Monday, September 17, 2012

Nom Nom Nom: Why I Want Food In Your Story

Confession: I am obsessed with food. I eat about a bazillion times a day (that's a rough estimate). I am not ashamed of stealing cupcakes and cookies and pizza slices from my loved ones. They know I'm a lost cause. 

Perhaps it's this obsession with food in my real life that I'm always on the lookout for food in novels. I almost pass out every time I read scenes inside the Great Hall in the Harry Potter series. My tummy went berserk when I not only read about the November cakes in Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races, but also when I saw BOTH of her posts with the recipe. I've yet to actually make my own November cakes, but it's forthcoming :)

Similar to your main character's Impala, I think food tells your readers a lot about him or her. Do they like sweet stuff? Sour stuff? Spicy stuff? Or are they like me and eat EVERYTHING EVER IN THE UNIVERSE EVER? Perhaps your MC is an aspiring chef, and food is their whole life. Or perhaps your MC is allergic to halibut, but their love interest is all over that halibut. Awkward first dinner date, huh? Or perhaps your villain knows about your MC's allergy, sneaks in bits of halibut in your MC's dish, and OMG I don't even want to finish this sentence. 

My point? Food is just another layer of who your characters are. Sure, there are tons of other things that can deepen characterization better, but why pretend food isn't a big deal? I think it totes is. You should, too :)


Now tell me: how do you incorporate food into your manuscript? Do you go about it casually or are there detailed descriptions of yummyness? 

11 comments:

  1. I have food in both my novels and I always describe it and my characters thought while eating. Guess that's because I love food too.

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  2. Oh, man, there are about fifteen references to bacon in the manuscript I'm shopping. But I'm pregnant, so I can't help it :)

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  3. I hear ya. There are foodstuffs in all my novels. Yum.

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  4. Food is absolutely essential to my main characters. Several of my core characters have fun food-related personality quirks: one is an ice cream addict, and the other is a bottomless pit, eternally hungry. Since they are shapeshifters, they need energy to operate. That energy comes from a constant supply of good food and excellent coffee. You can't leave out the coffee! :D

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  5. I think there's at least one instance in all my stories where I've gone beserk on the food descriptions. Most of the time, it's generally because they're major hungry.

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  6. Mine has a vampire who cooks for others since she can't eat the food she prepares. She still appreciates the scent and the way it makes her home smell. Not to mention it makes her less "abnormal" looking to have food in the kitchen.

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