BY NANCY KAY CLARK
I WAS thinking about my writing process as I cooked dinner the other evening. I tend to use recipes as a base, but then adapt and change them depending on the ingredients I have in, the effect I’m after and the amount of people I’m cooking for. Similarly, when I write I tend to use the conventions of genre and plot as underpinning, and then adapt to make the stories authentic to my voice—or that’s the intention anyway. It’s sometimes difficult to decide how much I should play it safe or veer off the tried-and-true recipe. Creativity is about playing and experimentation and the occasional mistake. But just as I come to the kitchen with a basic knowledge of cooking and recipes—and how not to poison the diners—I think every writer should be conversant with the recipes of their craft before embarking on any experimentation. So should your write to a formula? Yes—and no.
What do you think? Leave us a comment below.
Kay Smith-Blum‘s short story, “Desco Drive,” has been published in Issue 20 of Minerva Rising. The small press publishes three journals per year, available for purchase on their website, minervarising.com This tale jumpstarted Smith-Blum’s second novel of historical fiction.