It has happened, your agent has requested a revision of your epic love story of a gerbil and a unicorn and has asked for more tension.
You decide to make a Portuguese kale soup in honor of your family who were always terribly, terribly tense.
THE PORTUGUESE KALE SOUP OF TENSION
First off, how dare your agent say your book needs more tension? The nerve! Imagine all sorts of tense situations your agent could be in. Move on. He's just trying to help. Right?
Be tense. Scrunch up your shoulders. Find a large stock pot.
Put olive oil in the pot.
Turn up the heat to medium-high.
Cackle and say, "How does that feel, little olive oil?? Does that feel tense enough for you?"
Wonder if all authors do this.
Throw the garlic, onions, turnips and carrots into the pot.
"Oh, what will this become? Will it cook? Will it burn? Will I forget to burn it?" Set a timer for 5 minutes. Do not imagine your Aunt Rose Marie leaning over your shoulder whispering, "Just have some wine and stir. It will be fine, little writer. It will be fine."
Throw in the kale, fake chorizo, bay leaves, parsley and thyme and mix well.
Imagine your Aunt Rose Marie gasping and grabbing your tense, scrunched up shoulders and shouting, "VEGAN CHORIZO! WHO ARE YOU?"
Add the vegetable stock, the beans and the tomatoes.
Realize that your Aunt Rose Mary in ghost or imaginary form is not going to approve of the vegetable stock. Try not to care.
Tell her, "Wait until you taste it. That suspense will increase the tension."
Listen to her harrumph while you bring the soup to boiling.
Once it's boiling, turn the heat down to low.
Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes and simultaneously simmer the soup. Google "HOW TO BUILD IN TENSION IN A LOVE STORY ABOUT A GERBIL AND A UNICORN.
Realize those search terms are a bit too specific.
Give up and get a medium saucepan. Put a goodly amount of salt in the water that's enough to cover the diced potatoes.
Once it boils, listen to Aunt Rose Marie approve because salted water is good water. Add the diced potatoes.
Cook them 10 minutes or until they are happy and tender.
Add potatoes to the soup.
Take out the bay leaf unless you want to add to the tension by possibly choking on it.
Remove the bay leaves and serve hot. Enjoy!
This lovely recipe reminds me of Aunt Rose Marie aka Aunt Rosie and is adapted from Sharon123 on Food. com. You can check out the link here.
Good luck with the tension in your stories and your lives!
“Your dialogue is bad.”
It’s possibly the best most comforting soup and one of the most annoying criticisms an author can hear. Combined.
I hope you like it!
Potato Cheddar Soup of Bad Dialogue
Ignore the agent's beta reader who said your dialogue was forced. HAS SHE EVER LEFT HER HOUSE? It's Covid-19 time. Everybody's dialogue is forced.
Make sure you're boiling the water in the soup pot.
Once the water is boiling (like your temper. Bad dialogue? Seriously), add potatoes, onions, salt and celery.
Put a cover on that soup pot. Put it on medium heat because if things boil over it gets messy. (This includes your temper.)
Write some dialogue. "I hate you with the passion of a thousand kitty mugs, Dirk." "And I love you, Karen, with the love of a thousand social media posts never gone viral."
Find another pot, maybe a saucepan, the kind that holds two quarts.
In that pot melt the butter. Make that a low heat. Butter burns just like criticism over dialogue.
Add in a really slow way the cheese. Add flour next.
Now slowly add the milk, spices, herbs and use a whisk.
Practice dialogue on the whisk.
"I love you with the love of a million political pundits," you tell the whisk.
"And I you," says the whisk. "Which means I love you not at all."
There! That was good, right?
When it is all blended, add the cheese to the potatoes and onions in the big pot.
Put it on super low heat for fifteen minutes. This time do not have the cover on.
Stir a lot because cheese, butter, and flour like to burn.
Go buy a book on writing effective dialogue and eat your pain away.
This is taken from my favorite vegetarian cookbook of my youth, Horn of the Moon Cookbook by Ginny Callan and it got me through many sad times. It's super comforting.