Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Writing the Thanksgiving Meal

Last year at Thanksgiving, I blogged about websites I'm thankful for. If you've got some extra time (and you're interested), you can read that post HERE.

This year, I thought I'd do something a little different. As I'm preparing to host Thanksgiving for 12 people this year, plus a few more who may pop in at any given moment, I'm thinking about the Thanksgiving dinner and how it might relate to a writing good book. See if you agree:

THE TURKEY. Really. What would Thanksgiving be without a turkey? I know that some of you might not do the traditional turkey thing. Maybe your choice is ham or chicken. My point is, the meat is the focus of the meal, right? Likewise, we've got our plot - the meat of the story. Everything centers around it. Some plots are juicy, some are dry, some are plump, some are underdone, some overcooked. But one thing is true of the meat. It's probably the most expensive part of the meal AND the part that takes the most work (which is why I pawn off the turkey roasting to my sister-in-law). Your plot will likely cost you the most, too. If you want an exceptional novel, you need to take the time and pay the price required to craft a good story.

Now, if only there were those pop-up timers to let us know when it was ready.

THE POTATOES. At our house, the potatoes are the food item that everyone dives for after that "Amen." There's nothing quite like potatoes to go along with the meat. Have you guessed what the potatoes are? That's right. The characters. Some are lumpy, some half-baked, some cheesy, some fried. And most need to be peeled, just like the skin of our characters, to expose the good stuff. And sometimes, even the most perfect-looking potato can have a really rotten inside. Food for thought...

THE GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE. Not everyone likes it, but come on. Green bean casserole is a must on my Thanksgiving table. In the same way, having a voice is a must - although not everyone will like it. That's where you have to say, "You know? Even though my mother-in-law doesn't like it, it is what it is." Hey, she doesn't have to put any on her plate, but she still has to look at it anyway and acknowledge that I made it.

THE STUFFING. This is the extra stuff. You know, like accessories are to an outfit. Some people put the stuffing inside the turkey, some include it "on the side." But ultimately, it's the padding of the story. All the subplots and aspects that make it more interesting. Again, not everyone will like the texture, but without it, at least at my house, the whole meal just falls flat.

ROLLS. I don't know about you, but for me, rolls are the feel-good food. It's what completes the meal. The bread and butter of the story, so to speak. In novel writing, I would say the rolls compare to the overall flow. The flow is what makes the story come together and seem complete.

THE TABLE SETTINGS. You probably don't even realize there's a table cloth underneath your plate, but it's what makes the meal look so pretty. The candles, maybe good china, pretty wine goblets...that background stuff you don't necessarily need in order to eat the meal but which definitely enhances your dining experience. Exactly the same way the setting of your story brings everything to life and makes it prettier.

PUMPKIN PIE. Hello. What's Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? OK, so it's not my absolute favorite (my choice is always apple or cherry - or chocolate!) but I can't imagine not having at least one pumpkin pie on the kitchen counter on Thanksgiving Day. So, of course, in relation to writing a story, dessert is the ending. Does it leave you full and satisfied? Regardless, the ending should be tasty! And the more whipped cream, the better!

PRAYER. Of course, a Thanksgiving meal should always start with prayer. And so should your story. Thank God for what He's given you (the food or the talent) and ask Him to bless it. Then get to work, either consuming that meal or writing that novel. And whatever you do, ENJOY the process.

So there's my Thanksgiving meal. Did I miss anything? Just for fun, leave a comment and let me know what foods I'd find on your Thanksgiving table.

HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY. THANK YOU for taking the time to read my blog. I truly appreciate you all.


Jennifer Shirk said...

I'd have to add homemade cranberry sauce and pecan pie.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Angie Vik said...

I enjoyed your creative Thanksgiving post. So a good author is a good cook. Blessings on your Thanksgiving celebration.

Joanne Sher said...

What a creative post, Lyn! Love it. Enjoy your Thanksgiving (no idea what we're having, as my parents are doing it LOL)

Catrina Bradley... said...

Hello - what about the cranberries? Tart and a bit sour to add a little bite to your meal? Like your antagonist maybe. :)

Terri Tiffany said...

You did a great job with this! Perfect! I pray your real meal is just just as good!

Coleene VanTilburg said...

The cranberry add that to your fork with the bite of turkey, right? So this might just be a little sub-plot, or a secondaty character with some tang and color!

Great analogy and pictures, Ohh I just scrolled and saw Cat's comment. Great minds think alike! lol.