“Let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen closely.” ~ Little Foot’s Mother from the Land before Time
Over the holidays, I made some traditional family recipes that I repeat each year. I made new recipes, too. This led to a roundtable discussion. “Who liked the new recipes?” I asked. “Which ingredients enhanced the flavors? Which ingredients could be left out or substituted next time?” One person at the table completely disliked one new recipe. That’s fine, we all have our own tastes. The others said it was a “pass, repeat it again.”
This Christmas, I was looking for advice on a recipe of another kind, too. I needed to explore the question “What is the right recipe for a good book?” I have been reading my book-in-progress to the Steamboat Writers Group http://bit.ly/t4VFxG but, I decided it was time to share my writings with my son. “It would be good to get an assessment from a family member” I thought. His point of view comes from the perspective of a new generation of thinkers and from that of a screenwriter and filmmaker. He listened carefully and gave me some words of advice. Some of his suggestions seemed valid and some, I didn’t understand. A few of his comments were reiterations, almost verbatim, of what I had been mentioned by members of the writer’s group. “Interesting,” I thought.
After our analysis, I said “all comments have been interesting and useful but it has left me more confused.” Stay the course, he said. “It is difficult to judge the story line this early on, without knowing where the tale will travel and what will be the end result” I promised to press on. “Get the basic story down on paper, and then we will find the thread and strengthen it” my son said.
Opinions of storylines are clearly subjective in nature. Trying to identify which elements of a manuscript should be expanded upon, which parts should be revised and what text should be eliminated, all together, is difficult.
So, now, I ask myself. “What is the recipe for a great story?” I have my work cut out for me and I will not give up until I have a fulfilling mix. What I do know for sure is that it will be a challenging and creative year. I am up to the task!
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