Chocolate and the Craft of Writing: Preparation and Planning

Whether you make dessert or write a story — preparation is critical.

The beginning of a story starts with the question; What if? For example, the idea for my series, The Matchmaker Café, came to me while my husband and I were traveling in Scotland. We were both taking pictures and I was narrowing my focus to doors; castle doors, cottage doors, pub doors and so on. At the top of many of the doors was engraved or painted, the word, ‘Established’ and next to it the year. I remembered that this was not that uncommon throughout Europe.

That’s when it hit me. What if when you opened the door, crossed over the threshold and were transported to the date the door was installed? Since I love writing time travels, this idea offered limitless possibilities. I couldn’t wait to get started. Opening a door to the past is the premise of the Matchmaker Café series, and I’m excited to announce that Falling in Love with Emma, is book three in the series, and will be released on October 27, 2017. But as you can see from this cooking preparation photo, just knowing the basic plot, doesn’t guarantee the writing process will be smooth sailing, any more than following a friend’s recipe will result in a culinary masterpiece. That’s where preparation comes in.

A recipe might contain, eggs, sugar flour, baking powder, butter, chocolate, and vanilla, in the same way as a story contains, characters, setting, plot, point of view, conflict, emotion, and romance. The magic in whether our cake, or story, is a success, is in how we put these ingredients together.

If you forget to add the vanilla, your cake will be bland. If you forget to add emotion, your characters will be lifeless. As writers we know our characters, but I don’t rely on instincts that everything will all work out, I rely on a rewriting and check lists. At the top of each scene I have a check list that reminds me to rewrite the scene until it breathes with life and emotion. This list contains the following; emotion at opening of scene, emotion at end of scene, point of view character, setting, plot, hook, and secret.

Falling in Love with Emma was fun to write because, not only were Emma and Björn struggling to take their relationship from the friend zone, to the romance zone, but my heroine owned a French bakery and my hero owned a fish market. Emma followed recipe directions, and Björn believed the secret to a great meal was to barbeque. As a result, I used food (chocolate to be specific) to explore the ebb and flow of Emma and Björn’s relationship.

Please check out book three in the Matchmaker Café series, Falling in Love with Emma available on Amazon http://a.co/6KjM6Lp

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