On my journey into a frightening, cluttered cabinet in the kitchen, I came across an old recipe book from my childhood called,Southern Cookbook *250 Fine Old Recipes*. It is filled with pages and pages of deliciousness that would make a Weight Watcher’s coach keel over in shock.
The recipe that caught my eye was for Kentucky Burgoo. It’s a special stew that is traditionally served on the day of the Kentucky Derby. Burgoo is the quintessential definition of excess. (Recipe to follow – brace yourself.)
In a non sequitur way, my writing brain shifted to a first draft where excess rules supreme.
(This is the portion of the post where plotters wring their hands and gnash their teeth, while pantsers dance naked in the forest.)
Where else in our writing process can we toss everything lying around the corners of our brain into the story? The first draft is the “try anything” canvas. We jump from the high dive. The “editor has left the room sign” should be blinking when we pour out our heart and soul into the birth of our manuscript. We should break out into the song “Anything Goes.”
FIRST DRAFT RECIPE
Sprinkle in similes
Mess with metaphors
Align audacious alliteration
Electrify your eloquence
Scintillate the story stakes
Offer up onomatopoeia
Mesmerize your MC
Quantify your quest
Hold nothing back and fall in love with your story.
There is plenty of time – and necessity - in the revision process for trimming, slashing, rethinking, changing, changing, and changing again.
My wish for you is to taste that wild abandon where you plunge into the garden of excess, writing on the white hot wave of inspiration during your glorious first draft.
Historically served to huge crowds at political rallies, horse sales, and other outdoor events. (Hmmm – maybe an idea for the SCBWI LA Conference gala?)
600 lbs. lean soup meat (no fat, no bones)
200 lbs. fat hens
2000 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced
200 lbs. onions
5 bushels of cabbage, chopped
60 10lb. cans of tomatoes
24 10lb. cans puree of tomatoes
24 10lb. cans of carrots
18 10lb. cans of corn
Red pepper and salt to taste (are you laughing yet?)
Season with Worcestershire, Tabasco, or steak sauce
Mix the ingredients, a little at a time, and cook outdoors in huge iron kettles over wood fires from 15 to 20 hours. Use squirrels in season…one dozen squirrels to each 100 gallons. (I did not make up the squirrel part. Who knew there was an actual squirrel season?)
And THAT, my friends, is excess. Happy first drafting.