Necessary ingredients may include:
love of language and good writing
Steps (not necessarily in order):
Mix together ingredients for characters until they appear more real than people, one character to a bowl. Don’t worry if the batter appears curdled or muddy. This is to be expected.
Fold each character in, carefully and one at a time, to a profound fictional world. Do not beat the characters at this point. Maybe later. The batter is likely to be gloppy still.
Add in events that build to a climax and outcome.
Stir in drama such as sudden surprises and revelations that bring change.
Infuse truth and empathy, to taste.
Fold in sensations and details. These will make the batter rise.
Sprinkle in humor, being careful not to overdo.
Whisk and beat the batter for months. Add additional ingredients as needed. Delete portions of batter as necessary. Note: You may need to throw out the entire mess and begin again.
When the batter reaches a consistency that works for you, put it aside. Do not peek at it. Set a timer if necessary.
Don’t be surprised if it stinks when you revisit it. Add and subtract more ingredients, whisk and stir more, tweak, poke, rework.
When the batter is complete, it will rise and then fall. At this point you may wish to ice it with a complimentary title and serve it to those who have a taste for it.