Skip to main content

Writing is Like ... Cooking

Hey!  It's Friday.  There's supposed to be a blog post.  My current word count is 19,926.  Behind, I know.

For more on the extended metaphor, today, writing is like cooking.

Lifehack Quotes
That's a pretty good start.  We'll go with that.

It's not the ingredients, it's the skill in combination.
The Expectations vs. Reality memes have pretty well borne out this argument.  The explosion of domestic blogs and Pinterest have both set the incredibly high bar for the at-home cook.  Let's face it, we all want to be clever, and sometimes, we have to settle for storebought because of how un-clever we turned out to be.
Orbit Books
I kind of already made this argument in a previous post, so click through to that here.

Sometimes substitutions are OK.  Sometimes they aren't.
So, that is a chart for substituting a greek yogurt for fattier dairy products in cooking.  You see the tiny tip down at the bottom that says if you're adding it to something hot, do it at the end and take the pan off the heat?  Want to know why that's there?  Because if you don't when you're making homemade alfredo sauce, the protein in the yogurt re-folds and separates from the water in the yogurt, and binds to the cheese, so you're left with something that looks more like globby cottage cheese with penne than nice baked alfredo.  No, I'm not bitter.
This is really going to depend on your audience and how you market your story.  A substitution or a reversal of trope is a great way to offer a new perspective to a reader.  However, if you a selling one kind of story with your blurb, and then halfway through turn it on its head, you risk losing those readers because you didn't just subvert their expectations, you smashed them.

What sounded good at the beginning can be a nightmare when you get into the middle.
I had some bacon, some chicken breasts, and some cheese, and was trying to make bacon wrapped chicken breast stuffed with cheese because, you know, I actually had all the ingredients for the recipe.  None of the chicken would stay rolled up, even with toothpicks,  The bacon kept ripping and falling off.  As soon as I put them in a pan on the stove, all the cheese melted and ran out.
You know how this goes.  You have an awesome idea and you start writing and you're going along and a character turns around to you as the author and says, "Hey, didn't you have an awesome idea?  Too bad we aren't going to play along."  Then riots break out and you're held hostage at your keyboard for more heroic or villainous or sexy parts for characters until you write what they want.

It doesn't matter whether it took you two minutes, twenty, or twenty years.  All the audience sees is the finished product.
The ultimate goal of cooking is consumption.  Yes, you want the person eating to enjoy the experience and savor the flavors and think you're awesome because you used forty ingredients to make a dish that they finished in two bites, but at the end of the meal, that food's going to be gone.
An author can spend decades working on a story, only to have a reader finish it in an afternoon or a week and be ready to move on.  It's kind of heartbreaking to think about, actually.  But if you are ready to move on after reading something great, give the author's website a hit, review the story on your favorite review site, recommend it to a friend, and check out The Book Seer for some direction.


Popular posts from this blog

Non-Traditional Plot Structure

Happy Friday friends!  This post is about plot:  what we traditionally think of as plot, and what other options exist in the world.

For starters, let's define the difference between plot and narrative structure.  Plot is (loosely) the events that happen in the story.  Narrative structure is the order readers experience the story events.  Ingrid Sundberg does a good job of differentiating the two here.  (May as well open that up in a new tab and leave it open, I'm going to be referencing her blog a lot today.  She's pretty much already done what I wanted to do with this post.)

If your public education was like mine, you were probably introduced to a figure similar to this somewhere in your English classes:
This is the standard plot that we can fit most stories into.  This describes a plot centered around conflict that follows a traditional three-act structure.  It's very popular.  In the Middle reviews a book that discusses using this structure as a form for your story, an…

February Post

Give me a break, I hate coming up with titles.

And the FCC spoke and said, 'Verily, I say unto thee, Verizon and their ilk shall not throttle the bandwidth of those they despise, nor shall they profit from the favoring of entities with greater bandwidth therein.' And there was great rejoicing.  And by great rejoicing, I mean that the internet blew up arguing about what color a dress was.  You go, America, exercise that freedom.

Girls and boys, it's the last Friday in February and I haven't posted anything this month, so here goes.

I'm so glad I didn't try to keep posting weekly, because school owns my life nowadays.  I approve of the once-a-month plan so far.  We'll see if I can do more posts during my summer break (i.e. the month of May).

As you might have guessed, I have not done any editing on Om Nom Nombies.  I haven't written anything more on the first drafts of The Neif or Spitfire.  I haven't even made any progress beta-ing a manuscript for m…

12 Ways Wonder Woman Was Actually An Anime

Clickbait title?  Riding the coattails of a hugely successful franchise?


So, Wonder Woman has been insanely successful.  It had some cool stuff going on but was not my favorite movie.  I had several problems with it, mostly happening after Diana leaves Themyscira.  But I'm going to put most of them aside to talk about why Wonder Woman was actually an anime, despite being live action, full of white people, and made by 'Merica.

I'm working on the assumption that you've seen anime before in a quantity sufficient to familiarize yourself with its tropes, so I'm not going to go into detail about why these are tropes and how long they've been around.  Also going to assume you've seen Wonder Woman and not going to worry about whether I'm spoiling anything for you.

Blessed From Birth
From birth Diana is special.  She's the only child on her island and basically does whatever she wants.
Like lots of chosen ones.

Accidental Boob Grab
Okay, that's…