May I Have a Toast Please?
Since I have been struggling with morning sickness lately (which is really all day sickness for me), I’ve been eating a lot of toast. And as I ate my toast last night, and this morning, I was thinking about how much toast is like writing.
Like writing? I know. Stay with me, though, and I’ll explain.
First, you start off with a beautiful white piece of bread. As a writer, you start off with a beautiful white piece of screen, ready for your story. You put said bread into the gentle glow of a toaster, just like you put your story into the fires of the muse, ready for a draft. But here’s where it gets tricky.
Sometimes your toast pops too early and it’s a little crunchy on the outside, but still doughy on the inside. Just like when you finish your draft too early and it needs a little more time with the muse to really be cooking.
Or, sometimes your toast stays in too long and it comes out burnt. Then you have three choices, you can eat it as it is (of course slathered with jam to make it taste better), or you can try to scrape off the charred part, or throw it away and start over. Just like in writing a draft, if you’ve written and re-written, and re-written again, sometimes you need to re-evaluate----do you go with it as is and try to fix it as best you can? Do you try to trim it, or do you just throw it away and start over? Generally, an author wouldn’t throw it totally away, but I have heard of some who did, just to start fresh.
Other times, the bread pops up and it looks perfectly toasted, but when you go to get it out, it breaks off into pieces. Then you are faced with trying to get it out. Do you put your fingers in and risk getting burned? Do you turn it upside down and make a big mess? (**Warning** You never want to put a knife or other utensil in a toaster because then you could electrocute yourself.) Sometimes, writing can be like that broken piece of toast. You’re going along with your draft and everything looks perfect, but then, all of the sudden, you hit a writer’s block and the story goes to pieces. You can try to rescue it, but you may get burned, or you can try to shake things up in your story, but you may end up making a bigger mess. (**Warning** You may begin to feel at the end of your rope with the broken story, but you should never do anything that may harm yourself or others over it. )
Obviously, when you finally get a beautifully toasted piece of bread, the foundation for the toppings is laid, just as the foundation for your story is laid. But what kind of topping/story direction will you choose?
- Will you choose to have a sweet, fluffy sort of story? Like butter and jam on your toast?
- Will you choose to have a quirky, it’s an acquired taste, sort of story? Like Cheez Whiz on toast?
- Will you choose to have a dramatic, meaty sort of story? Like bacon, lettuce, and tomato on toast?
- Will you choose to have an adventure story with a little romance thrown in? Like cinnamon with sugar on toast?
- Will you choose to dip yourself in a fantasy world? Like melted cheese on toast, dipped in tomato soup?
The possibilities are endless.
So while I’m going through my toast phase, my writing is as well. I’m searching for the right foundation for my story so I can get to the topping phase, just as I’m searching for the right sort of toast that will help me assuage my feelings of morning sickness. It’s definitely a process, both in my writing and in my toast-making, which hopefully ends in something enjoyable for the person who made the story/toast and for the person who eats the toast/reads the story.
And now I think I shall go work on some more toast.