Soup weather has hit Oregon in a big way. I know, I know, the rest of the country has been getting hit with the storms of the century while the PNW has enjoyed some of the most beautiful weather ever seen. Several weekends ago, my husband and I watched the sun go down with a bottle of wine on the Oregon coast. There was no wind and no rain–and anyone who has been on the Oregon coast in January knows just how rare that is. And it was 60 degrees. Incredible!
After spending the afternoon on the beach it was time for dinner. As soon as thew sun dropped below the horizon, the temperature dropped and I wanted a bowl of soup. At the beach you get clam chowder. And it was delicious.
My kids have often called me the soup nazi after an old Sienfeld show because I can concoct amazing soups out of practically nothing. Last night, I made a curried chicken soup with ginger–something I have never tried before. And then, because I’m a little odd, I made up some gnocchi and added them to the bowls just before serving. Talk about genre blending–an Indian flavored soup with Italian dumplings!
Someone online asked me for the recipe and I had to tell her that I didn’t have one. I had a flavor profile in mind and I just kind of added stuff until it tastes good. Then I started thinking about how my writing was a lot like soup.
Bear with me here.
I’ve written quite a few books now. Some will never see the light of day, some are currently available at your local book shop and still others have long disappeared from shelves. Several have yet to be born. And yes, they are all a lot like soup. I don’t have a recipe for the books and like my soups, they all turn out different. Yes, there are some tried and true rules of thumb that help me as I layer in the flavors–I always saute my veggies in olive oil , I use quality broth to pull it all together, etc. But the flavors are all different and each are added a little bit at a time until I have the right notes. Last night I added curry and ginger until it was warm and flavorful without being overpowering.
When I write my books, I always start with a blurb that I develop into back cover copy that is then developed into a one or two page synopsis. I have an over-arching flavor profile that I’m aiming for but each book is completely different and I have to keep adding and subtracting until I get just the right note. Once the main part is done, I go back and layer in the flavor/details until it’s as perfect as I can make it. Then I give my editor a taste, just as I let my husband a taste of my soup. Then, based on their opinion, I fuss with it until everyone is happy.
See, pretty much the same:)