I was going to write a post on revising manuscripts today, but instead I spent most of the morning ordering food from the menu of a local sports-themed restaurant. My daughter got a job as a waitress there and she can’t start getting paid tips until she has memorized the menu and finished the training program. The entire family has been recruited as practice customers. Thankfully, the food is pretend and so is the bill, or we’d be stuffed and broke.
There are several things she repeated so many times that I’ve memorized them, too. Some of them reminded me of writing:
1. I will never forget that my daughter’s/waitress’ name is Lisa. She greeted me with that opener for every practice meal I ordered.
Repeating the same thing can be very annoying, and most people only need to hear something once or twice to catch your meaning.
2. This restaurant is famous for its wings, and I can name all nine sauces they serve with them.
Stories should have a theme people can recognize, with scenes and events that support it.
3. When served in a glass, beer comes in short and tall sizes. I learned 8 of them, and know the price for each one. As I’ve never been a beer drinker, I doubt this will ever matter to me.
Including bits of information a reader might not know can add interest to a story or article, but too many useless facts can feel like homework.
4. Lemonade isn’t listed on the menu, but is available in several flavors for $2.29. This was important for me to know as I always ask for lemonade with a meal, except for breakfast.
Don’t assume readers know what you’re thinking. They may be able to infer things from the backstory you provide, but some elements need to be clear for the reader to fully enjoy your story.
5. Burgers don’t come with fries. You have to pay extra.
Some readers will feel cheated if a story doesn’t deliver what they expect or doesn’t tie up loose ends. They shouldn’t have to buy the second book in the sequel to feel satisfied with the first one.
I’ll share a few more tips on waitressing and writing when I finish the post on revisions. That’s taking more time than I expected due to family matters and extra reading I’ve been doing. I’m working on 2 book reviews, and trying to get in 2,000 words each day on the new novel I’m writing. That’s going very well, much to my surprise. My goal is to finish it before October, and so far I’m staying on track. Yeah, me!
What keeps you from sticking to your writing goals? What job would you want to have if you weren’t planning on being a writer? What’s the worst job you ever had, or the best? About how many words do you write on an average writing day?