I baked a batch of cookies tonight. They are for a Fourth of July gathering this weekend, but also to take to my day job tomorrow. These cookies are pretty labor intensive. You don’t just toss a bunch of ingredients into a mixing bowl and then throw the dough on the sheet for ten minutes and you’re done.
Nope, there are stages and steps. First you have to combine the sugar and butter to make it all nice and fluffy before you add the egg and vanilla. Then you combine dry ingredients, mix those up and then stir them into your fluffy stuff. Yes, I said fluffy stuff. Baking is serious business ok? Stay with me. Now you add the milk chocolate chips. They must be milk chocolate, never ever semi-sweet. Because that would be a gross waste of a good cookie.
Now you let this whole batch of dough sit in the fridge for several hours, or ideally overnight. Then… wait what? Not ready to bake yet? For the sake of all that is good and sugary please tell me we can have a cookie now? NO. Now, we roll the cold dough into little balls. Once you have a few hundred little balls you put them back into the fridge for an hour to re-chill.
Now, you can start dusting each ball of dough in powdered sugar and then put it on the baking sheet.
You know what? You still don’t know how to make those cookies do you? However, you probably know why I don’t bake them very often. They are a pain in the ass. Though well worth the effort. I freely admit, everyone loves these cookies.
Why am I even mentioning this? The process of writing a story is a lot like baking these cookies. There is the recipe, which is like when you get your idea and start outlining, or writing down notes. Then you get to your first draft, you’ve made your fluffy bit with the butter and sugar, maybe added the egg and vanilla too. Then you start revisions, edits, critiques, that is when you’re sticking the dough in the fridge and rolling into little balls and covering it in powdered sugar. Then finally somewhere along the line you realize it’s really done and you get to take the story out of the oven and eat it.
It could be that this is an awesome analogy, and the very best idea I’ve EVER had. Or, alternatively I shouldn’t bake at two am. It's what came into my head after I finished baking tonight. I'm going to bed.