This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I feel jolly lucky to write for Novelicious. After all, how many freelance opportunities offer three of my favourite things: books, writing and baking?
For my Feasting on Romantic Comedy posts every week I choose a food that has made my mouth water from a novel or a film. It could have been mentioned fleetingly, or it could be a fabulous, mouth-wateringly descriptive passage. I’m not fussed either way but it does have to add something to the story for me to write about it. Often this ‘research’ is the most time consuming part.
When I find a cake or bake mentioned in a novel I shout hurrah! and it is all systems go. I start to work out a simple recipe – again, more research – this time from the internet or my huge array of recipe books. Once I’ve scribbled down some ideas I then move away from my desk into the kitchen and start to experiment.
Sometimes it can take a few goes to get the recipe right. Like the millionaire's shortbread from a few weeks ago. My first few attempts went in the bin. But when it’s baked, and I’m happy with it, I take its photograph. It has to be done outside and if the sun isn’t out at that moment it can be torture waiting for it to return as I desperately want a sample of what I’ve just baked – but I can’t really photograph it with teeth marks…
Then I’m back at my lovely desk writing about the book and the cake. Sometimes the words flow. Other times I want to do such a good job, because I enjoyed the book so much, that I cannot find the right words. Often I write it up with a piece of the cake next to me. Although it doesn’t stay there for long.
When it comes to writing up the recipe I imagine I’m writing it for a particular writer friend of mine who is a baking novice and likes things explained simply and to the point. I hope I achieve that.
Writing for Novelicious has changed my writing life immensely. Before I joined the team I took a year off from writing as we moved to the countryside – complete with chickens and ducks – which took some getting used to. I despaired at myself for not settling down to write. But in January 2013 I joined the Novelicious team. I decided this would be My Writing Year. I bought myself a desk, which is a second hand kitchen table, surrounded myself with inspiring things, along with drawings from my children and pictures of chickens – lots and lots of chickens – and started to write. And before the year was out I had signed with an agent.
I really do have my cake and eat it.