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The Perfect Recipe

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When you write books lots of people will ask you where you get your ideas? I get them from everywhere, but I guess I could equate it to those who can really cook a great meal. Some writers might use recipes and some don't. As a writer I would say I use a type of recipe conjured up by the seat of my pants. For instance 2 cups of characters, + 1 cup of plot = brilliant story. Okay, so it's a little more complicated than that. So you add a 3 tablespoons of setting, a dash of romance, and hmm lets see, a quart of dialogue. Yep, at least a quart. This is getting complicated isn't it? And you know what? It is! I can't just throw a bunch of ingredients in a bowl and blend and expect the recipe to come out perfect. Maybe those plotters can get pretty close but they might miss that dash of cinnamon along the way if they get to orderly about the recipe.

I've had to study the craft of writing for years and prepare much like a Top Chef Master. Everything is in the kitchen and I set forth with my special recipe to prepare. Sometimes the story bakes up well the first time around but most of the time the story needs an extra pint of setting, a heaping teaspoon of passion, and a hefty cup of adventure.

Maybe the ideas we bring to the recipe are half the battle. If we are pulling from the wrong place or not thinking enough about what we really want to bake we may end up disappointed. So back to the kitchen. What is it that you want to cook? Are you looking in the right place for your ideas? Is there a right place? What's the secret in your recipe?


  1. I love your analogy of cooking to make a recipe for a good book! Clever. I alway like to throw in just the right amount of spice too--for a little heat and lemon for zest. :)

  2. Nice, Jessica. All those elements add variety to our stories don't they? It's amazing what we can cook up! :)

  3. That is by far one of the most asked question. True! There's no secret recipe or ingredient. I think it's all based on a person's experience, genetics, imagination, education, mindset--SO many things. I think this question should be answered by a psychiatrist. What sets writers apart from everyone else? I'd sure love to see a brain scan of a writer compared to a nonwriter. ;P

    Btw, I'm holding an MC Blogfest in Jeannie's honor! Drop by and join us, please! <3

    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

  4. Hi Elizabeth,
    What sets writers apart from everyone else? I think we have over developed right brains. My guess as a counselor would be that the frontal lobes on a brain scan in writers would light up like fireworks when we are in deep writing mode. Thanks for the invite, I'll stop by. :)

  5. When people ask where I find my ideas I usually have to say that most times my ideas find me. They niggle at me until I have to begin exploring what's being offered. I'm not sure how that translates into your cooking analogy... maybe that a craving forces me to search out something to satisfy my hunger? LOL.

  6. Carol, I love this! "maybe that a craving forces me to search out something to satisfy my hunger?" It's perfect! Ha! The perfect recipe. :)