A Recipe for Writing

Writing can be like cooking. You have the plot, like the pasta. Sometimes its fantasy, or mystery, or spaghetti, fettuccini or penne. But you can’t just have plain noodles. You need detail, a good sauce. And sometimes sauce can be Ragu or Prego, but sometimes it needs to be something more. As a writer, sometimes you can be pulled to go beyond that and make art, crushing tomatoes from your own garden and mixing spices, or melting fancy cheeses carefully with a cream. This is what brings the flavor to the plot. This sauce differentiates your story from all the other pasta dishes that have ever been made. This is the hard part. The plot can be easy. Yes, you have to cook it just right, but not much more than that. The sauce will carry the pasta, make it more. Without a good sauce, people could say of your story ‘A nice plot, but the story was lacking.’ Like if someone said ‘the pasta was cooked perfectly! But it came off very bland.’  The sauce is hard you can’t have too much or too little spice, you need it just right. You have to choose the ingredients judiciously. Too much backstory, too little, too many descriptions, too little, too much poetic voice, too little. It depends on the dish you are going for. And sometimes you need more than just sauce. Sometimes you need meat. But with meat and a good story, you have to cook it carefully, with a rub or a brine, cooked with caution. And then, you have to let it sit in its own juices so it can absorb them. Sometimes I can be hit the perfect ingredient for my story! But if I rush it and don’t think it through, let it meld with the other parts of the story, all the juices escape and it is tough and dry, flavorless, despite my best intentions.  Writing is like cooking. Sometimes you have to read the instructions but add your own ingredients. Sometimes it takes practice. Sometimes you have to make the dish a dozen times before you get it right. The pasta won’t always be al dente, the sauce will burn, the meat will be too dry. But once you get it right, and share it with your friends, you will have a story to be remembered. God bless, Dear Readers! – Elizabeth