What? Yeah, it’s a strange comparison, but bear with me. Without the outer shell of an egg, you’d have an ooey, gooey mess. So the shell is the foundation. Letters make the words, string together the words and you get sentences and lastly you need grammar, and sentence structure to get your point across. These make all the necessary components to create the poem, the essay or the story. Of course, there are exceptions. Cormac McCarthy – the author of The Road – he doesn’t use periods. He breaks the rules and he’s a darn good writer. So there is a way to crack the shell, where the egg will stay intact, as long as you don’t rupture the membrane. But cracking an egg takes skill. You have to have just the right touch. And in order to experiment, you must first know what makes the shell sturdy and what lies inside to know just how much tapping you can do without breaking the whole thing into that ooey, gooey mess.
If we were to do a cross section of our egg, we would find under our shell, the egg white. The egg white represents our characters and voice. We need a narrator at the very least and sometimes dozens of characters. They can be people or animals or even objects. You can have a robot tell your story, right? Now, the great thing about egg whites is how versatile they are. The start out being opaque, but throw them in a frying pan and what happens? They thicken. They change color. Even if you don’t cook them you can all kinds of seasonings. You can even whisk them and fill them full of air.
So now you’ve got the shell – a foundation of words and sentences, you’ve got your egg white which represents the vehicle for the story, and then at the very core of the egg is the yolk. The yolk is the plot and the story arc. At the core, the plot is the reason for writing. Something happens and the person or someone the person knows is changed by the event. So now you see, writing really is like an egg. The only question is do you want to scramble, boil or poach your story.