[writing advice] Once you freeze your food…

Image source: Indiso.eu
Image source: Indiso.eu

(Originally posted on 8/29/2007 on Writingscape V2.0)

“Once you freeze your food, there’s no expiration date. I thought I could freeze a friendship just like I can freeze food. However… when you freeze food for too long, it just doesn’t have the same flavor as before.”

     — character Go Jin-Pyo, Korean drama SOMEDAY

As this profound realization dawned on Jin-Pyo in last night’s episode, I paused the scene (a la TIVO), hit Rewind, and had to listen to that again.

The good doctor was right, of course. After making himself indispensable to the emotionally damaged artist he’d fallen in love with, and watching her fall in love with the tortured screenwriter she worked with instead, and attempting to keep her and that screenwriter apart not by force but by subtle machinations and his constant presence (freezing his relationship with her), even after all of that, time will not pause. She’s still floating away from him, bit by bit. It can’t be stopped. And the taste in his mouth from his own desperate actions has begun to sour.

(Funnily enough, a pretty up-and-coming publisher who has harbored unrequited love for Jin-Pyo all of this time is using the exact same plan on Jin-Pyo and the damaged artist. And she’s failing just as badly as Jin-Pyo. Ha!)

I realized, after wrapping my mind around that inner dialogue for a while, that there have been times when I could have taken the above players out of the situation and put myself and my Novel #1 manuscript in (the times when I was about to hit a milestone—finishing certain chapters, typing The End, a first submission to my critique group, a first submission to a publisher, first submissions to agencies). And the reason I froze up, the reason I tried to freeze time and keep everything right on the wondrous edge of that milestone without going past it, was the same reason as the good doctor.


Luckily, I’ve learned to recognize such behavior right off, and to get back in the saddle fast. I’ve not kept my manuscript frozen for so long that the taste of my Muse soured and the chances for my novel were ruined (yet). As a Livejournal writing buddy of mine has said, the relationship with your manuscript is like dating. It’s a love affair, honeymoon phase and all. (MANuscript? WOMANuscript? Hooo-kayyyy. I’ll stop here.)

Hmm. I wonder if the tortured scriptwriter had the same epiphany about his own work at some point, and cleverly found a way to share that. I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

Freezing your “food” for a while is okay. Just don’t leave it that way for too long.


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