Monday, May 7, 2012

Making Bread - and Stories

by Mary Sutton / @mary_sutton73

We borrowed a bread machine last week from one of the husband's co-workers. See, we've been thinking of buying one, but wanted to make sure we didn't just love the idea before plunking down the cash.

This morning, as I munch the last bit of the foccacia I made yesterday, it occurs to me that making bread - or cooking anything really - is like writing a story. No, I'm not off my rocker.

See, both require specific elements. With bread, you need flour, water, yeast, and salt. Without those, you don't really have bread (don't get technical on me about flat breads and such).

When you're writing a story, you also need certain elements: plot, characters, dialogue (it's really hard, but maybe possible, to write an entire story without dialogue). Yes, I'm speaking more to fiction here, but hey, that's what I write.

But at some part of the process, you get to be creative and throw a little something unexpected in there. With bread, there's a multitude of things you can put in: cheese, nuts, dried fruit, herbs - otherwise all you have is a tasteless hunk of baked flour.

Same thing with a story. You've got to throw in something interesting: a twist, a hook - something to engage your reader. Otherwise, well, you have a tasteless block of words.

I suppose the possibilities are almost endless, only limited by your imagination. With baking, and writing, you try lots of things. Some work, some don't. Over time, you find your groove. The best writers - and bakers - don't just settle for what works, though. They're always experimenting. Some day, I hope I can change that pronoun to "we."

For the time being, it's Monday, and that means back to Rewrite #2 on Out of the Blue.

Oh, and I need to make another loaf of bread.

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