Today's Recipe for Writing:
Krispies Marshmallow Squares a.k.a. Rice Krispies Treats. (I would add another "s" to Krispies, but there's that damn copyright thing!)
Why make this? Because it's comfort food and comfort food is diverting and fun. The writing equivalent of comfort food is the comfort book, also called the easy read--great for beaches, lakes, ski lodges, hammocks, fireplaces, air or train travel, ends of long and hard days--basically anytime people need something diverting and/or fun. Why write this? For money, of course, idiot!
But there's lots of comfort foods. Why Krispies? Because they take no time to prepare, go down easily, have little substantial nutritional value and are portable. Like comfort books--no time to write, easy on the eyes and brain, have little lasting literary value and are portable. And both impart just the right amount of delicious guilt after being over-consumed, which they always are.
Yeah, but peanuts and potato chips take zero preparation, have little or no nutritional value, are portable and lead to over-indulgence and guilt. True, but preparing food--even simple fool-proof food--takes work (ever try to tear open a package of marshmallows?) and shows love and dedication, things that even faux cooks like to brag about. Writers--even faux writers--also want to brag about the work they've put in (even try to tear open a printer cartridge bag?), their love of calling and their dedication to craft.
Also, with peanuts and potato chips the most you can hope for is "crunch." But Krispies? Krispies give you, at the very minimum, snap, crackle and pop. For writers snap, crackle and pop are fantastic active words that leap off the page. Snap, crackle and pop are words that show rather than tell (all pause here to genuflect before one of the holy icons of the literary faith). Even when everthing else in the book is soggy, these small, simple words keep shouting and carry the day.
Now that you've got the basic idea, you're ready. Here's the official Krispies recipe, modified for writers.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes (Varies from less than a minute to 24 hours)
Total Time: 30 minutes (See above)
Servings: 12 (God, I hope not unless you're planning on using the royalty checks to fund a starvation diet. If you only get 12 servings you're doing something very wrong!)
3 tablespoons butter or margarine (A dollop of plot.)
1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows (Characters having no substance along with assorted fluff in the form of overblown or vapid description.)
- or -
4 cups miniature marshmallows (Even less character substance and more fluff.)
6 cups Rice Krispies® (Snap, crackle, pop and whatever other words you want to add that don't exceed two syllables. For example: rip,ravish, kill, club, stab, pummel--for advanced readers--kiss, fondle, arouse, run, seduce, trick, scream, blackmail, google, twitter . . .)
1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. (Make sure you spread your plot so it coats the entire book. Add the characters and fluff and stir until no longer ultra-gooey, although tacky is acceptible.)
2. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated. (Tip: use "the," "and," "he," "she," "a" and "an" and a lot of "said" as convenient binders)
3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day. (Lay the mixture on thick into a book, prepped so that nothing sticks with the reader, and cut into small and digestible chapters. Best if consumed within a day)
That's it! Pretty simply, huh? And consistent. People want comfort food and comfort books to be consistent. However, that doesn't mean you can't add a few of your own ingredients to give that special touch.Crushed cookies, bananas, decorative candy, sizzling sex, gratuitous violence, a detonated nuclear device. This is especially true when you consider the preferences of your eaters/readers (writers call this "genre.") Just don't overdo it.
People generally don't take Julia Childs to the swimming pool.