Let the book write you - Astor Y Teller

21 May 2024

Imagine that you have a perfect recipe for a stew and all you have to do is to make it. And as you start collecting the ingredients, the main part of the stew pops its head up from a hole in the ground in the form of a furry critter which will for culinary reasons be called Curry Fritter.

You grab Curry Fritter by the ears and put it next to the rest of the ingredients, and Curry Fritter, being of a helpful disposition, starts to hack and grate and mash the different ingredients that are going into the cauldron (it is going to be a great dish so a simple pot is not enough).

You direct it as best you can, simultaneously perusing the recipe, making sure the ingredients are thrown into the cauldron in the right order, right amount and right-sized chunks, but the furry critter isn’t too bothered about any of those parts, so eventually you take over and let Curry Fritter stir the stew.

Curry Fritter enjoys the stirring, squealing in delight when it bubbles and froths like it’s supposed to. But this is serious work, so as soon as you have put all the ingredients into the cauldron in the right order and with the right amount and in the right size, you take over the stirring, preparing to put the final furry ingredient into the cauldron. 

Curry Fritter doesn’t suspect anything.

And to make sure Curry Fritter hangs around, now that it isn’t stirring the pot or adding more ingredients into it, you hand him the recipe as a diversion.

That diversion doesn’t live long. Curry Fritter looks at the recipe for a split second before it throws it into the cauldron, putting the whole stew into jeopardy as you haven’t got to the finish yet.

You quickly lean over the cauldron to snatch the recipe before it hits the stew, but then Curry Fritter gives you a nudge and a shove. Before you know it you are a part of the stew, being stirred around by Curry Fritter who dumps the rest of the ingredients into the cauldron, stirring so hard that you are sucked down into a vortex.

You grab the ladle, but Curry Fritter shakes its head and tells you to go with the flow, promising if you do so, dinner will be served in time, the guests will be more than satisfied and you won’t be missed for a second.

That is how I ended up writing my humorous sword and sorcery series. Curry Fritter did the stirring while my task was to document eddies and flow. I felt more like a witness than an author, writing 10-15 hours a day until a book decided it was done.

You don’t believe me? 

I didn’t either, until I did it. And I still find it hard to believe that I write things I don’t understand which makes sense fifty pages later, but now I’m fairly used to it so I go with the flow.

In my defence I used the better part of my Master of Fine Art to find this method, as my professors didn’t like my art, but they were intrigued by my stories behind the artworks. So my arts and crafts master ended up in storytelling, which, if you ask me, is one the most important crafts as it is used to  knit societies and humans and furry critters together.

I still do self-editing and revision (before handing my books over to my trusted editors), but there isn’t so much fuss and fixing of the first draft as in the bad old days.

You can read the sample of my book to go with the flow, and if you like it, you can read the rest and if you still like the story, you can ask me how I did it, and then I will tell you.

No, I won’t tell you.

Curry Fritter will tell you. And I will write it down and mail it to you, as I’m Curry’s secretary now, which works much better (as Curry is illiterate and always on his way to stir up the next story).

Any last questions?

Yes, you in the back there.

Good question. Did everyone hear that?

No? Then let me repeat it: Why use the name Curry Fritter? 

Because when you meet something much greater than yourself, you try to frame and contain it in a word or a name, and making it into a joke is the best way to deal with it. Name your fear and it will lessen and then you hug it and it will become your strength.

Curry Fritter told me that. 

As every trickster in every pantheon will tell you too.

If there is a next time I’ll tell you how to get your trickster stirring.