Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Five-Course Writing Lesson from the Food Network

"Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably." —C.S. Lewis

What can the Food Network teach writers about writing? Like authors and their writing passions and genres, every food network star focuses on his or her expertise, appealing to their audience. Gourmet recipes stand out above the ordinary. What makes your writing bon appétit?

First Course: Know the difference between a professional chef and a novice.

Does your writing passion and mission match your writing skills? Individuals serious about cooking train as chefs at the Cordon Bleu and the Culinary Institute. Some novices who want to cook gourmet recipes watch the Food Network, but they never practice cooking or create their own recipes. Do you attend writers conferences or writing workshops or read books on how to hone your writing skills? And then practice.

Second Course: Slice and dice your target market

The Food Network defines shows appealing to every budget, age and ethnic group, taste preferences, and cooking genre. Take a look at their stars and target audiences.

Paula Deen: successful single mom, older cooks, comfort food, southern recipes

Ellie Krieger: healthy eaters and recipes

Daisy Martinez: Hispanics and Latin cuisine

Patrick and Gina Neely: African Americans, down home cooking

Emeril Lagasse: Cajun, fresh ingredients

Guy Fieri: American comfort foods

Alton Brown: Science and common sense cooking

Jamie Oliver: Young, hip, British and organic, nutritious food

Giada De Laurentiis: Italian

Rachel Ray: Harried, working women, 30-minute meals

Sandra Lee: Busy people, semi-homemade recipes

You name the food, the Food Network probably airs a show to appeal to a viewer’s taste buds. Just as every culinary style does not appeal to everyone’s tongue, your writing won’t appeal to every reader. But if you capture your writing niche and genre, your reading audience will instantly recognize that your writing gives them pleasure.

Third Course: What are your consumer’s needs and interests?

Do you know what genre within a genre your readers prefer? Are you aware of the problems your readers want your book to solve? Rachel Ray doesn’t claim to be a professional chef, but she helps busy women solve their problem, to prepare delicious food and get it on the table—fast. What problem will your book solve to add value to your reader’s lives?

Fourth Course: Appeal to senses and emotions

When Giada De Laurentiis breaks off a piece of garlic from the bulb a microphone magnifies the sound. Do your descriptions magnify sights, sounds and smells in your reader’s mind? Food close-ups make your mouth water. Do the close-ups of your character’s lives make the reader want to know more about them?

The combinations of ingredients make the reader crave the taste. Do all the elements in your book or article make your reader crave more of what you write?

Writing is a sensual experience. By drawing in all the reader’s senses, emotions, personal issues, and personal tastes, it convinces your readers that you’re a writer they want to read again and again.

Fifth Course: Create a memorable experience.

Your writing voice, expertise, passion, and writing skills reveal your personal brand. Does the drama in your book create a memorable reading experience that the reader will tell her friends about? Does the encouragement or solution your book offers translate to your readers’ lives? If so, you can satiate your readers’ appetite for good writing and reading.

No comments: