Friday, November 24, 2006

Cooked Up Any Good Ideas Lately?

By G.Ellen

It occurred to me one afternoon, as I perused the contents of my fridge in preparation for dinner, that writing a novel was similar to following a recipe. You have the story outline or plot which is like a recipe, then you have ingredients; which are like the characters and scenes. With that, there are the directions/instructions, which are like going to writing classes or seminars and gaining more experience. Finally, you have the final product which is something you (hopefully) get published, like a finished course for a meal.

Many of our posts have ended up talking about and comparing writing with food. We can'’t help it, we are creatures of habit and just a tiny bit ruled by our appetites. Chocolate always comes up this time of year, despite our best intentions.

The same can be said for writing.

How do you think about your writing? Do you have a recipe that you follow? Do you follow an outline of how many chapters, or how long a chapter or the climax, the build up, the foreshadowing? How long do you let your ideas simmer? Sometimes they can take on a life of their own and boil over in excitement, leaving abstract ideas behind.

After you've started your recipe, do you ever want to change ingredients? Try something new? Have you gone to any classes that taught you new ways of doing things? I remember the first time I discovered spices and herbs and how they change the flavor of things dramatically by just a pinch here and there. Writing can be the same way too after attending a writing seminar and discovering many different ways of adding depth to a character or richness to a story.

Since Halloween just graced our calendars, and Thanksgiving just ended, we tend to think of food even more. Halloween is great for '‘ghostly'’ challenges, who-dunit’s and the like. Thanksgiving is great for those pumpkin pies, fresh homemade rolls and Turkey, fresh out of the oven. And, let us not forget the leftovers the day after--–yum! Are your senses craving anything yet?

Here'’s your chance for looking through those '‘recipe cards'’ or note cards sitting on your desk. We're going to do a mad write exercise, and I want you to remember it has only two rules: Must have the sentence in the writing, and can only take 10 minutes of your time. Mad writes are like spontaneous cookie making; —it'’s great fun to see how they turn out.

Here'’s the sentence:
The sudden crash echoed off the walls of the small apartment, making her/him flinch.

We'’d love to hear how your attempt goes.


Keith Fisher said...

The sudden crash echoed off the walls of the small apartment, making her flinch. She wasn't surprised at what she saw on the floor. She stood up from the couch and looked out the window. Sure enough, there was Leroy. He had been delivering love notes tied to rocks again.

G.Ellen said...

What a hoot, Keith!! You win! LOL