When preparing to bake a cake, to do a really good job, first you must go to the freshmarket and buy the best ingredients. Stale flower, spoiled milk, rotten eggs, and old sugar just won’t measure up. Even Chef Rino Baglio can’t transform rubbish into rum cake.
Without solid, accurate information from primary sources, even the best writers can’t pen poignant prose. Some writers have tried to cut corners, and some have shattered like (Stephen) Glass.
It’s better to borrow a lesson from the baker. Writing is much like baking a cake.
First, you’ll need to gather the best ingredients available: a half cup of quality quotes, a little alliteration and anecdotes wouldn’t hurt. Five cups of key facts and a bag of background detail are a must. To sweeten the mix, include a half pound of human interest. From the spice rack, include a teaspoon of timeliness and pinch of prominence. Stir some theme and transitions into the mix to bond all the ingredients nicely.
After blending the necessary ingredients from the best available sources, filter out the fluff, and let the mix cook in your head. Drop in the conclusion too soon, and your story might flop. It’s better to give the mixture a day or two to rise.
The process of revision is the icing on the cake that too many writers skimp on. This is what separates the apprentices from the masters. It’s always important to measure your successes and learn from your failures.
After the finishing touches, the reward for the writer, like the chef, comes in sharing the finished product with your friends. Repeat the process, and soon you’ll find that good writing is really a piece of cake.