|The raw product|
Also, I thought you might like to know I do occasionally do things other than write or think about writing. Yes, really. Thirdly, because even though I wasn't meant to be thinking about writing, as I cooked I started to realise the similarities between jam-making and writing a good romance.
I'm sure some of you are shaking your heads now, wondering if Annie has finally lost it, but bear with me. Just think about the process. First I took ripe plums, with that lovely tree-fresh fog still on them, some lemons and some sugar and set them on my bench top. It's a bit like starting a romance - working out that you have what you need - a lovely fresh hero and heroine and the other necessary ingredients - attraction, setting and the biggie - conflict! There's no point starting the book unless you know you've got the right things to add to the mix.
Next came the preparation. Cutting the fruit and excising the stones. This took a while and, like so many other repetitive tasks, was a great time for letting the mind wander (which is when I started thinking about this blog). It's like the process we go through in the early stages of planning and writing a story - we dream a little about the characters, imagine various possible approaches and how they might work, then cut out the bits we don't need and retain what's going to work for our story. For me, having those characters right, or as right as they can be at the beginning of the book, is important, even if I keep learning more about them as I go on.
It's during that heating process that the magic happens. The ingredients come together and turn into something that's different and more than the separate ingredients. They gel (literally, that's what the lemon juice is for in my jam) into a single substance. It takes a while and a good bit of testing to be sure. I have to keep coming back to the pot every so often to see what's happening and how well it's coming together. It's a bit like the final stages of story writing, when I have to reread and polish to make sure I've got a coherent story. And then of course are the revisions - maybe adding a little more juice if the jam's not setting as it should.
|Finished and waiting to enjoy|
How about you? Do you see yourself as creative? Do you write or cook or do some other creative ventures? Do you have stories to share about the most successful thing you created or maybe about the big surprise flop? I'll send a copy of UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH to one person, drawn at random, from those who comment. Drop by the blog again tomorrow and I'll post the winner's name in the comments section.