Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cooking up a Good Story

Writing... Cooking. The connection has been made before. My favorite is Roy Blount Jr's essay The Way Folks Were Meant To Eat - I read it from time to time to remind me of what I should aspire to, both by the advice and his lyrical, amazing writing.

My thinking on it is less lyrical and more pragmatic. I have been trying to piece out a proposal and have been looking over old projects to potentially cannibalize and instead found myself learning something. I am putting too much in. After giving them some time to simmer, I find I can't get the true flavor of these works. Sure, I see all the great ingredients, pathos, humor, action, relationships, romance, danger, regret, secrets, character, characters, characters -- but when they are all thrown together, it's a mess not a meal. Nothing to really sink my teeth into!

I guess I'm on this kick because my son is reorganizing our kitchen for me and throwing away tons of stuff. Suddenly I can find stuff! I can see how to use what I have in new ways, or in their best ways! Correlation to writing?

I think you get it.

This is not a smooth and clever essay on how writing relates to cooking. Give me a break, I'm posting in the space of time before I take my daughter to art class. I just didn't want to lose the thought - if your work in progress isn't getting there, maybe instead of throwing something else in there, you should go back and decide just what you're trying to serve your reader, then take a few things out, add the heat of a little hard work and see if you that doesn't deliver a delicious result.

Okay, now I'm hungry! Good eating... I mean good writing!