Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How to Cook a Book Part 1: The Ingredients

What would you do with a kitchen full of untouched food if you were hungry? Would you find a recipe, or make something from memory? Maybe you would try to make a new creation of your own! But what if it doesn’t taste right? Like writing a book, how can you know if it will turn out well? You can’t for sure, but the best recipes started out as a chance! Take your first step, and find your ingredients.

When writing a book, there are various strategies an author can utilize. The most well-known and practiced is to simply write the book. There are several methods that can be applied. Some create outlines or notes, some write during certain hours or fill a quota of words per day, and some just write when the feeling to do so occurs to them. Any method you choose will still come straight from you, straight from the heart. But one of the down falls is that ever frustrating writer’s block! Every author has developed their own methods to overcome this obstacle. Some writers will stare at the page until the story comes back to them, while other writers walk away until they find some inspiration. Whatever you choose, writing completely on your own can be fun and complicated. With this writing strategy, the creation is completely your own; for better or for worse!

Say you have a good meal in mind, but you don’t know what kind of ingredients you need. Maybe you have all the ingredients, but don’t know how to put them together, what order is correct, or what kind of style you want to use. What would be the use of a good idea if you can’t find the right ingredients to make it? Luckily, there are ghostwriters to help solve the writing dilemma. Depending on the history of the ghostwriter, they can be as invisible as you wish. Hence the word ‘ghost’ in their title. Some ghostwriters can even make the recipe for you and add your name to it! Though, it sometimes comes with a healthy price. The credit, rights, payment, representation, warranties, and indemnities are all negotiated between the author and ghostwriter or between the author, ghostwriter, and publisher. These contracts are confidential and secure. All you have to do is tell this secret chef your concept, and they will make you a exceptional meal!

How do you usually cook? Most people would answer that question with, “I follow a recipe.” Some recipes are very easy to follow, while others might take a little more research. Depending on the ingredients, simply finding them might prove to be a challenge. This, in the writing world, would relate to taking already existing material and converting it into a book. This process ranges from compilations of blogs or articles, to writing the story based on recorded audio. Once again, the ease would depend on the ingredients and where you can locate them. Some of these ingredients could either be in the far reaches of Africa, or simply hiding forgotten in the back of your cabinet!

Cooking can be a fun and adventurous journey, the same goes for writing. Writing can take the author on a journey through imaginary worlds, visit the lives of people, inspire others to greater things, or just simply give a helpful little word. Any method of writing, cooking, or activity can be as fun as you wish it to be, just remember, the first part of any journey is that first step.

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