- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Commercial & Creative Writing
Using fast food to describe your creative writing, think about restaurants.
Food as a tool for writing, really?
Absolutely, although you can literally use food to write with if you wish, that's not actually the idea behind this hub, which you will either be deeply disappointed about if you were hoping to learn how to write with ketchup, or relieved to discover as it would be a very messy way of getting your creative juices flowing.
At first food seems a little bit of an odd subject for story inspiration and character development, but eating is a universal activity and can reveal a lot about an individual, it is also has associations with special occasions and annual holidays. Scent's sounds and colours can also be used to great effect when trying to portray aspects in writing.
Let's explore these ideas in a little more detail and see if they can help you with your creative writing projects.
You are what you eat.
When describing characters in a story whether it be in a short story or a novel, it's easy to revert to familiar terms such as; 'she was slim' or 'he is cuddly,' in an attempt to help your reader visualize and identify with who they are reading about.
This can be done more effectively and subtly by dropping hints or clues about their lifestyle throughout your story. If for instance Samuel runs for a mile every evening and largely survives on salads and only drinks water, it would give off the impression that he is probably rather lean. However if we were reading about Sarah and we were told she eats a takeaway, late at night most day's and gets out of breath when walking up the stairs, you would assume she would be a curvy individual.
This kind of story telling allows you more show and less tell, without losing any of the visual impact.
How do they eat?
People are all individuals, they have their own unique ways of doing things and eating is not an exception to this rule. To help give your characters a more believable, 3D quality to them and enable the reader get to know them better, by giving them an unusual or distinctive eating habit.
Maybe they can't have certain food touch others on their plate, maybe they eat the food on their plate in a certain order or have to eat at certain times. Maybe they eat incredibly slow or super fast and what does this tell you about what they are like as people. Maybe they eat fast because they are always busy, maybe they want to change something about their eating habits, does it infringe on their life.
What does your character not like the taste of and what is their favourite food? All these questions and ideas will help you and your reader identify with your hero and understand them more.
Where someone eats?
This can tell you a great deal about a persons social standing or situation. If someone eats out in fancy restaurants they probably have money to burn and if they eat out at a fast food joint they may well be less well off right? Most of the time you would assume so, however you can also turn assumptions like these on their heads.
For instance Mike could be a very wealthy businessman who would ordinarily eat at an expensive restaurant, but he falls for Jane, who works in a fast food restaurant and he starts eating there regularly instead because he wants to get to know her better.
Maybe your charicter only eats at home, why do they do that? Maybe they can't cook or are a budding chef, what could this add to a story?
Sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.
Using all the senses to describe a scene will really enrich a readers experience, making it a more real experience. It can also be used as a great tool for flashbacks and invoking memories. A writing exercise worth trying is taking a piece of fruit or a meal and trying to describe it.
- The lemon meringue looked like a giant egg yolk in a cloud.
- The apple was sweet and soft.
- The spaghetti had a texture like rubber.
- The sound of them eating dry cornflakes was like heavy boots treading on gravel.
- The scent of strong spices and caramelized onions reminded me of my nans kitchen.
Give it a try an see, I would love to know how you get on, please feel free to leave your comments below and good luck with your creative writing.