For those of you who don’t know, kimchi is the most famous Korean dish. There are different types of kimchi depending on the season. Baechu kimchi is the most common type and it’s made in the fall. The picture here was taken one fall when we went to a village and happened to catch the ladies making their kimchi.
You’ll often see huge groups of ladies working together, sitting on the ground amidst massive piles of cabbage. To make kimchi, cut up salted Chinese cabbage leaves and stuff them with sok (literally meaning inside), a chili paste. Other ingredients include broccoli, fruit, cucumber or scallions.
In writing, key ingredients also prove to make delicious writing: unique characters, vivid settings, action-packed plots, and a strong voice. But don’t forget to ‘cook’ with your own special ingredients by pouring your own magic into the story.
They say when making kimchi, you should be able to taste the salt. When your cabbage “zings”, you’ve got the perfect balance. Same with your manuscript.
The sea salt not only adds good taste, it ferments the kimchi, too. After the kimchi is made, it needs minimal oxygen and a cool place. To make this work, Koreans put their kimchi in large pots, often in a cool place, with a tight lid to keep pressure at the top.
The same goes with your manuscript. Give your story time to ferment. Put it aside and work on something else. Later, take it out and you’ll see your manuscript in a whole new life. I just pulled out Chosen Warrior again after setting it aside for nearly a year. I knew I had some major cutting to do, but a year ago, the thought of cutting those precious words was too hard. It wasn’t so hard this time since I wasn’t as close to the work. I ended up cutting 14,000 words!
So now maybe you can see why kimchi kind of reminds me of the writing process.
And out of curiosity, have you ever eaten kimchi before?