do you ever think about that
are you ever lying in your bed
with the duvet wrapped around you
one part of you piping hot
and the other part chillingly cold
with your thoughts caught in a whirlwind
as you try your hardest to drift off
and then you think about those seven people
to publish or not to publish
that is the question
Hmm. I think you overestimate my popularity, ha ha! Although if anyone sees this on their dashboard and knows an answer, please come forward :)
Congratulations on being accepted, Anon! Best of luck with your coffee shop search.
petition to make young adult authors stop writing about girls whose lives change when they meet a boy
When she saw him time slowed to a stop. He was so perfect and she knew her life would never be the same because she had finally found him. The one. The first boy she would ever kill.
Old hands like mine are clasped around the new,
shake eyes like mine to tears for seeing you.
Funny to think you too will see your time,
And count it in the way I counted mine.
From what I’ve observed, there are three types of food scenes. It really depends what kind of emotions you want to evoke in your readers as to how to put these scenes together.
The Food is Unbelievably Delicious
Take Shadowmagic's Conor, when he tries the fruit of the Land for the first time. Or Pellinor's Maerad, who comes across some beautiful and overwhelming banquets on her journey, a far cry from what she used to eat before the story began.
In both of these cases, there is a heavy emphasis placed on how ‘perfect’ the food looks. Nothing congeals, sweats or stagnates. You need to pick out appropriate descriptors to create the best picture. What kind of aromas surround the food? How does it sound when the character bites into it? What is the texture like? Think about the foods you like to eat, and how you feel when you get the chance to taste them!
When describing meat, avoid the bones unless your character is nibbling every last strip from them. You want the turkey crowns and chickens to be plump and full, not thin pickings. And although vegetables are on the top of most people’s ‘do not eat’ list, they can be fresh, glistening beneath a lump of melted butter, roasted or cut into delicate, thin circles. Puddings are wobbling, oozing chocolate and cream, smooth, angular and precise, delicate and decorated.
If your character eats something good, they should react to it too. Especially if it’s better than they imagined. Moaning with pleasure, wide eyes, gorging themselves… all signs that a person is enjoying what’s in front of them.
The Food is Absolutely Disgusting
The tastes here are sour and bitter. They burn your throat, nose and tongue and make your eyes water. When saliva floods into your mouth, it’s because there’s a high chance you’re about to start retching.
The smells are suffocating. There are no aromas or fragrances here - it’s smell and stench. Things gone off, things sagging and suffering in the warmth or grossly preserved in the cold. There’s sweat, liquids, grease and watery sauce. Everything is off-colour. Meats are pale and limp, vegetables shrivelled and small. Desserts are dry, hard and bland. Soups are thin and the cereal is soggy.
Basically, think of everything you’ve ever eaten that tasted disgusting and really focus on what made it so abhorrent to you at the time. Also, focus on details that would make you reject food. For example, not eating your beans on the same plate as everything else, because the sauce congeals and sticks to the other food.
Reactions to this kind of food are screwed up faces, tongues stuck out, exclamations of how awful it all is, hand waving in front of an open mouth to cool off the heat, hands clutched to throats because it burns just to swallow, whooping coughs, running noses, etc.
The Food is Just There
Forks sliding out of mouths, plates full of something or other. In these scenes, the food isn’t much more than an element to a scene. Maybe your characters are discussing things over dinner or they’re the only ones not eating in a restaurant.
In that case, the smells and visuals should correspond with what is happening at the time. Maybe the smell of coffee reminds Paul of how tired he is, and how much he’d rather just be sitting in a diner drinking coffee than discussing something as heavy as murder.
Frost from A Touch of Frost is always eating, but it’s because he has no time to actually stop and enjoy a meal. He goes for high calorie fast foods, things you can scoop out of polystyrene trays and eat out of papers. Food on the go, food that takes little effort to eat. There’s no marvelling over the taste - he knows how it tastes, because it’s all he ever eats. The smells are stale in his car and on his clothes, or not registered at all.
Here, you focus on the act of eating, and ignore pretty much everything else. The food is a simple prop in a whole other scene, and so it shouldn’t take any attention from the reader other than ‘it’s there’.
Food That Reveals Character or Atmosphere
Greedy characters bite into full cakes that split and drip over their cheeks and chins, anal characters separate the greens from the oranges and pick one pea at a time. Fussy characters spend more time organising their meal than actually eating it, and characters with no time polish off their dinner in less than five bites.
At awkward dinners, cutlery scrapes the plate, there’s wet chewing and loud swallowing. Elbows are drawn in, backs straight, eyes falling everywhere but on other eyes.
Hectic dinners have mashed potato slopping onto the tablecloth, juice stains on bibs, food ever-flowing, bowls being passed over plates and hands grabbing.
When writing the scene, think about what you want to show us about the atmosphere and the character and then imagine how the food would be consumed in that specific instance. So, your character is nervously waiting. She’s pulling apart her sandwich, nibbling, but not tasting. Your characters are in an argument; they’re not eating, but they’re holding forks up in protest and stubbornly shoving the food around their plates during the intervals.
Just a little segment, but they’re worth thinking about. Are they overflowing, or is what’s left tipped back into a jug at the end of the meal? Do the characters sip or guzzle? Breathe in or wince as it runs down their throat?
A lot of the time, it’s all about getting the tone right. Using your vocabulary to the best of its ability, so you can piece together the perfect food-y scene.
I hope this helps!
I’m so glad…!
Because Filipino stories are scary and just yes.
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