Once again I didn't make it to everyone's blog. But I hope I've reached most of you by now during the past two weeks. This should be the last really crazy week for me. I'm more than 75% finished, with eighty pages to go. Next week my blog visiting and commenting should return to a more rhythmic schedule with no more midnight comments :)

= = = = =

The other night I was watching a Chopped rerun on the Food Network. I love this show. Four chefs have to make an appetizer, entree, and dessert with four different items in their baskets for each course. Each round is timed and judged on taste, presentation, and creativity. At the end of each round, the cook with the lowest score gets chopped from the line-up. Last chef standing is the winner.

It's like every cook's nightmare. It's time to make dinner. You haven't been shopping in a week, and dinner will be whatever is in the fridge. You pull open the door, and the only four items inside don't go together. At all. And there isn't enough of any one thing to make a meal of.

As I watched, I wondered why I'd never before thought the whole making a meal thing is a bit like writing a novel. We combine things that, on the surface, don't really fit together, add herbs and spices, some TLC, and produce a finished piece.

The Appetizer is the Hook
Full of zing and just enough to make the reader turn the page.

The Protein is the Protagonist
Seasoned well, maybe a little spicy, with layer after layer of flavors.

The Vegetables are the Secondary Characters
These add more texture and taste to your story while complementing the protagonist.

The Starch is the Main Sub-Plot
You know the one I mean ... the one readers have to follow because it's so yummy.

The Sauce is the Antagonist
Concentrated and rich. A little goes a long way.

The Dessert is the Denouement
Everything comes together and the story, like the meal, feels complete.

The next time you prepare dinner, think about how the steps work in your manuscript. Maybe you'll get a new idea or two.

Or maybe you'll just be happy you enjoyed a good meal.

Either way, win-win.

Happy Monday!


Linda G. said…
Great analogy! I love it. And, of course, the denouement is my favorite part of both meal and book.
Joanne said…
And when those story ingredients all come together, it's a feast for the reader to savor :)
Talli Roland said…
I love this comparison! Why does everyone seem to be posting about food today? Or am I just hungry... :)
Slamdunk said…
Ha, I would never have thought of vegetables in that way Carol.

Don't put too much pressure on yourself on commenting--it quickly becomes overwhelming and makes the whole activity much less fun for you.
Tracy Jo said…
80 pages left! Woo-hoo! I love this comparison - so creative & so true. Enjoy your Monday!
Hart Johnson said…
Very fun. Almost makes me wish I liked cooking. In fact maybe I WOULD if I kept all this in mind.
Carol Kilgore said…
Linda G - Sweet :)

Joanne - Yes. I love when it happens.

Talli - Great minds :)

Slamdunk - Commenting can be overwhelming, especially at busy times. But I love reading what everyone says and getting to know them.

Tracy Jo - You have a great Monday, too.

Hart - Ah, there's the secret!
Linda Kage said…
What an awesome comparison! Why don't I ever come up with cool ideas like that?
LR said…
Yes and as with a meal, people just need to like it. No matter what your method is, it just has to taste good. :)

Like brownies taste good...mmm
Julie said…
What a perfect analogy! Now I keep thinking how I can't wait to get to the dessert in my WIP! Clever post, I love it.

And congrats on being more than 75% done, you must be so anxious to get to the finish line now. That's awesome. :)
Love your analogy. You are so close to the end. Yay
Tara said…
Um, food and writing = awesome. :)

You're doing great with the writing. Woot.
Great comparison. Food and writing, wow! You're doing great with you writing. Thanks for visiting my blog. It's always great to hear from you.
Anonymous said…
Now I'm incredibly hungry. But I'd better stick to the salad bar. Gotta watch those pounds as the holidays are approaching.
L.G.Smith said…
Yay for being so close to finishing. I love and dread that part of the writing. I want it to be done but don't want it to be over, if you know what I mean. Kind of like sharing a delicious meal with good friends. :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Linda K - Maybe my brain is weird :)

LR - Yes, must taste good. Like those brownies :)

Julie - I'm looking forward to that dessert, too.

Theresa - So close I can almost taste it-LOL

Tara - Two of my favorite things!

Brenda Kay - Thanks!

Stephen - I just ate lunch. No willpower. Good for you!

L.G. - Exactly!
Liza said…
Lovely idea! I watch chopped and can't imagine how they do it...and I LIKE to cook. I'm having one of those days today...I've got pork chops and nothing to go with them...what's in my cupboard...something unexpected to spice things up? And, if I don't figure things out soon, I'll be working under a 30 minute time limit too!
VR Barkowski said…
Congratulations on your progress, Carol!

I've never watched Chopped, I'll have to keep an eye out for it. Does this mean I like protein driven fiction?
julie fedderson said…
Clever analogy!! I love Chopped, especially when they give them something so terrible and still they create an amazing dish. The Halloween edition was particularly amusing.
I have a saucy, antagonistic main character - does that count?
Carol Kilgore said…
Liza - I'd probably freak with the timer, too.

VR - Protein Driven Fiction - LOL! I love it :)

Julie - Yes! Exactly. Like cuddlefish and gumdrops.

Alex - Yes!
irishoma said…
Hi Carol,
Very clever analogy. Thanks for sharing.
Janet, said…
Great analogy! A well put together meal is just like a well put together manuscript. You savor the ingredients and are satisfied when finished.
Southpaw said…
Win-win is right! I love the way you put your "meal" together!
Clarissa Draper said…
You're making me hungry! I haven't seen the show but it looks good. I will try and check it out. I'm not sure I have cooking channel here in Mexico. Love how you related it to writing though.
ManicScribbler said…
Hi Carol,
Love the cooking analogy - some of my manuscripts seem to have been in the oven forever!
Btw, if you pop down to my blog sometime (http://manicscribbler.blogspot.com/) you might find a tasty little surprise awaiting you.

Lyn -x-
Carol Kilgore said…
Donna - Love sharing :)

Janet - That's what we all hope!

Holly - Thanks.

Clarissa - The Cooking Channel here is an offshoot of the Food Network, which Chopped is on. Hope you find it!

Lyn - I have some of those :)
I'll zip over right now!
This is great! And it gives me yet another excuse to watch the Food Network (as if I need one).

It sounds like you're making great progress on your project. Keep up the good work.
Carol Kilgore said…
Thanks, Cynthia. As of this morning, 52 pages and counting down :)
Arlee Bird said…
That analogy works for me, but I'm waiting for dinner now and I sure am hungry.

Tossing It Out
Carol Kilgore said…
I kind of made myself hungry writing this post :)