Writing a fictional book is a lot like baking

How, you ask?

Let me explain: There is a big difference between cooking a regular meal and baking, (of course, you might say), but what I’m getting at, is that baking is a lot more technical, then other types of cooking.

Top chefs (or even amateur chefs) very rarely bother with exact measurements for ingredients when cooking, because they don’t need to. They use their gut feeling to know exactly how much of spice A and spice B is needed, which is a big joyful part of cooking. Baking on the other hand; needs to be done exactly as the recipe states, otherwise things will most likely go wrong. So very wrong.

I’m currently working on my first draft of “Al Alem – Resurrection”, and in many ways I compare it with a piece of dough. When the first draft is done, I will have exactly that; some dough, and not much more.

At that point I can only hope that the plot, characters and setting are working well enough (that I followed and respected the recipe), so I can take this piece of dough and create something even Martha Stewart would be impressed by.

The basic structure found in Aristotle’s Poetics, have set the rules for creating stories (what we today refer to as the three-act structure). It is so deeply wired in our brains at this stage, that if breaking those rules, something in our gut will feel wrong. It is often when these rules are broken, that you feel unsatisfied after watching a movie, or reading a book. It just didn’t feel right.

Writing a book is very technical deed, if the goal is to get published and appeal to the masses. Of course there is more experimental works of fiction out there, but like most established writers say: Learn the rules before you start breaking them.

When my little dough is finished, it will require a lot of baking before it becomes something edible. And just like the dough needs some time to rest, my novel will do just that. The most common recommendation is leaving it alone for about a month, before picking it up again. This makes a lot of sense, so you can read it with a set of fresh eyes, and discover the most apparent problems in the text, that you have missed during the madness of the first draft.

But this is where we leave the baking analogy behind, because a chef is most often a one-man-army, as being a writer needs the assistance of several people to create the best desert possible. Alpha & Beta readers, editors, proofreaders, line-editors and so on.

Next time I will talk a bit about my thoughts on the craft of writing and compare it with learning to play an instrument.

But now if you excuse me, I need to return to my dough. It ain’t going to bake itself is it? dough

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How it all started

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to create my own stories.

When I was young, I used to play with these G.I. Joe Action Force figures that I absolutely loved.

I had created a word document on my dad’s old PC, where I had listed all the figures I had. In that document I had given them new names, background information, and who was connected to who. Making them real characters. When I later had my play-sessions, it always acted out like an episode, so the next time I played, the story continued from where I had left off. I always spoke English when playing, because it didn’t sound cool speaking Swedish (you know what I’m talking about).

I was 8 years old when I watched the movie Alien for the first time and shortly after I watched Demolition Man (my mom’s friend used to record these movies from cable TV, and give me VHS tapes – she was awesome). So at that point, I had been exposed to something so much cooler than the shitty kiddies shows on TV. It wasn’t until Batman TAS I started watching cartoons again. Then came X-Men TAS Spiderman TAS, and my interest in comics was born.

The play-sessions went on for years, and sometimes I faked the death of a figure, to have him return several weeks later, surprising the other figures. Sometimes I had a figure leave the good guys and join the bad guys, and vice versa. At this point I was trying to catch the awesomeness I got from watching movies.

Unfortunately I lost all of my beloved figures when I grew up . . . So that’s why I bought them all again! 🙂

PS. I’m a grown ass man: I can play with toys how much I want.

PSS. My girlfriend thinks our future children will get to play with these. YEAH RIGHT, like I would let that happen.

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The blog is born and I introduce myself!

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Welcome you crazy people! (Let me pretend someone is actually reading this, don’t burst my bubble.)

So who the hell am I?

Well, my name is Sadir S Samir, 28 years of age and currently residing in the cold country of Sweden. By day I work as a video game producer, more specifically at Starbreeze Studios, where we made a game called PAYDAY 2. If you want to know more about the studio, you can check out this link: http://www.starbreeze.com

By night I work on my dark post-apocalyptic fantasy novel, with the working name “Al Alem – Resurrection”. I’m at 40 000 words right now, and the goal is a maximum of 120 000. If my outline holds, then I should land just below that mark. I am confident I will have my first draft complete by the end of November.

In this blog I will share my thoughts about working in the video game industry, as well as the journey of becoming an author.

I’m sure I will derail from this at times and talk about other stuff I love, like role-playing-games (tabletop and video games), comic books and movies, and so on.

Let the madness begin!