(i wrote this post ten years ago and i'm happy for the reminder as i start to write again.)
yeah, weird title, i know but the two really do go together, or at least they did in my mind last night when i was making chicken noodle soup for dinner. i use my great grandma's noodle recipe and my daughter rolled out the noodles and cut them with a pizza cutter. they were all different shapes and sizes and i thought, "i could get a pasta machine and then they would all be uniform." but then i thought, "what's the fun of that? the soup wouldn't be the same." i love the texture of the lumpy noodles.
so then, of course, i thought about writing and how we try so hard to make our books perfect for publishers or agents, and in the end, after all the editing, etc. maybe our stories don't have the same texture they did before.
i also noted that the soup was different last night because my husband did the cooking. the soup was fine, but it tasted different because he added more herbs than i do, and he used leftover brined turkey from Thanksgiving, whereas i always use chicken. (to me, turkey DOES NOT taste like chicken, and especially not when it's brined.) i have to say i like my version better. it reminds me of Gramma and that's half the reason i make it.
that also made me think of my writing. the story i want to write might change as i let more people get their hands on it. crit partners and beta readers are great for helping you find plot holes and broken character arcs and not enough description, but in the end, if they start telling you to change the flavor of your story, you just have to put your foot down and say, "No." it's not that their suggestions are bad, but there comes a point where you have to decide who's cooking the soup.