A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Variety is The Spice of Life

By Sandy Parks

How many times have you heard a new author say they were afraid to share their idea because someone might write the same story? If you’ve been a writer for long, my guess is it has been a frequent occurrence, and you may even have had those doubts yourself when you first started writing. But each person comes from a different background, with varying experiences, and cultural differences. Alas, the saying "variety is the spice of life."

Building on the word “spice,” I can’t help but relate this thought to food. I noticed on a recent trip that no matter what basic ingredients are given to cooks in various states or countries, they come up with unique dishes and methods of cooking the same food.

South African meat stews
As writers we serve up our story themes and ideas in much the same way. Some prefer to cook their meat in pots to create savory stew, throwing everything together and letting it boil until tender.
Moroccan lamb cooked on open fire
An outdoor lover might choose to barbecue their lamb on a tree limb spit over an open campfire with only rancid butter rubbed onto the meat. 
Greek kabobs
A bit more easy-going type might go the simpler route and grill it on skewers. 
Lamb in lemon sauce
Another might choose a classier method and bake their lamb in lemon until it falls apart. 
Goat in Red Sauce (island of Eos)
An adventurer might try something unique like goat with red sauce.
Pita kabobs (Greek)
An on the go type, might simply wrap their meat in a pita and paper. 
South Africa
Would your characters eat their fish whole or filleted without head and tail?
Seaside gumbo near Athens
 When serving up shrimp gumbo, will the shrimp still be whole (with exoskeleton) or already cleaned?

Yogurt Greens- Turkey

Greek Salad

Are your greens cooked in savory yogurt, sautéed in oils, or served fresh like in a Greek salad?

Can you see how the same story idea can be cooked up in many different ways? And the variations don't end there. After being cooked, spices are added depending upon regions, and that gives the story even more character. So next time you sit down to eat, think about how you spice up your characters, settings, and storyline. My characters in the Hawker Incorporated Series travel around the world so keep in touch with them and see what interesting dishes they discover.


Sharon Calvin said...

I love lamb and now I'm hungry. This makes my oatmeal breakfast look really bland.

Thanks Sandy, now I have to think about the kinds of foods my hero and heroine like--something I've never given much thought to!

jean harrington said...

A virtually endless variety, Sandy, like cookies in the supermarket or books on a library shelf. My current heroine likes soul food--no fresh greens, no salads. I'm trying to convince her to try a lettuce and tomato combo--so far, she's not convinced. I'll keep working on it.

Anne Marie Becker said...

Oh man, now I'm so hungry! LOL I love this analogy, Sandy. And it's so true. Writers can be given the same prompt or premise and develop it in so many different ways.

Cathy Perkins said...

Oh, as if my current characters - a chef and a winemaker - weren't enough to keep me hungry!

Food aside, who was it that said, there are only X story lines? The rest is in the details. So true!

Julie Moffett said...

OMG! I'm starving now!! Yum!! Great post!!

Clare London said...

What a great approach to plotting :). And yes, I'm hungry now LOL

Rita said...

SANDY! What a great post. Thanks for making everyone who stopped by hungry.

Sandy Parks said...

Thanks Rita, Jean, Julie, Clare, Sharon, Cathy and Anee Marie for stopping in. I was hungry when considering a topic for the blog and look what happened. : ) So few true story lines, but oh so many possibilities to develop them.

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