Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rachael Starves Her Characters

No one eats in my novels.

I forget to make them hungry. I'm the opposite of the food writers in that way. There are no recipes, no drool-worthy descriptions of [cream/spice/sugar/fill in the blank].

I think what it comes down to is that I'm really not that great a cook. I've learned that simple is the best way to go. If I get any fancier than a meat and a green, it's bound to get a little funny, and my characters have the same problem.

In the novel I'm working on now, my main character Lucy gets so flustered that she cracks two eggs into cold water and then tries to convince the hero that she's going to poach them. I had to go into my own kitchen and try it myself to see if she could get away with it (it's not pretty and raises lots of white foam, but it's doable). That and a dessicated Hershey bar that ends up getting thrown into the rafters of a de-sanctified church is the extent of the food in the current work in progress. Poor characters.

Maybe if I fed 'em better they'd act right. I know I act better after a good meal. I might try it.


Sophie Littlefield said...

! That cracked me up. I forget to have my characters do a lot of things. You know that first-book mistake where you describe every last minute of the day...."and then she opened the drivers-side door and got in the car. She put the keys in the ignition and turned the car on, then backed out of the driveway. It would be a right hand turn that took her into Center City..." well I just went the other way entirely. As though the challenge i was trying to meet was to provide only the barest framework of plot and leave *everything* else to the imagination. My characters don't eat, shower, shop, sleep...oh, they do take the time to think about sex a lot though. a LOT.

Unknown said...

so the other first (and sometimes second and third) novel mistake is to have your characters constantly eating. I can't tell you how many meals my characters shared before I realized, hmmm maybe this isn't the most interesting setting.... *bg*

Martha Flynn said...

my characters don't eat, either. but they're dead. otherwise it's just cruel. :)

L.G.C. Smith said...

Big surprise, but my characters eat a lot. There are feasts, simple meals, fast food, the works. In my first book, "Spellbound" (under my pseudonym, Allison Hayes), I remember researching what western settlers would have to eat at a community dance. In the book I'm revising now, my heroine's interest in food spikes when she gets pregnant. Plus, my Anglo-Saxon warlord can't believe the food in the 21st century. He's not that into it, but it's so different it serves as one of the contrast points with the world he came from, one readers can easily relate to.

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