fortune cookie n. A cookie made from a thin layer of dough folded and baked around a slip of paper bearing a prediction of fortune or a maxim. Definition courtesy of The Free Dictionary and The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company .
What do fortune cookies have to do with writing one might ask? Hang with me a moment and you’ll see the connection.
It’s all about inspiration. Inspiration is individual. What inspires one person might not trigger the same inspirational response in another. I look to many of the usual places for inspiration – magazine and newspaper articles, books, music, television, observing people and nature.
Another place I look for inspiration is… fortune cookies. Yes fortune cookies.
I collect them in a special envelope and when I need a good proverb or am looking for a theme I’d like to convey, I consult my fortune cookie proverbs first.
(My growing pile of proverbs)
It’s fun hunting through them for something that ‘speaks’ to me. Almost like a treasure hunt.
I’ve learned that your novel needs a theme. Not necessarily to be beaten over the readers head, but rather subtly imbued throughout the book. Here are a couple good ones for patience:
- Patience is easy to wish for and difficult to achieve.
- Patience gives the power to practice; practice gives the power that leads to perfection.
Can’t you just see a character who needs to learn about patience and how you could use one of those maxims as a theme?
Of course it’s always fun to use some as your personal mantra. Here is one I got today that I’ll use to inspire my writing life…
Use your abilities at this time to stay focused on your goal. You will succeed.