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Monday, December 26, 2011

Spoonfuls of Soufflé

Souffle au chocolateImage via Wikipedia

Once during a masterchef competition,  Gordon Ramsey commented to the contestants that there is one dish that  strikes fear in the hearts of professional chefs everywhere....soufflé.  It was in that episode that I learned that in the gastronomic world, making soufflé is no piece of cake (pun intended). Soufflé is not impossible but it is one of the most technical and a successful soufflé requires exact timing and execution. It is the type of thing where you are either gonna "kill it" and create something brilliant. Or you're gonna "murder it" and find yourself walking back to your kitchen with your tail in   between your legs. There is no real in between....your souffle will be delicious or it will be a disaster.

In the writing world we have something very similar. Before I go on, I wanna say that this is only an opinion and other writers and authors are open to debate me on this. But after reading lots of articles, talking with other writers and most of all having written a novel myself, there seems to be a common consensus that writing in 1st person would be equal to making a soufflé.

There are multiple articles on the internet and many of them say that writing in 1st person is the hardest of all voices or one of the hardest voices.  Many of you took a keen interest in "Argentine Eyes", my autobiography that is written in 1st person. And many of us when we watch a movie don't just like to watch the movie, we like to find out what went on behind the scenes. So that is what this blog is about today, lifting the veil on the writing world and giving you a behind the scenes look at the making of "Argentine Eyes".

The writing world is one where things that sound easy are actually the hardest. That being said, some of the hardest things are actually kids books and novels in 1st person. This may come as a shock but I HATE the kids book section. Not because I don't like kids books but simply because the world of kids books is plagued with garbage from people who think writing for kids is easy. Honestly, if I were going to have a baby there would be only two books in this moment that I would want in the nursery. One of them being "That's Not Your Mommy Anymore" and "Go the F*ck to Sleep".  Heaven is rejoicing that I'm not a mother yet :P

During the process of making a soufflé, there are many things that can go wrong and every one of the steps. Execution, speed, and timing is everything and it is the exact same with writing in 1st person. After having a discussion with a friend who is an author, she told me she's scoured the net for good 1st person stories but it is rare when she comes across someone who has done it successfully. A common mistake is that many 1st person novels sound like blogs, not novels. And in the same way that there are many opportunities for something to go wrong with making a soufflé, 1st person novels are of the same nature. 1st person is a powerful voice to write in but it is the voice in which it is easiest to fall flat. You have to stay in character from beginning to end and you have to make the reader feel connected, as if the story is happening to them.

Based on the feedback that I've got from others in the writing world, it seems as if I've had a good response on "Argentine Eyes" and was able to kill writing in 1st person. How was I able to achieve this?  I did this by sitting in an apartment in Buenos Aires editing and re-editing every line of the novel to perfection. In the end, I produced a good read with little or no typos. But I will admit to you that I got completely burnt out til the point that after I finished my final edit, I couldn't even read my own book.  This was a result of waking up at 7:30 in the morning and editing all day long until 11pm at nite all day everyday.

And I had to be open to criticism on two is from the writing world and how well written the book has been done. The other level in which I have to be open to critique comes from the fact that I am writing about another culture and I have to make sure that Argentines feel that my novel is indeed reflective of Argentina. Both these things are challenging to execute properly and make me really nervous as a writer because it is a bold and gutsy thing to do.

There is so much more that I could be write about in the experience of what it is like to do a novel. And you can be sure that in the weeks and months to come, I'll continue to lift the veil on life as a writer and reveal more about what it is like.  But for now, I wanna wish you a happy holiday and my highest hope as a writer is that as you read everything I write, you'll feel like you're tasting delicious spoonfuls of soufflé   :)

Argentine Eyes (wattpad)

Argentine Eyes (Bookrix)

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Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas