Tag Archives: novel in progress

Writing & Chocolate Chip Cookies

cookiesWriting is a lot like making chocolate chip cookies. OK, I’ll admit this blog comes after fighting off a craving—and losing—to the allure of the confection, but the similarities are sweet!

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour is like the plot of a novel, the basic element in any delicious tale.
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda is a leavening agent of skill and craft waiting to expand your draft batter when it’s time to turn on the revision heat.
  • 1 teaspoon salt is akin to the salt of your brow as you labor over your creation.
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened. Like real butter, well-chosen words make a better novel and discriminating readers will taste the difference when substitutes are used.
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar. Without sweet conflict a writer has no story. And like the iconic chocolate chip cookies several kinds add depth and complexity to its sweetness, be it the…
  • 3/4 cup packed white refined sugar of man vs man or the psychologically tormented  man vs self.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Great novels have an extra uumph to them—infused with the undetectable something special. Imitation zing doesn’t work—dig deep for the real thing.
  • 2 large eggs. Walkin’ on thematic eggshells does a writer no good. They must crack their creativity wide open to scramble a reader’s prosaic ideals while incorporating them into the story.
  • 2 cups chocolate chips. With just the right amount of narrative hooks, the story will melt in a reader’s mouth, leaving them eager for another bite and turn another page.
  • 1 cup chopped nuts and other optional mix-ins are odd characters that add flavor and zing your novel.

PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Revisions are in your future—don’t become attached to any single sentence.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Writer’s Baking Instructions:

COMBINE plot, craft, and sweat over computer keyboard. Beat words, conflict,  more conflict, and that something special in your brain until ideas are combined. Add themes, one at a time, rewriting & fine tuning well after each addition. Gradually beat in plot mixture. Stir in narrative hooks and optional symbols, motifs, allusions. Drop by rounded sentences and paragraphs onto pages and chapters.

Write & rewrite & edit until story is done—whether you like it moist and chewy, burnt, hard, or slightly raw. In writing time this can take anywhere from 2 months to 10 years. Cool completed novel for several weeks before moving manuscript to the query-agent racks.

Have fun cookin’ up your novel!

Related Links:  Rock Your  WritingSymbolism & more symbols;
Click  Amazon link for novels.

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Writer’s Hand Signals


l.z. marie typingWhen writers are on a roll—watch out! We don’t like to stop for fear of losing our train of thought, especially if we’re having one of those days when we can’t type fast enough! You know what I’m talking about! The entire scene is THERE—the dialog, mood, imagery—the words flowing from your brain, through your heart, and into your fingertips—the story bursting with—WHAM!
“Hon, where’s my jacket?”
“Mom, what’s for dinner?”

Your Rocket of Creativity just did a nosedive into the Ocean of Interruptions.

Been there, have you?

Without being aware it was happening, I developed hand signals to communicate with my family when I was ‘in the zone.’ And without realizing it, they began interpreting and translating those hand signals. It’s working rather well. Everybody’s happy and mom doesn’t have to lose her train of thought mid…um…uh… sentence.

Mom’s Hand Signals

1. Hand out in cupped position: I smell food or hear the crinkling of snack food wrapping being opened. Give me some.
Family’s interpretation: Will we ever get another home cooked meal again?

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2. One finger held up: Give me one minute and I’ll answer your question.
Family’s interpretation: Mom’s “one minute” is like a pro basketball minute—mom is incommunicado for about 30 minutes.

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3. Two fingers held up: Give me two minutes before I answer your question.
Family’s interpretation: Mom is in the zone with a scene, don’t bug her for at least an hour. Note: UK readers will need to substitute another sign here.

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4. Hand holding wallet. I’m too busy to go to the grocery store. Buy whatever food or personal grooming supplies you need.
Family’s interpretation: Carl’s Junior, anyone?

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5. Hand holding card. Get me Starbucks.
Family’s interpretation: Can I have everyone’s Starbucks order? Mom’s buying.

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6. Hand palm-side out. Stop talking to me, I’m not listening.
Family’s interpretation: Why can’t we have a normal mom?

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7. Index finger pointed to left. Make sure the dog has food and water.
Family’s interpretation: Mom can’t remember if she fed the dog.

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8. Back of hand. Bye. I love you. Drive safe. Have a good round of golf.
Family’s interpretation. Do you think mom heard anything we said?
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9. No photo needed. Flipping the bird. Note: I do not have young children.
Family’s interpretation. Mom heard our smart ass remark.

 

See any hand signals you can integrate into your writing life?

Related Links:  Rock Your WritingSymbolism & more symbols;
Click  Amazon link for novels.