Tuesday, February 05, 2008

YOUR STORY IS LIKE PASTRY - TAKE CARE HOW YOU SHAPE IT AND DRESS IT

Come join me inside the Barber Book & Bakery and allow me to share a tray of delectable sweet treats. Don’t be shy. Settle your fanny into a chair designed to remain comfortable long enough for you to devour every delicious morsel.

Now, sit back and nibble each goodie I offer. Remember my one golden rule, ‘Don’t Be Too Piggy And Overindulge.’

Doughnut: Let’s face it no one likes to read a book and feel cheated at the end, like there’s a big hole in the story. To knead out any holes check for inconsistencies and balance in your characters and scenes. Different colored highlighters for each character and scene may also help pinpoint them. Read your story out loud or read it from back to front to help bring them to your attention.

Texas Doughnut: A big, fat book doesn’t always equal twice the endowment of a fun read. They could encompass much bigger holes. If your book becomes weighed down with big words that don’t fit the main character, whisk them away. Instead, sprinkle in a select few, if necessary, or add a hint of unique flavor to another character more befitting. Cut on-going scenes down to size before they become unmanageable and your chapters begin to expand to book-length format. Remove sentences and scenes that halt the story and stop forward movement. Also, check for the same earmarks as the standard doughnut. Any of these conditions could induce your reader to never pick your book up again, or lug it to the nearest bookstore exchange.

Long John: Too many long sentences can cross your readers eyes and leave them gasping for air. Variation is key to insure eye appealing pages. Sort through those long winded, wordy sentences and shorten them to a manageable size. Also, scoop out or reduce those long chunks of back story, or flashbacks that take the reader backwards, forwards, and occasionally sideways. These hard to handle, sometimes irritating passages, can take the reader down unnecessary and boring journeys far from the present happenings of the story.

Filled Bismark: Any number of yummy rich plots work to fill the pages of your book. Whether you write, romance, fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, inspiration, historical, or mainstream, from the first page to the last, it’s the filling that makes your story irresistible. If your plot is too thin your book won’t hold together. A plot stuffed with unbelievable events will leave your readers struggling to swallow them. Plots too sticky sweet with sexual content will make readers gag.

Twist: Creative and deceptive twists and unexpected turns are designed to add suspense, not vertigo. Don’t get so carried away that you’ve tied and manipulated your story into so many knots readers dump your book and binge on another author’s entrees. Balance each twist with enough intrigue enriched fiber to hold your book to its shape. Add a dash of humor for some relief, if desired. Your reader won’t feel cheated or defrauded; and they won’t be able to put your book down.

Plain Doughnut: Unadorned or simple, isn’t an automatic equation for unpalatable or boring. As long as you incorporate all of the necessary ingredients for your gene you can whip up a scrumptious prize winning book. One that will rise to the occasion and deliver an enjoyable taste sensation for every reader.

Sugar coated: Don’t over sugar coat your words. Chose them carefully. You don’t want to turn a perfect granule into a gritty mouthful.

Glaze: After you’ve written your final word. Don’t be satisfied with a light glaze over your book. Immerse yourself in each sentence and scene. Check every angle. Then go back through and review again. It may mean the difference between a rejection or a sale.

Nuts: Humor adds a bonus texture for your readers. Comic lines can endear the readers to your character. Well placed comic lines are also a great way to relax the pace for a moment, so your readers can catch their breath after a serious or suspenseful scene.

Sprinkles: A little flamboyance, glitz, and glam goes a long way. In most cases a dash will do.

If you’ve shaped and dressed your story with all the right touches it won’t matter whether you serve your finished book on a polished silver tray or plain paper plate, your readers will devour it and beg for more.

Share your favorite book recipes and successes.

12 comments:

david santos said...

Thanks for your posting, Lori.
Have a good day

Alice Sharpe said...

Lori -- What fun to have you on the blog and talk about a fresh way of looking at things!

My favorite pastry? Cinnamon twists. Long ropes of romance and suspense, twisted together, sprinkled with a little sugar, a little spice, baked to perfection, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Hard to eat just one, goes well with a steaming cup of slightly bitter Kona coffee.

You gave us all a lot of good reminders of things to look for and keep in mind during the editing, esp., process. The holes left by improper mixing and plotting are troublesome (remember my sinkhole? It grew, I knew it would!) Plus I forgot he had a limp and she had cuts....those are more like potholes, easily rooted out and filled with gravel. Er, I mean, sprinkles.

Can't wait to see what other treats are mentioned! Thanks for a fun blog, Lori.

Paty Jager said...

Ah... I should have known you'd mix baking with your writing! LOL

I have apple fritters. There are tidbits of tasty stuff (apples) mixed in with lumps that need beat out.

Great way to remind us of all the things we need to be aware of as we write and rewrite!

It's great to have you on the blog!

Lori Barber said...

Oooh Alice, your cinnamon twists sound delicious. Something I can't wait to sink my teeth into.

Don't you just hate it when your characters don't have the decency to remind you he's limping or she's suffered some cuts? I mean really, how snotty.

Once you get your sinkhole under control please sell me the formula. Mind is threatening to spread too.

wavybrains said...

I just had to tell you what a delightful post this is! So much fun!

Lori Barber said...

Paty, Mmm, apple fritters. Have fun beating out the lumps. All this pastry talk is making me hungry.

I know I shared old stuff but sometimes a refresher is nice and there may be some who haven't heard a tidbit of two.

What box do you check to have comments sent to you?

Lori Barber said...

Wavy, Thanks. Hope it didn't raise your blood sugar level.

Karen Duvall said...

Yummy stuff, Lori. Delish! 8^)

Danita Cahill said...

I new you'd write fun blogs, Lori!

All the pastries sound so delicious, and me being glucose intolerant with this pregnancy, dang it, I can't indulge in any of them.

I have doughnut holes. I have to round the little rolly suckers up, tuck them inside the mama donut and sprinkle the whole lot with powdered sugar to make one consise and yummy treat.

Alice Sharpe said...

Lori, on the list of items under this box there should be a notation like "check this box for responses" or something. Right under the comment box. It says something about follow-up comments.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Fun blog, Lori!

And I would add my successes, but my brain is fried from the long vacation weekend. LOL. I'm so glad you've joined us in the blogging realm!

Genene said...

Lori, what a fun post!

I love your "filled bismarks." Yummy rich plots are a great goal. And the cream-filled bismarks topped with chocolate aren't bad either! This is my favorite, though I might be guilty of past overindulgences!