Writing a story is very much like cooking creatively. I like taking chicken, fish or a roast and coming up with a tasty meal--you know the kind of meal. The ones where the aromas not only tantalize the senses but stirs up the taste buds and sets your tummy humming in anticipation. By the time the veggie dishes are plated artistically with the main entree and placed in front of the hungry diners, the cook whispers that silent prayer to the Kitchen God that the meal tastes as good as it looks.
It's the same with a good story. Reading the cover blurp may entice the readers to sample a few beginning pages. And, if those first two pages don't grab you by the throat, then the writer has lost that initial momentum; that initial advantage of luring readers into his story--early.
Canadian crime-writer and Red Room author, Grant McKenzie has created a throat-grabber with his recent release of "Angel With a Bullet." In a special arrangement with the publishers of Victoria's "Monday Magazine" and "Midnight Ink," Grant was able to print a 4-part series of the first chapter. Writing under the pen-name of M.C. Grant, the story is told in the first-person voice of a female journalist named Dixie. Judging from the excerpts, I immediately liked this ambitious, feisty and funny reporter who counted ex-boyfriends in lieu of sheep on those hard-to-fall-asleep nights and would, no doubt, end up investigating her ex-lover's messy murder, staged like an apparent suicide. I'm rushing out to get my copy.
James Rollins' latest release, "Blood Line," is another thriller that captures your attention from the first sentence: "They once called her a witch and a whore." Of course you had to read more and since it was frowned upon to read the entire book in my favourite bookstore, I succumbed and bought it.
James Patterson and Howard Roughan's "Don't Blink" hooks you with a delicious description of Manhatten's Upper Eastside "Lombardo's Steakhouse" and reels you in after page one because you know something terrible is about to happen. And, your killer instincts are right.
Writers not only have to reel in their readers, but once the readers are hooked, keep them anxiously turning the pages. That's what great writers do. Giving readers that extra and sometimes, not what they expect. I like the unexpected, that special twist. Like a creative cook who can toss together crimini mushrooms, beef chunks, fresh oysters, herbs and seasonings, chopped veggies, all simmered together with a bottle of dark ale to make this hearty stew or pie filling, for those cold nights that needs a cozy fire in the hearth. I didn't know combining beef and oysters could taste so good!
Books that hold you enthralled, captures you with words and magical meals bringing together good company, all have one common ingredient--imaginative people making it a reality. I salute all creative writers, artists and cooks--you all deserve that celebratory glass of champagne for producing your "masterpieces."