Thursday, December 6, 2012

Is It Done Yet?

by Allison Pang

Some days I really wish writing was as easy as cooking.

And that's a misnomer. I can't cook at all. I don't cook at all. But hey, there are so many things out there to help make cooking basics easy enough  - even someone like me can usually manage okay.

Like those lovely pop-up timers.  When it pops up, chicken is done. Ready to go.

In theory.

After all, I know sometimes the timers mess up and never pop. And then you end up with overcooked chicken.

Sometimes they pop up too soon and it tastes okay on the outside, but dig in deep enough and it's all cold and nasty.

Too bad writing doesn't work like that.

Or does it?

I think the long and short of it is that all these tools or shortcuts are simply that: tools. Just because the pop-up timer pops up doesn't mean we'ret not going to cut into that chicken and make sure it's *really* done on the inside, right? (Well, *I* might, Because I suck at cooking. But you know what? I can bake like a mofo.)

So maybe it really is the same with writing. Throw it out for consumption before you've edited it enough and it will fall flat on its face. Continue to edit it too much and you run the risk of over-polishing.

The bottom line is that only you can really determine when your book is done. You might get a lot of advice in that kitchen. Some will be helpful and some won't. And just like cooking - the first few times you try out a recipe, it might be a disaster - until you do it enough times to know how your oven really works and what combination of ingredients tastes the best.

Or maybe you give up cooking and try baking instead.  ;-)


  1. heh. I love this analogy. And those pop-up things are worthless, IMO.

  2. Great analogy, Allison. And a big hellyeah to the overpolishing thing. Thank goodness for earlier backups - it's like going back in time to take the turkey out before you overcook it.