Thursday, July 18, 2013

Making/Writing a Cake/Story from Scratch

I like a challenge, so last Saturday I decided to try and make an Angel Food Cake from scratch.

I did my homework and found a wonderful recipe in Cook's Country magazine. I have subscriptions to several cooking magazines. I love to read about wonderful food and see how it's made. Do I cook all the recipes I like? Sadly, no. But every once in a while a recipe catches my eye, which was the case of the Angel Food Cake.

After collecting all the ingredients, I whisked the flour and salt together, processed the sugar in a food processor, aerated flour and sugar, whipped the egg whites to soft mounds, folded the flour into the egg whites, and then carefully put it in the pan to bake. And this is important, the pan was not to be grease. It was a special tube pan for Angel Food Cake.

Guess what? To my surprise the cake tasted wonderful. There's a world of difference between cake made from scratch and cake bought at the store.

Now looking at key steps in making a cake from scratch, we can use a few of them to help write a novel from scratch.

Whisk the characters . . . 
You need several different types of characters in a novel for instance: hero/heroine, reflection character, villain, and romantic character. Each character needs to be fully developed. the hero should have a friend (reflection character) and their relationship should be well established (whisked together). Your main character will have a character arch in the course of the novel. The process of layering information about your main character's attributes throughout the novel is all about timing. When would be the best time for key elements to be revealed? At what stage will your main character learn certain things? Your character's identity is in the process of growing as the story enfolds until the main character is able to realize his full potential.

Whip the story . . .
The plot of your story needs to move in a linear fashion. It needs to make sense and flow naturally. Be careful and don't put the cart before the horse. Use logic. Map out your plot so you can see that as the story grows so is the tension and conflict. Your job is to keep your reader reading so load your book with as many hooks as you can.Keep the tension whipped up.

Fold together characters and plot carefully . . .
Remember your main character's arch is growing along with your plot arch. They should peak close together or even at the same time as the climax of your story. So fold characters and plot carefully together.

Writing a novel from scratch is a lot of hard work, but so worth the effort. Sure you could use stereo-typical characters you've seen in other novels, but they will read like store-bought cake tastes. And you don't want that. You want your characters and your plot to be original. You want them made from scratch by you.

Do you like to make cake from scratch?
Do you like to write from scratch?
What has been you biggest success . . . cake/story?


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