We have a new restaurant in our town. A sushi restaurant. This is a big deal. Why? Because our little mountain town has its share of fast food and Mexican restaurants, but nothing so exotic as sushi. I love to go in to watch the sushi chef craft his amazing rolls.
It's kind of like arts and crafts. Take a sheet of nori and spread it with sticky rice. Add ingredients selected from the dizzying array on the list. Then it gets rolled and cut into adorable little chunks.
Watching the rolls take shape got me thinking the other day. A novel is kind of like a sushi roll.
Think about it. Like sushi, all the ingredients of a novel: dialogue, character, setting, mood, etc. should be fresh and colorful and unique. Would a monochrome sushi roll look appetizing? Would you care for seconds if all the flavors were exactly the same? What makes sushi so popular is the combination of flavors and textures and colors all in one bite.
Alone, just avocado or nori or rice wouldn't be satisfying. Likewise, sparkling dialogue or an imaginative setting alone will not carry a novel. Writers need to polish every aspect of their craft and not rely only on the areas of their strengths. You may have dreamed up a great character, but without the rest of the picture, he'll stand alone.
A lump of rice is not sushi.
Find out more about your strengths and weaknesses with these posts:
Romance University: Discover the genius in your writing
Michael Hyatt: Do you know what you are especially good at? and Why you should understand your weaknesses.
My strengths lie in characterization and mood. However, dialogue and setting are more challenging for me. How about you? What have you discovered about yourself in your writing journey?