I’ve been watching this show on Net-flicks “Ramsey”. It’s a cooking show where the chef Gordon Ramsey goes into different restaurants in and around England, helping them to save their business. I like the show because it shows different parts of England, their lifestyle and they say “Fock!” every third word.
But as I was watching, I realized that his advice really applied to writing. He tells the new chefs to simplify their dishes.
“Too many flavors confuse the pallet!”
The new guys would try too hard to impress and they wouldn’t know when to stop. In writing that’s when a writer tries to dazzle the reader with big words and impossible plots, leaving the reader behind. I tend to do that with the construction of a story. I love going back and forth in time or having some kind of twist in the plot that skips an important piece of logic. I usually do that in order to impress.
There was an older chef who was a new head chef, thus he had something to prove. I could understand that feeling, this is really why I like the show. It’s a bit universal. My neighbor, one of the lost boys I love, regards Ramsey as an overly harsh critic (he actually called him a British Douche-Nozzle). I disagree, harsh and arrogant, yes, but I do think he is trying to help. Receiving criticism is difficult yet necessary for restaurants and writers alike.
However in our society, there is so many people who judge without doing. Its so safe to just critique in the soft armchair, risking nothing and sounding so fresh. Everyone gives their opinion, not everyone risks in order to do. I was feeling that way about Ramsey, until I saw the episode where he talked about loosing his own restaurant.
Trying to impress his hometown, he produced an extravagant menu the locals could not identify with nor enjoy. Basically, he didn’t write to his audience. Rule # 1 in writing; the rule so often forgotten.
After reading this blog my neighbor still maintains that Ramsey is a Douche-Nozzle. (I doubt that Ramsey will loose sleep over that one.)