This past weekend my husband and I threw a trick-or-treat carnival birthday party for my youngest daughter. The kids wore costumes and went from game to game earning prizes which they placed in their goodie bags. It was tons of fun! But the Pièce de résistance was the 6 layer, 3 tiered cake I made for the occasion.
It's cool, right? Not bad for my first attempt at a fondant covered tiered cake.
Take a second look.
Yep. It's leaning.
Soooooo, I kinda learned a lot from this cake.
* Make sure you have a strong foundation or it will get crushed by the weight of the cakes on top. Lucky for me, my foundation didn't get smooshed. So, maybe I did do something right?
* Don't put too much filling between the layers. I know, I like filling, too. Especially the creamy, fudgy filling I used on the vanilla cake top layer. Oh but that oreo creme filling was super yummy sandwiched between dark chocolate cake. As good as the filling is, trust me. You don't need it. It's just an invitation for a replica of The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
* Don't skip steps - especially ones that strenghten the cake. Honestly, I really wished I would have followed the directions. Let's just say, I didn't use any dowel rods for the layers...I figured, why should I bother? I'm not transporting the cake. Plus it will only be assembled for 2 hours. What could happen in 2 hours? Well, needless to say, I found out.
These lessons can be applied to writing, too.
* Every story needs a strong foundation. Make the plot great, develop your characters, make the setting clear and you're off to a great start!
* Too many unneccessary details can crowd the story. Tempted to describe each petal on each flower in the vase on the counter in the kitchen where there are three large windows covered in fingerprints and smudgemarks? Stop! We don't need all the filling! While you may not end up with sliding layers, it will definately have an impact on the pace.
* Don't skip steps! Insert those dowel rods of outlining, plotting and character charts. Follow the directions (which means following the writing rules - most of the time :D ). It's important to make each layer - each plot and sub plot, each development, each conflict - strong on its own, so when its stacked against the others it can hold up by itself.
If you follow those simple steps, you should have great success in writing your manuscript.
Today I start work on another cake. This one's for a Halloween party on Saturday. I can't begin to tell you how nervous I am though. But I'm excited to apply what I've learned. Hopefully this time it won't lean!
Since NaNo is just around the corner, I'm looking forward to applying these same tips to my "unoffical" entry.