A Novel Soup

Today’s post was inspired by supper. I made potato soup which I thought was delicious—and that my husband thought was “Good, but not great.”  While I thought using coconut milk was a creative dairy/gluten-free option to make it “creamy,” we were clearly on a different taste wavelength. Which goes to show that one person’s yum is another person’s meh.


In the spirit of metaphor,  here’s why writing a novel is a lot like making soup: 


Act 1: Preparation:

Choose recipe (story idea; concept)

Assemble ingredients (do research; make character sketches)

Assemble equipment (computer; notebooks)


Act 2: Cooking

In large pot (story idea), add:

Stock or broth (setting)

Veggies (characters)

Meat (plot)

Spices (voice)

“Secret” ingredient (unexpected twist)

Simmer until done, stirring occasionally. Ask friends to taste it. (Don’t rush the process; revise as needed; get other opinions.)


Act 3: Serving/Eating

Make a guest list. (Research agents)

Send invitations. (Send query letters.)

Set table for guests who RSVP’d. (Requests for sample pages)


Just before serving, add:

Fresh herbs (make sure the work is polished and ready)


Serve in lovely bowls and garnish with a dollop of yogurt. (Submit a clean, correctly-formatted manuscript.)


Be prepared for mixed reactions, even if it tastes like heaven to you:


“I’m sorry…I thought you knew I was a vegetarian.”

“I like this, but I’m not a big fan of cumin.”

“I prefer a spicier broth.”

“Not bad, but it tastes similar to soup I had last Tuesday…”

“Delicious! I MUST have this recipe. What else are you cooking?”




Bon Appetit!  (Remember to savor the process.)





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