This blog is for those 18 and older.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Recipe for Writing

     I’m not the world’s best cook, but there are a few dishes I make that are pretty decent, if I do say so myself. Some things, I’ve been making for years….like my Grandmother’s cheesecake…and know the recipe (yes, there is a real recipe for this) by heart. I don’t even have to look at what I wrote on paper all those years ago.
     I also make my Mother-in-law’s stuffing for my Thanksgiving turkey. She gave me the recipe over the phone (she was in New Jersey, I was here in Phoenix). She didn’t measure….why would she have to? She’d been making this stuffing for thirty-plus years. It’s a pinch of this and a sprinkle of that and a couple stalks of celery all chopped up and 2 large onions or maybe it should be 3 small onions finely minced, add water (or chicken broth) until it’s sloppy (took me years to figure out sloppy, but I did it). For her, it was a matter of looking right and tasting right.

     Over Memorial Day weekend, I made a big batch of spaghetti sauce (yes, with meatballs and sausages…I also read my finished manuscript out loud while this sauce simmered) and I was thinking as I was pouring ground pepper into the palm of my hand that I don’t measure either. At all. It looks right. Or it smells right. Or tastes right (my DH is the official taste-tester, but when my son lived at home, he was an official tester, too). I would be hard pressed to write down the recipe for my sauce although I have tried to for my son….I came to the conclusion, he’ll just have to watch me do it.
     Which brings me to my writing. As with cooking, I have no recipe. I start with my hero or heroine (depends on which one is talking to me the loudest). If I’m lucky, he or she will tell me their story. Notice I say IF I’m lucky because it doesn’t always happen this way. Sometimes, I only get hints of my characters or the setting or the story, but if I mix it all together with a little of this for adventure, a little of that for romance, I might get something that’s not a recipe for disaster like some of the concoctions I’ve tried over the years.
     What about you? Do you have a favorite recipe you like to make (that is, when you’re not reading).

As always, happy reading!

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