Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Writing Recipes #2: Meaty Characters

Make your characters... 'moo-ving.'

Last time, we baked a confectionery delight-- a lovely Protagonist Pie. This time we're going to make a meal that is quite different. For our needs, cooking is required... killing even. Sugar is replaced with salt for rubbing in wounds. The presentation is lost, charred or even bloody. This may be the most antagonizing meal you'll ever make. Careful, you might burn yourself in the process.


This is a choice cut, a dinner that should not sit well upon being digested. Vegetarians and humanitarians look no further.

STEP ONE: Kill innocence 
Much like a baby calf, our villain must kill something of innocence. That might be something internal or external-- taken in a literal sense. No cut of meat is born a villain... its soul must be butchered-- carved and contorted into a bloody piece of veal. Greed, lust... these are motivators, but weak ones. A great villain is disturbed, changed in some way. Show the eater of your veal the death of its innocence. Horrify them.

STEP TWO: Determine Color
You must decide how dark your want your meat-- or how red. Prior to any seasoning and prepping, choose whether you want a rare veal willing to draw blood or be lethally under-cooked. Is the soul charred beyond recognition? Is it medium? In between and seemingly good, putting on a persona and keeping its nose clean by manipulating others?

STEP THREE: Cook the Grenade
Once the color is decided, throw the veal in the oven. As you cook, give the proper heat and motives. Allow the eater to understand why the meat tastes the way it does. Allow them to detect subtle hints of how it was cooked while still maintaining an air of foreboding mysteriousness. Be sure to burn in grilling marks, scars, external evidence to the pink evil inside the Villainous Veal. Be sure to check on your meat occasionally to see the progress of its development-- the hardening of its character. It is not uncommon to burn the veal to a crisp by the time the story ends.

STEP FOUR: Add Seasoning
A villain has its quirks too-- its idiosyncrasies. What grass does did it graze upon as a young calf? What does it revel in now? How about what it hates? Hate. Hate and a perversion of love are your greatest seasonings. Dark ambition is almost required. Make it strong tasting, perhaps even chilling. Make it so bad that the eater won't be able get the taste from their tongue, or so devilishly good they can't stop eating it up. The right dressing can amaze... but it can sicken... nauseate... or kill if poisoned. 

STEP FIVE: Support with Sides
Optionally, (yet highly suggested) you may support your dark dish with some sides that will compliment your Villianous Veal and play off its sinister flavor. Perhaps a kind pawn, like a healthy yet doomed veggie. Maybe an equally mashed potato-- made evil by the meat's gravy. Tasteless and useless garnish goes a long way, like a henchman used only to fodder the villain's presentation. A lonely villain can be extremely effective, but one surrounded by sides is a force to be reckoned with.

FINAL STEP: Use your own Darkness
The cook needs to always cook a bit of itself into its creations, even the culinary disasters. Seek into the darkest recesses of your mind to find an ingredient you've chosen to hide from others. Putting your own evil into the veal--regardless of how small or repressed it is--makes the taste explode on the plate.

Now your cooking with hate, making a tragic masterpiece. Your veal may not sit well with many, but it won't   be forgotten. After all, we always remember the meals that made us sick. Food poisoning can be deadly, but it remains a constant fear in our minds.

- B