Short Order Writing

cooking and writing

There are times when I feel like the only short order cook in this café during rush hour. To explain. I have written stories for about fifteen years and now have  many first drafts… or as Ann Lamont calls them, ‘shitty first drafts’. They will not see the light of day until cleaned up. Well, a few have made the daylight. Vows of Revenge. Threatened Loyalties and soon Red Fury Revolt plus their companion stories have or will make the readers menu. But Blackberry Jam, Sweet Perfection, Pompeii’s Plague, Shadows in the Mist, which is three books, and my other  drafts in my Agricola series are chillin’. What this means is I have plenty to keep me cooking stories for a very long time.

Then a scene comes along  in Blackberry Jam where the minor character Carrie, a new widow, and John,a widower, meet in a snowstorm, and she has to get inside his 18 wheeler to keep from being frozen to death. So my ingredients for a mature contemporary romance was born. I tell Spike, a truck driver like John, about my idea, and Spike puts the meat to their story. Now I have to create this recipe, or, write it in other words. Kinda like filling an order at the restaurant.


So I am writing 18 Wheeler. And in doing so, I meet another minor character Liz who gets John into trouble with Carrie. Now I have a contemporary romance with Liz who drives a pink truck with lots of chrome. So I say to myself. NO. Don’t think about Liz . You don’t have time. You have all these other orders to finish first. But a lot of good that does. During the quiet time of night my curiosity peeks and I want to know who Liz meets. And her hero Dane appears,, dimples and all,with as much sass as Liz will ever have. Oh dear. More trouble.

So, with the help of Spike’s mother, an avid reader, comes the ingredients to Chantilly Pink. And that turns into another story with Em, Carrie’s daughter. And that makes me think of a rodeo trucking story. Low and behold, I now have the menu for a trucker series. But wait…what about that other story idea of a prostitute and an Afghan vet. Oh and don’t forget the Missouri mule story set during WWI that is already written longhand. What about them????


The orders just keep comin’ in.  I’m flipping ideas, churning stories out on my computer left and right like smoothies in a blender, hoping that none of them burn on the back burner. However like Dean Koontz’s, Odd Thomas who loves being a short order cook, this is why I love writing. There’s just too much magic.  I just need to type faster. arrrrghhhh!!!!

As a writer, do you sometimes feel like a short order cook?  I would like to know I’m not alone. in this madness.

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