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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Following Directions

For Christmas I got a mini pie maker as part of a group gift exchange. I thought it was a great gift as I love the cute mini pies you can get at bakeries that look so yummy and perfect. I'm a good cook but desert making has not been my forte. I used to make candies and truffles that were loved by those who received them, but pies and cakes need to look just so and mine didn't.

The picture on the box and the instructions made it look so easy, but the results didn't look like the pictures as you can see. Part of the problem is that I didn't really follow the instructions. My husband had to remind me that the crust needed to be chilled before putting in the pie maker. I also didn't notice that the crust cutter had 2 different sizes - one for the top crust and one for the bottom. The recipes called for putting in a specific amount of filling, but I just eyeballed it and hoped it wasn't overfilled.

The results of my first two pie making adventures are as you can see.The first ones had a top that perched over the lower crust more like a hat than a cover. The second ones set better in place but they look more like two bowls put together. Neither batch have that picture perfect look - so I will keep trying.

What does this all have to do with writing you may wonder unless I am producing a cookbook? It has a lot to do with writing. As an example... this month I entered a fiction contest that is put on yearly by Highlights Magazine for children. The contest had specific instructions to be used. The "recipe" included reading several issues to see what "filllings" or stories that would work for their magazine. It had specific guidelines for "amounts" of words that you couldn't go over. Lastly it had a specific "time" frame that it needed to be sent in to be considered.

I followed their instructions exactly only now I will have to wait until my "pie" or story is reviewed. It still may not be the perfect story, but writing, like baking, takes practice until you get it right. We can't all be master bakers but every once in a while it comes out just right so we keep on trying. So keep on writing and reading submission guidelines to get the best results!