Usually, I like to acquaint readers with children’s classics and older stories still worth reading in our postmodern world. Thought I’d take a break and enjoy some tongue-in-cheek (or morsel-of-meatloaf) ruminations on how to write a novel.
I’ve written four — three middle grade or YA and one women’s fiction, each in various stages of completion from first draft to polished enough for a major house to take a look at it — and reject it (sigh). But the rejection letter offered kind encouragement and several suggestions. Give me time, and someday I’ll have good news to share on a release date!
While I’ve enjoyed writing since I was eight years old, I did not pursue the passion of writing fiction until four years ago. I’ve penned memorable letters to the editor on various issues, at least my local post office clerk thinks so, and I had several magazine articles published while my children were small. In a fateful decision back in 2009, I took the Nanowrimo challenge and found that I could write 50,000 words in thirty days. I haven’t looked back.
Authors have their own styles, their own methods, the work routines that make them the writers they are. I’ve decided I’m a meatloaf writer.
Consider the average meatloaf recipe: collect ingredients, mix them together, add a dash more basil, a little puddle of ketchup, an additional handful of rice cereal until the mixture looks and smells about right. Press it together in the bowl then plop it into the pan. Continue to push and shape until you have formed a rectangular loaf. Bake until cooked through. Now you know a good portion of my meatloaf recipe.
I seem to follow the same procedure in writing. First, I gather characters and my story idea. I mix them together to start the writing process. As the story progresses, I add plot twists, new characters. I press them together trying to make sure they blend well into a recognizable theme, and plop them into my first draft. It’s recognizable as a story, but needs shaping, finesse. I continue to revise, edit, add, subtract until the conglomeration of words forms a worthy story.
My novelist friend Steve considers my writing recipe a horror. He’s more of a gourmet, who knows exactly how a meatloaf ought to be put together and plans accordingly. Other writers out there: what’s your recipe? What creates a delicious novel for you?