Getting It Right

In Current reading, Food, Hautvoir, Revision on July 25, 2011 at 6:38 am

Reading a not-really-successful piece of fiction. Two interesting things about such an experience: the first being the attempts to understand why it doesn’t work, and how it might have been improved; the second, the greater appreciation it gives you for those fictions that do fly. A bit like watching the Junior skaters, not only the ten best world champions, competing at the Olympics.

Apart from the poorly developed characters in the book I finished last night, the other aspect that didn’t work for me was the old: just wait until I Reveal All in the final chapter. Final chapter rolls along; you read; and you think: “Yeah, so?” Something like buying a book called The Secret of the Mummy, only to discover the archeologist found an empty mortuary chamber with beer tabs and Dorito wrappers strewn about. The real secret then becoming: who the hell raided the tomb, and why the hell didn’t I change the title on the story?

Getting the ingredients to meld. Getting the balance of flavors right. You start with a general idea of what you want the dish to taste like; it never comes out exactly as you’d imagined – sometimes much better, sometimes a mess, sometimes edible which is already something. How my own story will be, once I finish revising it? I don’t know. Not as I had imagined it, going in, that much is a given. But I’m still in the kitchen with it. A bit like the dish I prepared yesterday; it’s best made ahead so the flavors can find their balance overnight.

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