One thing that I find almost every “writing” blog will tell you is a way to dissect your novel into bits and pieces to help you get through the tough boring bits.
A lot of blogs tend to liken your novel to something edible. Usually pizza.
And then I started thinking about it. (Writing a novel, not pizza, although to be honest, pizza would be a welcome breakfast food.)
Anyway, so I started thinking about it and I realized. Not everybody likes pizza. (Insane, right?) And then, that got me thinking that not every novel is like a pizza, either.
So then what is a novel like? Aside from a bunch of words?
The closest thing that I can figure as a universal truth insomuch as there can BE a universal truth about a creative, organic process like writing, is that your novel is like a typical “Sunday dinner”. You know, that old standard? Meat, potatoes, salad, creamed corn, fresh bread, gravy and homemade pie a la mode for dessert? Yeah, your novel is kind of like that.
You start with the basics — meat and potatoes. This is the backbone for your novel. Your characters, your plot, your character development, your key motivations for said characters. Your goodguy and badguy. The core things that drive your story and make your story more than just gobbledegook on a page. These are your meat and potatoes. The core essence of what makes your story yours. All the rest of it — love interests, car chases, fighting dragons, mealtimes, love, sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, whatever else there is in your book — that’s the extra stuff. That’s the gravy and the pie a la mode. But without a solid foundation of meat and potatoes, you’re not getting the full effect, you’re not getting the complete experience.
So yes, you might have to chew through a bit of gristle to get to the next bite of salad, but when you’re staring at that pie, believe me, it makes it so much more worthwhile.
What’s your “meat and potatoes” when writing a story?