How To Bake A Novel – a recipe of words

I got to thinking recently that writing a novel is a lot like cooking, so I thought I’d create a little recipe for all those writers out there…


How To Bake A Novel:

Preparation time: Varies, from months to years.

Serves: Potentially millions (if you’re lucky)



  • One working computer, word processor, or large notepad and pen
  • One committed writer
  • *optional but highly recommended: truckloads of beverages and snacks



  • One main plot
  • A handful of sub-plots
  • One to a few main characters
  • Several minor characters
  • At least one setting, add more to taste
  • One large cup of emotion
  • A splash of humour
  • A teaspoon of mystery (or more depending on genre of the recipe, er… novel)
  • One or two cups of cold-pressed extra virgin (or not) organic dialogue
  • One or two goals
  • One heaped tablespoon of motivation
  • Two cups of conflict
  • One cup of resolution mixed with a happy ending (depending on genre)
  • A sprinkling of hooks and cliffhangers
  • *optional but highly recommended: a twist of sexual tension and a dollop of romance



1. Prepare by opening a new word document or a new page on your notepad, and give it a title, eg: ‘Best Novel Ever’, or ‘I’ll Think Of A Title Later’.

2. Write the opening sentence, or the last sentence, or any words you can think of so you can officially say, “I’ve started writing my novel.”

3. Consume beverages and snacks.

4. Introduce one main character, a goal, and splash in some conflict (save the rest for later).

5. Sprinkle a hook or cliffhanger at the end of chapter one to entice further devouring of the story.

6. Add some of the other characters and sub-plots, and stir in some emotion and mystery.

7. Consume more beverages and snacks.

8. Splash in some humour and keep drizzling in the organic dialogue throughout the whole baking/writing process.

9. Combine the motivation with some more of the conflict for a spicy mixture.

10. If adding the optional ingredient of sexual tension, squeeze a little in now.

11. Continue stirring the plot and the sub-plots together so they combine well, making sure to keep topping up the emotion.

12. Consume beverages and snacks.

13. Add in the remaining conflict, sexual tension, mystery, and hooks.

14. Finish by placing the cup of resolution and happy endings on top, and decorate with a dollop of romance.

15. Bake in a closed drawer or backed-up file on your computer, and leave completely alone for at least a couple of weeks, or more if you’ve forgotten to attend to necessary tasks such as showering, cleaning, feeding the family and pets, seeing real live people, checking the mail…etc.

16. Open the file and give it a taste test. Read through it and make any obvious changes and improvements, adding more of the ingredients as needed.

17. For best results, get a trusted friend to taste test it too.

18. Make further improvements.

19. Bake it for a little longer if necessary.

20. Pull bits of it apart and throw them out. But just in case, wrap them up and store them safely away for future reference.

21. Remove the excess words and overused ingredients.

22. Repeat steps 11 and 13.

23. Add extra sweetness to the dollop of romance if required.

24. Decorate and plate-up the finished piece with all the pizazz you can find.

25. Hand it over to a professional, who’ll probably get you to start over at step 20 again.

26. Repeat steps until it tastes just right, or a deadline forces you to serve it up.

27. Consume beverages and snacks to reward yourself for all the hard work.

28. Attend to the necessary tasks that you’ve once again neglected.

29. Smile politely at people who say, “The novel was great, I read it in one day. Hurry up and write the next one!”

30. Begin at step 1 all over again.


*Note: Results may vary between people. Recipe not suitable for freezing.

Thanks for reading! And remember, all comments left on blog posts during May will go into the draw for some tasty prizes! Click on the ‘mouthwatering may’ tag below to see all may blog posts, or click on the category on the right side menu. Also, make sure you subscribe to the blog to be eligible 😉

About Juliet Madison

Humorous & Heartwarming Fiction ~ Experience the magic of life and love...

Posted on May 7, 2012, in General, Mouthwatering May, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Excellent piece. Glad you included the reference to all the things left undone while we write. 🙂

  2. Love the recipe so much. Actually, I’m only a reader for years but somehow I’ve wanted to write something. But, I always got stuck at the beginning like I often blurb everything or give too much details. I’m sure I’ll try yours. I think I’ll start short story first.

    • Go for it, Juliana! Starting with a short story can be a good way to get into it. And find books you like to read and see how the author has done it and use that for inspiration. Keep at it!

  3. Bit complicated this recipe! Makes you wonder why we just don’t go out and buy one already made from the store…

  4. Why do we put ourselves through this?

  5. LOL, that was so funny… yet strangely accurate!

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