Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Whole Process

photo courtesy of
Tis the season to start the baking, fah la la la la, la la la la.

And by baking I am not referring to prefab-boxed, add-a-teaspoon-of-water and-throw-it-in-the-oven-voila, plastic food baking.

Nope. This is clear the counter of any movable object, pour flour on the surface and make every piece of the meal from scratch even if it cooks past midnight baking.

Stick with me, this is a writer's post.

I chose to make bread. I mixed the ingredients as called for in the recipe, no cheating with a bread machine, put the dough in a warm place, and let it rise. Once satisfied with the looks I punched that baby down with my fists and kneaded it, turning it over, pushing, shoving, squishing it through my fingers and setting it back in the bowl. I repeated the process twice before tenderly setting my work of culinary art into a bread pan and pushed it into the oven.

Smelled good. I took a peek. Looked good, my stomach rumbled. My family walked into the kitchen licking their lips and inhaling the aroma. Then came the illusive question: "When will it be ready?" The timer dinged and I rescued my creation from the oven, setting it on the counter to cool. As an experienced cook, I learned to stand guard to prevent quality control managers from premature sampling.

While it cooled, I whipped up some fresh honey butter to a soft, creamy consistency, better than Olive Gardens and spatulaed (yes, I made up that word. It works for me and I am a writer) the sweet spread into a decorative container.

Now for the pièce de ré·sis·tance. I set the bread on a decorative cutting board along with a bread knife, added a stack of bread plates and the decorative container of honey butter, and called my brood. Shall we say I will win the best mother award for the next five minutes? 

Now lets play read Mary's mind. How did this relate to writing? Hold on, I know you know the answers! We have quite a qualified readership. Check me if I miss anything:

1. I chose. Good start for writing a book. We need to choose what we are going to write. Wavering and floundering muck up the waters. For my bread, I thought of my eaters and what they would want to eat. What good would be if I was the only one eating the food? I'd gain fifty pounds and miss a great blessing.

2. Mixed the ingredients as called for in the recipe: Read books, posts, articles, crits, attend classes, workshops, conferences, and anything including taking a cruise (for research of course) that provides you with the ingredients (tools)  for writing. Use these quality ingredients to compose your WIP.

3. Put the dough in a warm place and let it rise: After you finish writing an article, novel, or post, set it aside for at least one day, better to do three days to one week. This gives all those nasty errors a chance to rise to the surface ready to be plucked out.

4. Once satisfied...punch that baby down with your fist, and etc.: Edit your work. Leave no word or punctuation unexamined. Be ruthless. The more you squish those errors through your fingers, the better the product. Nothing is above examination...except your name.

5. Set it back in the bowl and repeat the process. Give the new version time to rest. Same amount of time. Don't sit there doing nothing! Start your next work. Pull your mind away from the current project to find your fresh eyes. At the end of the time, re edit. Show no mercy.

6. Tenderly set in pan and push into oven: This is when the crit partners, grammarians, and other folk work on your piece. Raising the internal temperature, blending, unifying, drawing out the delicious flavors of the work.

7. Smelled family inhaled the aroma and asked "When will it be ready?" Time to query, pitch, enjoy the memories of best scenes while making a one sheet. Smell the aroma of the sweet writing filling computer pages, laugh at memorable dialogue, burst with your news. Let it fill the air so others come to you and ask, "When will your book be published?"

8. The timer dinged and I prepared the pièce de ré·sis·tance: Attend a conference, pitched the book, send it off to an agent. While they feast, know that your work was designed to please eaters/readers and the greatest joy of all was watching them.

9. Go to step one and make another.

How did I do? Maybe you saw other key points, grasped other great ideas. Share them, don't leave me hanging!

This was a different side of Mary presenting to you today. The caged up one in a hotel room waiting to move into her house across the country. Could you tell?


This blog post is by Mary Vee

Mary lives in Montana with her husband and loves to hear from her three college kids. She writes contemporary Christian fiction with a focus on the homeless population and loves to pen missionary and Bible adventure stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids.

Visit Mary at her website
Step into Someone Else's World

Ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids


Jeanne T said...

I loved this, Mary. You did a fabulous job of showing the similarities between baking bread and writing a book. :)

I can't think of anything you missed. Thank goodness your time in a hotel isn't forever. I'm praying it's as short as possible.

Mary Vee said...

Thanks Jeanne:)
I am anxious to get into a home.

Joanne Sher said...

TOTALLY fascinating - and CLEVER, Mary! Praying this move goes more quickly than you could EVER imagine

Mary Vee said...

Oh, thank you, thank you, Joanne. :)

Sherrinda said...

Mary, you are so smart! I love the analogy!!! And I'm praying for you, girl! We need an Alley Cat retreat place!!!! lol :)

Mary Vee said...

Its on order, Sherrinda.
The paperwork...good grief the paperwork is enough to bury yah and make yah change your mind. And then a picture of the future house pops in your mind and...yah sigh.