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Friday, September 9, 2011

The 10 Minute Guide to Writing a Successful Novel

Homemade salsa anyone? Are six Habanero's hot spicy enough for you? If so, then read on for a recipe guaranteed to put a little spice in your life.
When Route 19 writers decided this month's topic would be "spice it up," I immediately began to think of a way to tie in my family's spicy salsa recipe with writing. Read on to see what I mean.

One of these days, we may find that someone has come up with a new writing gimmick. If history is any predictor of future events, it may sound something like this...    
The 10 Minute Guide to Writing a Successful Novel
Sounds great. Doesn't it? Perhaps I'll try to market that idea. I'd be willing to bet someone out there would be naïve enough to buy it.
Why do I say that? Pick up any newspaper. Watch the television for any length of time. It seems there's always somebody telling us there's a better way of doing things, a shorter way, a quicker way.
A few shots of Botox and you'll look ten years younger.
A quick lift and tuck to take away the wrinkles.
Staple that stomach and you'll lose a lifetime worth of weight.
Ten minutes a day on this exercise machine and you'll be in the best shape of your life.
Take this pill and you'll live to be 100.
Take this vitamin and you'll never be sick.
And how about all those convenient prepackaged foods that will be ready to eat in an instant?
The list is endless.
But a serious writer will tell you…The 10 Minute Guide to Writing a Successful Novel won't be published anytime soon because there are no shortcuts when it comes to writing successfully. A true advertisement for rewarding and productive writing might read something like this...
10 Drafts to the Perfect Novel.
First draft, to better learn your story.
Second draft, to better learn your characters.
Third draft, to better work through your plot structure.
Fourth draft, to tie in all of your subplots.
Fifth draft, to line edit your work for grammar and spelling mistakes.
Sixth draft, to repeat as necessary steps one through five before sending your work to the editor or agent of your choice.
(After crossing your fingers and finally having your novel accepted for publication...)
Seventh draft, to make any requested revisions.
Eighth draft, another redo because he or she was not completely satisfied with the changes you had already made.
Ninth draft, another check before your story is sent to the print editor.
Tenth draft, ... (Maybe, if you're lucky, there won't be a tenth draft.)
Okay, you've made it this far. And as promised, the traditional, spicy recipe for homemade salsa will follow. It takes a little work to prepare, but once you've tried it, if you're anything like me, you will never again want to eat any mass-produced version. You know the ones I'm talking about, the one you can get after a ten minute drive to the store, the ones that promise great homemade taste with just a twist of the lid.
Learn from history. It won't happen. Processed food will never taste as good as home made. Quick fix gimmicks don't work. Maybe,  just maybe, people will someday learn there are no shortcuts to success.
Enjoy the salsa...
16 pounds of tomatoes or 24 cups
10 to 12 large onions or 18 cups
6 finely diced Habanero peppers, seeds included
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons honey or sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
4 cups bell peppers, chopped
Combine all ingredients in a large kettle. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. With slotted spoon, put salsa into sterilized jars. Seal and the process in hot water bath 35 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts. (Of course, you can reduce or increase the recipe as desired and reduce or increase the amount of spicy hot peppers to suit your taste. If canning isn't your thing, simply make a smaller batch and remember to eat it quickly so it doesn't spoil... Which I'm sure will not be a problem.)

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