You search the pantry and pull out all of the ingredients. Chop veggies, add tomatoes, add the meat. Shucks, you don’t have the ground sirloin, but plain hamburger will do, won’t it? A little salt, a dash of pepper. Cook for two hours, and voila! A plate of spaghetti.
No one asks for seconds, and you, as well, find it hard to choke down the last noodle. What happened?
You ponder your blunder for just a second. While you remembered the salt and dash of pepper, in your haste, you completely forgot the rest of the spices. No garlic, no basil, no oregano, no dash of cayenne for that extra kick. While rushing to get it to the table, you didn’t even remember to sprinkle the parm on top. No wonder nobody asked for seconds.
And isn’t that just like a good story? You rush to get it to the agent or editor? You know it still needs some spice to bring reality to it, but he wants to see it, right? And after all, that’s the most important…get it in their hands. But they don’t ask for a full read. No seconds. What happened? The story was there. It was obvious what the conflict was, who was going to fall in love, how it would all turn out, but the spice was missing. The dash of this and that that makes the whole story come alive. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes.
When you write, do you remember to sprinkle in the extra kick? The part that makes your story real? Or do you rush it to table only to find that no one wants a plate of your spaghetti?