I get bored rather easily. Always have, probably always will.
As a result of my boredom, cooking and all things food caught my attention some years ago. This interest follows me to this day. I’m as excited about reading a cookbook as I am one of my favorite fiction authors.
Truth be told, I’m probably what would be described as a “foodie.” See, not only does the food interest me, but the drink part of the food experience, well, that caught my attention as well. I’ll confess, I’ve been to more than one eating establishment based solely on a wine list or a new cocktail.
And now food has invaded my writing.
For me writing is about conveying the look, feel, the sound and yes, even the taste of a particular locale. I find that adding food to my writing can provide details that would otherwise take pages to establish and may even come off as lecturing to the reader.
When there are food and drink in a setting, I believe it can make the scene flow better. I’m not talking about a exchange of dialogue being better or worse because a character orders steak as opposed to chicken, but think of the statements that can be made as a result of the way a character interacts with food.
What does it say if your character goes into a restaurant and the server asks, “The usual?” Perhaps the character is a creature of habit.
How about when if a character orders with specific and detailed instructions that vary from the menu? Obsessive compulsive? Control freak? Regardless, it shows their personality in action.
What about how the character eats his food? Do they skip around the plate or do they eat one thing at a time? Do they have a mealtime rituals? Maybe the have an aversion to butter knives.
By adding food, and drink, to your scenes you can say so much about your characters without saying anything at all.
Does your character cook? Try writing a scene where two characters are exchanging dialogue as one prepares a meal. You’ll be surprised how such a scene will expose traits and aspects of your character you may not have even known.
But there are other benefits of food on the page, so to speak.
In my book, The Trust, I used food throughout the book.
This has been a great marketing outlet. I’ve started adding recipes from the book to my website. I figure if you’re going to read about it, why not be able to taste it?
Point is the more you can weave into your writing that builds and adds to your characters, and to the story, without just plain out saying it is simply more engaging to the reader and will allow the reader to not only develop more of a bond with your character, but it will also allow them to better step into the world you have created.
So while you’re here why not read a chapter from my book or even buy a copy of your own. A portion of all proceeds from the sale of The Trust will be donated to canine related charities. Support K9 rescues!
Causes sean keefer Supports
I support the Charleston Animal Society, Pet Helpers of Charleston and the Lowcountry Food Bank. See seankeefer.com for links.