writing

Cake

August 31, 2011

I wanted to post a picture of a regular boring cake. I went to cakewrecks.com and got sucked in. Those cakes are not regular or boring. I wasted maybe fifteen minutes? Maybe more? This is why the internet it bad. Why was I looking for a boring cake? Like the kind of cakes I make? From a box? In a pan? With bad frosting on top? I will tell you. One time someone chucked a cake at me. Not really. I wish. I’m tired. I need to finish a book this week. I’ve been working on this book for forty thousand years. And while it’s no secret this process has been painful, I have realized that all the sweat and tears and long nights are not wasted. When you first start a book, the character is a stick figure. You may think you know him or her, you may know what they look like, where they live, what they worry about, etc. You may do tons of get-to-know them exercises, etc. And you may have a pretty firm grasp on who you think they should be. BUT As you write, as you push them into different situations, things happen. They start to change and change and change and through the change, they become more real. You rewrite. They get thicker and fuller and realer (love). You rewrite again. They grow even more. You start asking yourselves questions. Why isnt’ this working? Who is she really? Why would that boy react to her in that way? Why would she even talk to that boy? I thought in my character sketch she was shy? Is she shy? Is he shy? is the mom shy? Who is shy? You may be in shower and you realize, oh man, I think she murdered someone. And you go back and rewrite. Then you take another shower and no, she just thinks she murdered someone because she has delusions. Then you rewrite. And the whole thing starts to jump to life. Books need time. People need time. Situations need time. Go on walks. take showers. Watch the sunset. And think about your book. Think about your MC. Think about all those other people that walk around the MC. Let it marinate and then rewrite. Then let that marinate. Don’t stress if it’s taking you awhile to get a hold of that person. You are creating a PERSON. A real live (sort of) person. That’s not an easy thing to do. Now the cake. We can bake a cake in a few minutes. Like forty. It will taste okay. It comes from a box that someone put together and sold to us. We can decorate it, put on sparkles, candles, candies, etc. and it will taste fine. Fast and fine. Or. We can plan. We can get the ingredients. We can envision. And then we can work. We can work hard and it will take us a lot of time. So much time and we’ll be sweating (not into the cake please) and we may mess up and have to start over a few times, we may even have to get a new recipe. We may want to give up in the middle and go buy a cake, or pull out a box and make one of those boring ones.

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