Your eyes light up and you know you’re in for a treat! That’s how many of us feel when we enter an ice cream shop and see delicious flavors, toppings, and types of cones. Wouldn’t it be great if that’s what happened when a reader saw your short story, poetry, or book? At Writer’s Relief, we decided to get the scoop on how to entice and delight an audience right from an expert—an ice cream scooper at an ice cream shop. Turns out there’s more to pick up from behind the ice cream counter than a stray M&M or sprinkles. We’re serving up some cool writing tips!
Writing Tips And Advice From An Ice Cream Scooper
Sometimes less is more. You’ve scooped up just the right amount of delicious cotton candy or chocolate marshmallow ice cream, but then you start adding lots of toppings: sprinkles, caramel drizzles, peanuts, and gummy bears. Suddenly you have a mishmash of flavors, textures, and colors that can be hard to swallow—and even slightly nauseating.
Readers will feel the same way about a story that’s jam-packed with too many confusing characters, slathered with unnecessary adverbs, or dripping with lengthy paragraphs of “tell, tell, tell.” Don’t get carried away with overwriting that will leave your readers dizzy and queasy. Remember, you can always use some of what you cut from your work to create something new.
The “no flat tops” rule. In an ice cream shop, there is an unspoken but universal rule: Don’t scoop out of an untouched, fresh bin or pan. You learn to empty the ice cream at the bottom of an old pan onto the top of a new one, rather than waiting to completely empty a pan before you replace it. This gives you a better starting point when scooping from the new bin.
So how can this be applied to writing? When you come back to your manuscript after a break, or even if you’re starting a brand-new piece, it can be hard to dig in and begin. The next time you feel a bit of writer’s block, read (or even re-type!) the last few paragraphs or lines that you wrote during your previous writing session. This clever writing tip will help get you back in the “creativity groove” and kick-start your brain into writing mode.
Everyone has different tastes. There’s no one ice cream flavor that every person on the planet likes (although we believe chocolate comes pretty close). And some people prefer ice cream in a cone, while others insist it tastes best when served in a dish. In the same way, you can’t expect everyone to think your writing is great. It will appeal to some readers and not to others. And that’s okay!
Write what you want, in your own unique voice, and don’t let rejections get you down. Research and carefully target your submissions—or let the experts at Writer’s Relief do that busywork for you! We have over twenty-seven years of experience researching the tastes of literary agents and editors to learn what they like and don’t like; who prefers plain strawberry, and who would be thrilled by a rocky road, pistachio, rainbow-sprinkled confection. By helping writers pinpoint the right agents and editors, we can boost their odds of getting published.
Always clean up your mess. Creating tasty treats all day gets messy. Ice cream droplets land on the floor, toppings roll across the counter and into corners, napkins are left crumpled on tables, and crumbs get everywhere. At closing, the scoopers clean up the mess in order to start the next day with a clean, welcoming shop.
Making a bit of a mess while you’re writing, rethinking, rewriting, and editing is a part of the creative process. As you write your first draft—and edit the following drafts—you’ll have some typos, sentence fragments, missing lines, and cross-outs. But when you’re ready to submit your work to literary agents or editors, it’s important that your final draft is clean and polished. Be sure to carefully proofread and format your work to publishing industry standards before sending out submissions (or let Writer’s Relief do it for you!).
With these writing tips from an ice cream scooper, you can serve up some wonderful treats for your readers and boost your odds of getting published! And don’t be surprised if your readers keep coming back for more.
Question: Which scooping tip will most help your writing?
Great article. Lots of good advice wrapped up in ice cream scoops — especially the part about scooping out the bottom of a container to start a new one. I always read what I last wrote, sometimes the whole chapter, before I continue writing.