Recipe for a story (or a soup)


I’m not sure I understand these writers who write multiple novels. Where do they come up with the ideas? How do they figure out how to execute so many different kinds of plots?

When I finished my first draft of Secrets of the Sari Chest, I was so impressed with myself simply because I wrote so! many! pages! about the same story. Though I could never write a novel like To Kill A Mockingbird, I kind of get why Harper Lee stopped after just one book. She probably used all of her best ideas for one story, and couldn’t come up with any more.

In the past week of writing Finding Om, I find myself starting a new scene and realizing — oops– I’ve written that same scene in Secrets just with different characters. I’m beginning to wonder if I can write a second novel at all without plagiarizing myself.

Still, I’m 63 pages in, and far enough to feel confident that I will at least get through the first draft.

*  *  *  *  *

Speaking of repeating my best ideas– I’ve been feeling similarly with respect to dinner around here. I think I’ve been cooking the same recipes for so long, they all look exactly the same to me. For instance, I think 90% of the time we’re eating a dish that’s either bean based or pasta based. (If I had my way, I’d eat more meals that were potato based. But alas, potatoes are one of the few vegetables my kids are picky about.)

I found this soup recipe a while back. It looks delicious, doesn’t it? But now I’m wondering– Do I really need to introduce another pasta/bean dish to our repetroire? Don’t get me wrong…I have a quiche in the oven right now, and I make a mean vegetarian schnitzel. We do have some dishes that mix it up. Just not a ton.

Is it because I’m a vegetarian that I feel this way? Or do you meat eaters out there also feel like you tend to eat very similar dishes every night?

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6 thoughts on “Recipe for a story (or a soup)

  1. I know what you mean about the similar ideas or words thing- I’ll write something and then stop and think, “Now did I already use that in another article or book?”

    As far as food- well my menu is a bunch of repeats – ha ha- so I definitely REUSE the same ingredients over and over. I am the first to admit I am NOT a cook! (talented cook- I can cook, but that is not my forte’)

  2. I’m not much of a cook, either, Connie. And I don’t enjoy it like other people do…And like you, we reuse a lot of the same ingredients over and over again.

  3. I think lots of us feel that way–some by choice–remember Rachel and her theme week menus? She inspired Taco Tuesday. Monday was something ground beef based, Tuesday was baked potato bar night, Wednesday was slow-cooker, Thursday was soup and leftovers. Genius.

    And that’s one of the reasons we don’t go full veggie (that and my husband’s daily turkey sandwiches): at least pork and chicken can make very similar sides seem like totally different meals.

    Don’t miss Catherine Newman’s crack broccoli http://benandbirdy.blogspot.com/2012/01/crack-broccoli.html It was crazy good, with and without lemon. There’s a little extra prep involved but it really is quick (I used the veggie peeler and a regular chef’s knife; the key is to get the flat sides, and that’s all).

  4. I may try to the broccoli later this week…Your comment over there helped me with the peeling part…I didn’t know broccoli had an outside to peel!

  5. I didn’t know that either…I just thought I didn’t like the stalks. Turns out that if you get rid of the outer part, it’s much more tender and tasty (to me at least).

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