Debra takes a look at food.
Food often makes an appearance in my stories. After all, even fictional characters need to eat! Perhaps they go out to dinner on a date. Perhaps they're sipping wine at a piano bar. Perhaps the hero is cooking for the heroine. Maybe it's a pizza that's been ordered in.
Food is a great opportunity to bring all of the senses into play. It has a taste, a smell, a texture, we look at it, and depending on what it is, there might be a sound involved.
The main thing to remember when incorporating food into your story is to not forget about it. If the waitress serves dessert, make sure your characters eat it! Don't let it just sit there. Your hero and heroine should interact with it. This is a great way to break up a page full of dialogue. Have your hero take a bite of his steak. Eating can serve as a dialogue tag to avoid those pesky he said/she said phrases, too.
How your characters eat their food can reveal things about them...to each other and to the reader. Does he take great chomping bites and eat with gusto? Does she push her food around on her plate before taking a bite?
What gets eaten can be revealing too. Does she have a regular morning routine in which she always makes a single scrambled egg and a piece of toast? Is he a vegetarian?
Food can be sensual. Do they bring strawberries and champagne with them into the bedroom? Does he feed her small bites of food? Does she lick her lips after tasting a cream-filled candy?
Food can mirror the feel of a scene. Are they eating hot and spicy Mexican? Are they savoring sweet desserts? Are they consuming a comforting meal of Mama's oven stew? Are they cooking together and wind up covered in flour because they got silly?
There are endless possibilities for using food in a story...make the best of them, and don't forget someone needs to eat what you serve!
Until next time,
Happy Reading! (and eating)