Salsa and Writing – oops posted out of order

I thought I posted this already, but found it in the drafts so it’s out of order. I’ll write more about Memoir on Monday when I join a BLOG TOUR.

Making salsa takes time. First, you need tomatoes. Earlier this year, my hubby and I went to a couple of places to find the best tomato plants and then Cal planted four of them in our garden. The tomatoes needed good soil, fertilizer, water, sunshine, bees to pollinate the tiny flowers, wire cages to support the vines, and plenty of time in order to grow and become ripe.

Writing a book is a lot like making salsa. First, you need an idea. Maybe you have a great first line, or an amazing main character, or a wonderful setting/location, or a terrific climatic moment, or a fantastic finish. Maybe a reporter says something on the news or you read about a subject online or your kid/neighbor/random stranger does something funny or mean or kind and it sparks an idea for a plot. Next, you let the idea germinate and soon enough you’re ready to start typing.

For salsa, I washed, blanched, peeled, and chunked the tomatoes. Next, I added a little sugar, salt, and spices. I chopped onions and two kinds of peppers in my blender, and added those to the pot. I stirred everything together and let the mixture heat. I tasted it and I had Cal taste it.

For a novel, you write a scene or two, you add characters and show their feelings. You add in scene details and dialogue to spice up the plot. You keep typing, chapters appear. Pretty soon you have a first draft, but that is only the beginning. You read the book aloud and have someone else read it. Maybe several beta readers or your critique group.

Oops, the salsa was too spicy. Now what? I poured half of the salsa into a different pot then repeated the process for making another batch— except with fewer peppers—then poured half of the second batch into each pot and stirred. Again, I tasted it and I had Cal taste it… better. After an hour or so of cooking, the salsa had boiled down to a thicker consistency. Perfect!

You discover there are parts of your book that you like and a few things that need revising. Maybe you need to spice up a scene or slow down a section. Or maybe you need to keep half of the book and put the other half on the shelf to simmer for another time. You keep typing. You keep adding and deleting and revising until… Perfect!

I poured the salsa into clean hot jars with clean hot lids and rings and put the jars in a hot water bath. I waited for the water to come to a gentle boil. It seemed to take forever. Finally when the water boiled, I set the timer and went to do other things. After the allotted time, I removed the jars and put them on a towel to cool. No doubt, some people will think my salsa is too sweet or not spicy enough or too chunky or not thick enough. For me, it is just right and I am pleased with my efforts.

You send your book to your agent or editor, or to someone you would like to be your agent or editor. You wait. It seems like it takes forever. You start on another book. After the allotted time you hear back from the pros. No doubt some will think your book needs more revisions and you will decide what changes, if any, you need to make. Whether or not it is ever published, at some point your book will be just right for you and you can be pleased with your efforts.

Anyone for chips and salsa and a good book to read?

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One Response to Salsa and Writing – oops posted out of order

  1. Fun analogy. I’ll probably dribble some of my awesome-tasting homemade salsa on the pages of my book and make a big old mess.

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