Monday, October 11, 2010

Tender, Flaky Layers

I spent most of Sunday at a friend's house learning to make croissants. We used an old recipe from Julia Childs that required a ton of butter and plenty of muscle for rolling. To be done properly, you really need more than a day. Luckily, my friend had dough already prepared at different stages for us so that we could maximize our time.

Croissants are finicky. You spend a lot of time chilling, rolling and folding the dough over the butter, working it in so that you wind up with the buttery layers that make them so distinctive. In fact, by the time you end up cutting the dough into the crescent shape, you've rolled and folded 55 layers of dough.

55.

So of course this made me think of writing. We're supposed to have many layers in our stories: tender, flaky layers that draw readers in and give our story depth. Sometimes it's hard to know if we've given the story enough chilling time, if we've stretched and folded the characters to their breaking point. But for today, I challenge you to try and discover a new layer for your story, something that will hook your reader and make the story uniquely yours. You might not end up with fifty-five layers of depth, but it might not be a bad idea to try.

23 comments:

Christine Fonseca said...

LOVE this analogy!

storyqueen said...

Kind of a hard challenge for a Monday...can't I just have a croissant instead? They sound sooo good right now.

Mike Mullin said...

Read this without my glasses and read 'Tender, Flaky Lawyers'. I was then disappointed to learn no lawyers were harmed in making your delicious croissants.

Kristan said...

Haha, great (and delicious) analogy!

And LOL to Mike's comment.

Becky Levine said...

Nice imagery. Thanks for the reminder to keep pushing! :)

Anna said...

Great analogy! As I'm revising today, I'll try to think about adding that extra layer. And I'll try not to daydream about croissants.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love this!! And I don't think I'll feel a sudden urge to make croissants any time soon. ha ha.

Carolyn V. said...

The thought of croissants just makes me so hungry! I didn't realize they have 55 layers. Wow. Great analogy!

Meg said...

Now all I'm thinking of is chocolate croissants. Yum.

Great analogy!

WindyA said...

croissants... mmmm, and I'm hungry right now too. Great way to put it. I love food analogies. Probably too much.

Especially when I'm hungry.

Quinn said...

It might not be a bad idea, but I kinda wanna go out and have a croissant now instead :)

Yat-Yee said...

Cool analogy.

Now I want buttery croissants, but both my favorite bakeries have closed shop. Sob.

taralazar said...

That's great. Now I need to eat croissants and leave buttery smudges on my manuscript. And how funny, I FINALLY watched "Julie and Julia" this weekend!

Anne R. Allen said...

What a perfect analogy to come out of Solvang. Is there something in the water that makes everybody a baker in that town? (To anybody who hasn't been there, it is heaven for foodies. And you will never find better Danish pastry, even in Denmark.)

Oh, and the writing layer thing is pretty good too.

lotusgirl said...

Nice one. So how were the homemade croissants? I've never actually gone to all that trouble. I just buy it in the frozen section. Can't do that when writing a story though. The words come out all prepackaged.

Susan R. Mills said...

Great analogy! 55 layers, though? That's a lot of layers.

Lenny Lee! said...

hi miss sherrie! you mostly made people hungry on this post. ha ha yikes! 55 flayers (thats flaky layers all in one word)ha ha. i just learned that word analogy so i can say this is a good one for writing. im revising stuff now but i don't know which layer im on. right now im gonna go with all those hungry commenters and get me a croissant with some apricot jam. yummy for sure!
...hugs from lenny

Jackee said...

A great challenge and a great analogy! :o) I can almost taste that buttery flakiness in my mouth.

I'm going to find a new layer today. I will try at least!

Krispy said...

That's a lot of depth. 55 layers?! Really?! I do love croissants though. :)

Lori W. said...

55 layers! Yipes. That's where the analogy breaks down for me (55?!!), but I'd like MORE layers in my writing for sure. :)

Mother Hen said...

I'm not sure I could write the same if I was thinking about 55 layers of butterery croissant!
Hope all is well at your end.

Laura Pauling said...

Ooh, nice challenge. Layers are good. Especially scenes that have more than one thing going on! Great analogy.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Ha! I saw your post title and immediately called out to my husband to please bring up a slice of apple pie :P

Great analogy, sweets!

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