Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Plant with ripe datil peppersImage via Wikipedia

It's odd the things you notice once you become a professional writer. I'm reading a fantasy novel, a very good one, but I realized that in a description of two characters on the run days go by and there's no mention of them eating a meal.

One thing there's plenty of in my novels is food. Whether it's possum (Smuggler's Bride), almond cakes (Captain Sinister's Lady) or datil peppers (Pirate's Price), I like my characters to be well fed. I've spent the morning writing a scene in Castaway Dreams where my hero and heroine are newly cast ashore and have to scrounge a meal. They manage to cook some yams and crabs ("Needs butter", the heroine says). How they get their food, their need to cooperate, the drive of hunger, reveals a great deal about them and their personalities.

For some reason, and maybe it's just me, when I'm really stuck in a scene I find that if I can get my characters to eat a meal together it can open up dialog and even reveal information about them that I didn't know. I don't know if this works for other authors, but it's part of my writing.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get out the fresh grilled vegetables I made last night for my own lunch because nothing spurs my muse like good food.
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