Merry Christmas, Seekerville!
Mia here, with an insight I had while the kids were decorating their gingerbread house last year. It's a lot like writing a book. No, really--it is! Let me explain.
First, you need the right ingredients to make the dough. Flour, spices, you know the drill. Well, for writing you need an idea, then some way to get it down (paper and pen, computer, stone and chisel--whatever you use). Mix them together and toss them in the oven for a while to make them solid enough to work with. Okay, don't toss your computer in the oven, but the concept is the same. Once you've got your writing ingredients are together, you have to let them cook for a while.
When the gingerbread (or your basic idea) is ready, design and cut out the pieces. Carefully put together the walls and then the roof pieces, making sure each section is solid before moving on. It's the same with a story, where you need a structure with vivid characters and plenty of conflict to keep things standing straight. If one of those things isn't strong, everything will fall apart...just like the first gingerbread house we made many years ago ;)
|A strong beginning structure helps ensure a successful result!!!|
Once your house is together and standing on its own, you get to pick out the candy and other goodies that will make it pretty. If you're like my family, we use stuff we like to eat, 'cause that makes it more fun. Anyway, in your book, the candy is secondary characters, the setting, and the unique elements you've chosen to make your story special. You don't decorate your house just like the one in Betty Crocker's picture, do you? Well, your book shouldn't be like anyone else's, either. Your personal spin is what separates your work from other people's, and that's just as important as the structure.
For more on making your story distinctive, I give you Ruth Logan Herne, who's one-of-a-kind herself :)
One of a kind?????
Oh, I love that description! It pairs nicely with my wish to grow older and be considered eccentric...
Instead of crazy, LOL!
When Mia first suggested this, I grabbed onto the idea and pretended it was mine, then my stinkin' conscience made me own up and say it was her idea, but you get the point, right?
We use the basics.... Add some spice or your gingerbread is tasteless.... and then embellish!
Candy cane-lined walkways approaching the house?
That's your character's journey, and all the better if you use ROCK CANDY for the path. An easy journey makes for a boring book....
You get it! ;)
The peppermint shingled roof can be all of the stuff weighing the hero and heroine (or protagonists if this isn't a romance) down... a heavy roof needs a great deal of support, so there's your faith element, in the strong sides you give your story and your house....
Or envision your "house" as a welcoming church, a mansion of God's presence:
|How stinkin' cute is that??????|
Gumdrop bushes add whimsy.
Frosting-scalloped clapboard draws the reader (or Hansel and Gretel, poor dears!!!) into the story.
Or the cauldron!!! :)
Now you see my buddy Mia is carefully building her walls..... SIGH.... Because you know I have to go back and re-caulk mine because I don't do a ton of pre-planning.... and most folks use that awful-tasting royal icing for their construction...
I refuse to ruin a good cake with that stuff, so I make a stiffer buttercream, melt-in-your-mouth good but NOT AS STURDY... which means I have to come up with strength in other ways, right?
But whichever way you're wired as a writer, the balance of steady-to-sturdy-to-whimsy-to-romance-to-faith is very much like building a house.
The plus side with Gingerbread homes?
Some lucky person gets to eat them!
Today, we're serving "Haddon Hall Gingerbread" inside! The famous boys' school lemon sauce is the perfect embellishment for the spiced cake made famous generations ago! This original recipe was originally called "Fort Atkinson Gingerbread" and was made famous in the 1870's.... a bride's dream was to get this old brown-covered Gold Medal Cookbook.... Yes, this cookbook was the precursor to the Betty Crocker versions we use today!
And.... Mia and I have three two-packs of books to give away today: Delightful Christmas stories, guaranteed to have an off-the-charts "Awwww..." factor! Because that's how a good Christmas story should strike us.
Grace. Joy. Peace on Earth.
Leave a comment and we'll toss your name in the cat dish.... (Mia does not use cat dishes, she's much more refined than I am.... but we KNEW that, right????)