Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How KK’s Weird Breakfast Choices Can Help Your Writing

What is this, you ask? Has KK lost her mind? Has she decided she should run a food blog even though she can’t follow recipes to save her life?

Also—wtf is that picture?

Well, I’ll tell you. That picture is French toast with real, organic butter, organic maple syrup, a banana, and some shredded cheese.

If you’re like most people, you were hanging along okay until I got to the cheese. At the cheese, you probably went… Okay…why cheese?

Trust me. It’s really good.

When I was a kid, I lived near Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. There was a restaurant in Champaign that served French toast with bananas and cheese. (They also topped it with whipped cream, but I always thought that was overkill.) They called it a Cinderella, and it was fabulous.

Here’s another food story. We used to drive down to Olney a lot to visit my cousins. When we spent the night, they would make pancakes and put peanut butter on them. (And syrup. The “overkill” ingredient is vital for this one.) I thought it was weird at first, but when I tried it, I got hooked. Pancakes with peanut butter is awesome.

What’s the point? I think it’s something like this: if you’re writing a story or a book or a poem, you often find yourself moving down tried and true paths. You’re okay with the French toast with butter and syrup. Banana? That’s fine—fruit’s a traditional accompaniment for French toast. But cheese? With the banana and the syrup (and whipped cream if you’re a purist)? That’s just weird!

And then you taste it. And it’s fabulous.

So what’s the cheese you can toss onto your French toast book? Or the peanut butter for your traditional novel pancake? Is it a super quirky character you don’t think would ever work? A romance hero who doesn’t like to be touched? A powerful warrior with claustrophobia? Play with ideas. Eventually you’ll hit on something that sounds like it would never work but which, in practice, works perfectly.