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How to make a plot. Also, a sandwich.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Someone asked how I come up with a plot.

I'm not a gal who does a ton of outlining and notecarding, though I do envy those pulled-together freaks. Their bathrooms are probably also spotless. I'm more of a figure it out as you go person. I have a general idea of what I would like to happen, but that's about it.

The rest, I told my lunchmate, is like making a sandwich. A five dolla foot long, if you will. Or perhaps a tasty panini. Or a breakfast bagel. Sandwich category is a deeply personal choice every sandwich artist has to make for herself.

First, you have bread. Yum, bread!

Maybe you're in the mood for turkey. Nice, meaty, light. Oh, but cheese. Cheese, of course, needs to go on the bottom or else nothing will make sense.

But wouldn't it be even better if a little condiment came before the cheese? To soften the bread? A smattering of honey mustard, let's say. But honey mustard is predictable. Everyone's been doing honey mustard this year. Come on, you can do better than honey mustard.

Then it hits you.


So now you've got your bread, and your genius, industry-jarring HORSERADISH, and your cheese. But you can't just go straight to the turkey and finish the thing. Your sandwich will be thin, underwhelming, unsatisfying.

You need a twist, something to really grab the taste buds. You need... BACON. It's salty, it's crunchy, it turns the whole flavor profile of the sandwich on his head. It makes you fat, yes, but this is about the journey.

You add the bacon and you are renewed in spirit. This book, I MEAN SANDWICH, is really coming together.

Your excitement and tension builds. You roll the turkey into neatly portioned pieces, leaving no holes on your bread.

Now you just need a topping. Lettuce could work, but it's not really your thing and you have to stay true to yourself, or else, WHAT IS THIS SANDWICH EVEN FOR? You agonize over it, all the while the condiment soaks into the bread and gives you anxiety. This is going on too long.

Your friends all roll their eyes, like, "I'm bouncing to Chipotle. Peace." They're gone.

Friendless, you consider throwing the entire sammy in the trash and becoming a vegetarian. But at the crucial moment, the sandwich muse smiles down and graces you with your answer.

AVOCADO. It ties everything together. Why didn't you think of this before?

It clicks in no time at all. You slice that shit up, lay it on your turkey and close the sandwich with a satisfying top layer of bread.

You cry and laud your culinary genius, the sheer perfection of your hard-fought product. You bite into it, tears enmeshing with the whole wheat. It's... it's...

Hmm. Kind of weird, actually.

Not bad, but... needs work. Some oil and vinegar, maybe? Or maybe that horseradish is too tart. There's a reason everyone uses honey mustard. It's delicious.

So you tweak it again, and again, and again. And one day, friends, you have the perfect sandwich worth every ounce of sweat, oven toasting, veggie chopping, pepper shaking effort you expended. You've done it. You've made a whole sandwich, and of that you can be proud. Even if no one else likes it.


The moral of this story is, I could really go for a sandwich right now.

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