WritingLife: The Little Detail Of Food

Food. It’s something we need to survive. It can be a rustic fair or a fancy creation, but regardless we all need to eat. Food does more than that, though, it can bring a family around a dinner table or open the eyes of an outsider. It can hint at how wealthy an establishment is. It can also showcase what’s in season in that area and what’s valued in that culture. Food can do so much. So why does it sometimes get passed over in our writings? Why do these little details so often get overlooked?

For example, I’m a freelance editor and as such I have the lovely opportunity to work with some amazing writers. One such writer kept mentioning food but wasn’t specific to what the food actually was. I pointed it out, and they replied saying I was “too obsessed” with food. But really, those little details were actually important. The story was set in Japan and food is a huge part of their culture (of any culture, I’d wager) and vastly different than our own. (For example: In Japan it’s common to have cooked rice with a cracked egg overtop for breakfast.) Instead of saying “XX had breakfast” and move on, adding in that small detail would ground the reader in this setting and in this culture. It was an interesting back-and-forth, and eventually the writer understood where I was coming from and added those details in. I believe the setting is stronger because of that.

And I’m here to implore all writers to include this sensory activity in their stories. After all, food is important, regardless of race. (Unless…you have a race that doesn’t eat, but that opens up a whole new set of experiences!) Now, that’s not to say every page has to have some kind of food on it. Don’t overboard the reader with an onslaught of meals, as that would probably get boring. But don’t forget them either.

Like I said before, food can help build the setting and tone of your story. A meal in a post-apocalyptic world would be vastly different than a meal set on a spaceship or a meal in historic Japan. A sit-down meal surrounded by family sets a different tone than a quick meal on the run or a hearty meal in a pub.

Food can help solidify the reader in a character’s POV. Is the soup too spicy? Is the bread too soft or salty or filled with nuts they don’t like? Does the juice from that purply-green fruit drip down their chin? Burst over their tongue? Scorch their throat going down?

Food can also help shape your characters. Do they miss certain foods from back home? Do they like certain spices or sweets? Do they even know what meats or vegetables are in the soup they’re currently enjoying?

These things may seem tiny among the “bigger details” like the plotline and the character arcs and the overall setting, but these little descriptions ground the readers in your world and your character. These little descriptions make the place seem real.

What do you think? Add a comment below!

Hope you have a lovely 4th of July weekend!
Until next time!
Kellie

April 8th

Finding Hekate, my science fiction book, will be set into the wild on April 8th. NEXT MONTH! I had a lovely chat with my publisher about the logistics of things on Wednesday night and we went over a bunch of marketing ideas I brainstormed. Since Desert Palm Press is a small publisher, I will be doing 90% of the marketing ideas I thought up. Authors are the Number One Champion of their book, though, so I’m more than happy to do it! Plus, this allows me to utilize the skills I’ve learned in my book publishing classes in the real world. (I admit, it’s different doing these things as an author rather than a publisher, but quite a few things transfer over.)

I’ve included my plan of attack for the next few weeks:
March Week 13th-19th
Content Creation Phase

  • Social Media posts: Continuing the awareness posts, generating more, while also crafting ones to post during the launch phase
  • Media Artifacts: Creating new ones, based on images or quotes from the manuscript, continuing to post the ones I created already
  • Press Release
  • Cool interesting ideas I could guest blog about

Writing Drafts (of Letters and stuff)

  • Pitch letters to influencers: Including Facebook/Twitter posts they could share/repost, tiers of engagement
  • Pitch letters to request interviews/articles
  • Pitch letters to request a spot in newsletters: Accompanying newsletter blurb they can just cut/paste into their own
  • (Do the work for them for influencers and newsletter peeps!)

Finishing Up The Manuscript – One Last Pass

  • My publisher will get the manuscript to me on Monday, I have to go through it and double/triple check the edits
  • Due back Friday at the latest
  • Will try to get through it quickly so the proofreaders have more time with it

Wonder About a Launch

  • Should I do a book launch or gathering? If so, where? If so, how?
  • If yes: Order more paper books.

Print Bookmarks

  • PRINT THESE!

March Week 20th-26th
Social Media Posts

  • Continue posting things on social media relating to or about the manuscript
    • Including media artifacts!

Guest Blog

  • Approach bloggers to see if I can guest blog

Interviews/Articles

  • Approach scifi and LGBT sites to see if they’d like to do an interview or article about me

Refine Drafts

  • all the things written last week (letters and such)

Newsletter

  • Write the draft for my first newsletter
  • Post about it on social media sites (“If you want to know more, sign up!”)

March Week 27th-2nd

Continue:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Guest Blogs (followup, writing them)
  • Interviews/Articles (followup)
  • Newsletters burst (followup)

Refine Newsletter, Gain More People

  • Wanna know more? Check out my newsletter!
  • Or something like that

AWP

  • Go to AWP for Ooligan Press stuff
  • Also promote myself!

April Week 3rd-9th

Continue:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Guest Blogs (any other opportunities)

Send first newsletter

  • Yay!
  • My book!
  • Other cool space things.

Send influencer emails

  • Send pitch letter and tweet/FB post
  • Make sure the posts have a link to buy!
    • will I have the link by then?
    • If not, move this to Week 10th-16th

April 8th 

  • Celebrate!
  • Update website with real date/link to buy!

April Week 10th-16th

Launch? Reading? Gathering?

  • If I am doing this, this is the week I’d probably get it done.

Send influencer emails (for sure)

  • Link to buy!

 

So, yeah, this is my plan of attack for the next few weeks concerning Finding Hekate. I have so much to do, but I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy this process, too. I tend to get single-minded when my ToDo list is in front of me, but this is a huge deal for me – a dream come true! – and I have to sit with it for a bit, process it, and celebrate.

What kinds of things did you do when your book was published? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

 

A Day for Love

Ah, the great day of pink, red, and white, of candy hearts and chocolate flowers, of love and devotion. It’s Valentine’s Day. The day couples, families, and friends everywhere celebrate their love for one another.

Image
Random flower design created on weavesilk.com.

Do I celebrate it? Well, yes. I am dressed in red today. I will give out heart-shaped gifts and cards.

But honestly, I’m not that into it.

It’s not like I’m a cynical person who hates love. It’s nothing like that. But this day puts on so much pressure on the couples to have a good time. The need to do something special. Something extraordinary. Just because it’s Valentine’s Day.

But what about all the other days?

I think that we should celebrate our love for one another in special ways all the time! We should always be thankful for our relationships – friends, family, lovers – and show them we care everyday in little ways.

So celebrate with your loved ones tonight… and celebrate again tomorrow.

~*~

On that note, if you have some free time this evening and would like to do something different: why not spend some time at The Living Room? It starts at 7pm at Jitters here in Eagle River. 

7 readers + 7 minutes each = 1 fun night

Free snacks and mingling afterwards.

I hope to see you there!

~*~

I hope you have a warm, cozy, lovely night.
Warm regards,
Kellie