Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On Jalapeños and Hot Sauce

My husband and I come from two very different cultures.  We listened to different music, ate different food and spoke different languages growing up.  We met in a 3rd culture (a different country for both of us) and those differences didn’t really seem to matter.  In an essence, we were both “strangers in a strange land.”
After we got married, we moved back to the US – my culture – and that’s when I realized how different we really are.  Once I was back home, and able to buy the foods that I liked, we began to have some problems.
At first, he thought everything I made for meals was weird.  And after a while, he bought jalapeños and hot sauces to help him enjoy my cooking more.

For me, it was hard to believe him when he told me that he really enjoyed the food – after he added jalapeños, hot sauces and salt to it.  I didn’t think he could taste anything I cooked – especially with his new flavoring to it!

Husband's Jalapeños

But after I thought about it, I realized that it’s not only our backgrounds that make us enjoy different things.  It’s our personalities as well.

He likes action while I like romances.  He’s into sports and I’m into music.  

Everyone has different tastes and preferences.  Even if they like the same thing, their take can be immensely different.

So why do I bring this up?

This week, as I’ve been editing, I’m going through comments and critiques from various readers.  Some think the romance is too obvious while others want more.  Some say my description needs work, while others say it’s perfect.  Every reader wants something different. 

My red WIP is a fantasy, but it also includes romance, a strong relationship between father and son, numerous children and an unintentional commentary of government.  I even had one reader who wanted more out of the animals in the story. 

It’s always important for me, as a writer, to remember that everyone’s tastes are different.  They may very well prefer to have the literary jalapeños and hot sauces along with what I’ve written.  And ultimately, it is my story is mine.

All critiques and comments are suggestions.  Most of them are fantastic advice that makes my writing so much more effective.  But I also have to remember that I don’t have to take every suggestion.  If I did, my story would no longer be mine.  Even with every change I make, I still have to be true to MY story.  I can’t force something that doesn’t feel natural.  The readers will notice.  And if it’s no longer my story, then why should I tell it?

So although I love betas, and I always value their opinions, I take each suggestion with a grain of salt.  Or perhaps with some jalapeños and hot sauce.  

Multiple hot sauces for any occasion