following a picnic with her sister.  There's something magically about the entire idea of a picnic be it on a riverbank, a favorite spot in the woods, in the park, or on the beach. You're packing up and 'escaping the normal.'  All the items purchased and placed in the picnic basket are meant for this adventure. Gone are the rules of sitting at the table, of using china, and silverware – it's time to step outside the box.
Writing is like going on a picnic. You start with a basket – there is an endless variety to style but the purpose is the same – to hold your picnic items.
A plotter's picnic basket...
 What type of basket are you?

Tradition outliner....
A blender of methods...

A panters....

What type of pinic is this going to be? A gathering fo friends and family? Some downtime? What type of story will it be? Will it be a mystery if so will it be blood or cozy? Or will it be a romance?  A science fiction or fantasy? Etc. Whatever the type it's meant to give life to the contents inside.
Once you have decided on the type of story you want to write, you have to decide who your characters will be. Characters are the food for your basket. No two people pack the same items like no two writers create the same characters.  
When you look into your empty basket, your mind races with ideas of what to place in there. It disregards possibilities as quickly as they form until finally you've decided on what you want to take. Will it be a simple sandwich and chips picnic or a chicken and pasta outing?
The spot you've selected for your picnic is as important as what goes into the basket. The same is true with your story's setting.  Once you arrived at your selected picnic destination a special feeling fills you.
Only your imagination will limit the possibilities of a picnic and the same is true for your story. So this summer pack up a basket/bag/cooler and head out for a couple of hours. Take a notebook/Ipad/laptop and create. Let the magic of the picnic seep into your story….
Here is a recipe for a peanut butter cookie I always make regardless for the type of picnic...


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


  1. In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and beat well.
  2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir. Add oatmeal and stir.
  3. Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet, and press each mound down with a fork to form 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown.
  4. To Make Filling: Cream 3 tablespoons butter or margarine with the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, and the cream. Spread filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half to form sandwiches.

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