Top Tips from Dianne Jacob’s Food Writing Workshop
October 4, 2012 in Tips
Dianne’s blog is a must-read for aspiring and accomplished food writers. She writes about blogging, recipe writing, cookbooks, craft, finding agents or publishers, writing trends and interviews with food writing luminaries and the comments on her posts are always filled with interesting observations and lively discussions.
Dianne wrote a recap of her trip to Ireland on her blog, but here are a few top tips we picked up from her workshop. (You can also see some specific recipe writing tips here.)
On food writing:
- Food writing used to just be about recipes. Now, it can be about many things – place, politics, memory, farming, guidebooks, reporting.
- Writers used to be concerned with how to describe food, but it’s really about telling a story – and those are the blogs that people love to read.
- The days are gone when a cookbook was just a recipe – you can get that online.
- You have to offer something that’s uniquely yours. But how do you get other people interested in your story? You have to try to make meaning out of an event and what you bring to it with your own perspective as well as provoke emotion in the reader.
On writing techniques:
- Change general words to specific ones.
- Don’t go overboard with adjectives to describe food – be selective. Or use a simile or metaphor to describe something instead of an adjective.
- Use action in your writing to keep your reader moving through the text and to help them visualise what’s happening.
- Edit your own writing.
- Five years ago bloggers had no status, but things have changed now. Many things can come out of blogs, like book deals or magazine/newspaper columns.
- Who is your reader? You must identify your audience so you can customise your message.
- Why should people read your blog? (Because they like your stories and recipes.)
- Ask your readers questions and involve them.
- If you’ve received something for free and are writing about it on your blog, be upfront and transparent about it.
- Don’t be afraid to have opinions.
If you don’t already, be sure to read Dianne’s weekly blog, follow her on Twitter or Facebook, sign up for her newsletter and of course get a copy of her indispensable book, Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More.