Sunday, November 13, 2011

Story Ingredients

A nerd, a punk, a jock, a highschool football star, and the star's girlfriend. Oh, and a Senator. That's the goofy blend I'm stirring for my current book-in-progress.

I love mixing characters together. It's just like cooking. You take a bunch of completely disparate ingredients and mix 'em together. Sometimes you do it with a specific goal in mind. Sometimes you do it just to see what you come up with. Sometimes ingredients work peacefully together and blend well. Sometimes they froth and hiss and bubble -- not liking the combination but still working together to make the recipe turn out.

And sometimes the combination fails entirely. You toss out the whole mess and start over.

My wife loves cooking, and I think she and anyone else who cooks can get this analogy.

Writing is the same way, I realize. You try mixing together certain characters, plot ideas, and other elements, and see what happens. When it works out, it's a delight. When it doesn't . . . hit "delete" and try again.

I wonder if I should start calling myself a cook. A story chef, perhaps? That sounds more impressive.

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