Friday, October 16, 2009

Food + Writing

My beer post is still brewing in my head, and my apples are only half-baked at the moment… and stuffed pumpkin requires a lot of prep and baking time (would have had hyperlink to this particular blog post, except MySpace doesn't have a way to link to individual posts. Ugh… I may just reprint it next week.)

But I do have a foodie response to Danielle's journal here. And it's a good match of food and writing… regardless of my respectful disagreement & re-metaphoring of her point. She wrote a good article.

Food makes a great metaphor for writing. One of my favorites is "reducing a sauce." Granted, there are some sauces you DO NOT want to reduce (like those made with beer), but most times, you really need to reduce a sauce to get the full flavor impact. Fiction is like that, too. I write big. Christy writes big. We usually need to reduce our word counts by 30% or more - often more - for our work to shine. I see this with most of the writers I work with, too. Seriously, check your word count, then challenge yourself to reduce it by 10%. Then do it again. For me and Chris, we immediately make it a goal to reduce our word count by 25% after our first draft - but we know we need to. It really lets the nuances and flavors shine - and cooks away any "raw" or "off" flavors - if done right.

Another favorite food metaphor of mine is not to let your side-dishes outshine your main course. If your sub-plots are more interesting than your main plot… you should be writing the story behind the sub-plot.

And, to go back to popcorn, which is the metaphor Danielle started out with, the best piece of business/productivity advice I ever got was from Kevin J. Anderson - who used a popcorn metaphor. I heard it at Dragon*Con 2 or 3 years ago, so I'm paraphrasing it from memory. A writer can throw one piece of popcorn in oil on the pan and fuss over it until it pops - or doesn't pop, because it could be one of those kernels that never pops. Or, you can throw a whole scoop of popcorn into oil - and then know SOMETHING will have to pop. I like popcorn, so that works for me. J

What's your favorite food + writing = metaphor?


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