By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills
I love to cook and bake. It’s relaxing, satisfying, and hopefully the results are tasty. I’ve discovered my passion for writing has a lot in common with food prep. In fact, cooking makes me a better writer.
Look at the following, and I think you’ll understand what I mean.
Decide on a recipe
Just like I must decide what to cook, I must choose a genre. For me, contemporary romantic suspense is my preference. My recipe also needs an intriguing story line.
The right ingredients
For a taste treat to win others, decisions are in order. Who are my characters? What is their problem? Where is my story set?
Story needs a balance of action and narrative woven with character emotions. In turn, those emotions transfer to reader experience. Character growth and change take place when the method of handling stress leads to critical errors resulting in new measures of problem solving and fresh attitude. How many mistakes will my character face? Can the reader see measurable growth?
Cut and dice
Editing is the part of story writing where scenes are cut and diced. Making a story stronger means weak plot points must be slashed. The use of strong verbs and nouns establishes a meatier story than sliding in adjectives and adverbs. Is dialogue in character? Is the setting antagonistic so the character is forced to struggle? Where can a sentence be condensed to a phrase or a phrase to a single word?
Don’t be afraid to vary a recipe
Story is king. Nothing reigns over the magnificence of a well-crafted tale. While a writer follows rules and guidelines taught by professionals in the industry, sometimes those very same principles need to be tweaked. Try something new. Does it work?
Quality writing means to shake up my characters. Force them to step into the unknown and forbidden. Throw in an ingredient midway that forever changes the story. Get your characters dirty. Make them smile, cry, angry, sad, and lonely. Always create the unpredictable.
Every story needs time to bake. When I walk away from my computer and refuse to open the file (oven door) for as long as possible, the result is a fresh concept, and I can tell if it’s finished or needs a little more time.
A writer never knows how readers will respond to a story. I can only do my best and hope the book will be delicious, satisfying, and leave the reader wanting more.
How does cooking relate to other areas of your life?