Can you get a good story from rancid meat?

I was making a curry tonight for dinner and I thought about something I had been told regarding curries. Supposedly they were invented to cover the flavour of rancid meat back when refrigeration was not possible and meat often went off. You would just cut the green bits off the steak, whack in a few herbs and spices, flick out the flies and then you had a delicious curry (I should point out this is not a re-enactment of how I made tonight’s curry, I’m talking historical curries here).

Sometimes as writers we can pen a rancid story. There are bits that stink and other parts are so putrid that they fall apart. Yet underneath the slimy green stuff, there can be something that looks like a real story.

The cooking process to get that little bit of red-grey meat spiced up and turned into something delectable is called EDITING. The tricky part is in being able to recognise when there are just off bits that can be cut away, and when the whole thing is rotten.

So back to my analogy; if you wanted to know if you curry was made with meat that really was beyond saving, you could just feed it to someone. If they got sick you had all bad meat, if they smile at you while rubbing their belly in a non-pained way, it was good meat. With your writing it is exactly the same; feed it to someone. Give it to someone you trust to give honest feedback, preferably a writer or avid reader, so if any bits do make them feel a bit green around the gills, they can tell you and you can cut them out.

Just because your story pongs enough to bring the magpies swooping in from three blocks away doesn’t mean it is a bad story, it might just have bad bits. One of the biggest mistakes a writer can make (besides holding onto a story that should be let go) is chucking one out before it has been given a chance.

Anyway, no one has been sick yet, so at least I can rest assure that tonight the meat was all good.


2 thoughts on “Can you get a good story from rancid meat?”

  1. Being able to handle comments is critical, as the recent cyberspace bust up between a reviewer and an author showed. I was going to forward you the link but it just got nasty towards the end. Thankfully, you’ve never been like that with comments! xK

  2. I read that review yesterday, it just makes you cringe! Fortunately I have a great writers group who don’t hold back when they critique, so you learn pretty quickly to grow a thick skin, because those comments can definitely help to save your story.

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