A Cook’s Guide to Writing – If It’s Bland, Season It

notebook and pencil for recipes and spices in spoons on wooden tNot everything that boils in my pot is to my liking. If it lacks taste or aroma, I add some spice. I’ll grab the tried and true salt and pepper but too often that isn’t interesting enough and I begin to experiment with seasonings that the recipe might not have called for. Add some cumin for its rich nutty and smoky flavor, or splash some Tabasco in it to give it some real kick.

If your protagonist is too perfect, the ladies won’t feel nurturing and sympathetic toward them. If your characters are common and stereotypical, give them a trait or taboo that makes us sit up and take notice. If your setting lacks imagination find a new location or bring it to life with all five senses. Nothing draws a reader into an imaginary environment like smells, textures and tastes. Find exotic seasonings and don’t be afraid to use them. “Cold” might be exactly what the recipe calls for but “frigid” or “Arctic” might make us shudder on a sweltering day and crave mom’s iced tea. Keep us riveted to our couch with well-paced plot. That way we won’t take a break to make some tea until the end of the chapter, better yet, the end of the book.

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