Dear friends and readers,
It is always difficult for a blogger to find a blog post worthy of the grand finale of the year. This year, however, it was an easy choice for me. As you may all know, Charles E. Yallowitz published the last book in his Legends of Windemere series, Warlord of the Forgotten Age, on December 21, 2017. His guest post covers the topic Food and Drink – a highly suitable topic for the last day of the year 2017. Please join me in a warm welcome to Charles:
Thank you to Karen for offering to host my guest post and being a part of the promotion for Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age. This is the last book of my 15-volume fantasy adventure series, so I’m hoping to have it go out with a bang. I’ve been looking back at this personal adventure and found one odd that repeatedly comes up in my writing: Food and Drink. My characters seem to always have something to snack on or sip at when they’re talking unless it’s on the road. People ask me why I keep including this and I guess now is as good a time as any to come up with some reason.
- Might as well get the confession one out of the way. I’m either eating while writing or pushing through a scene to get to lunch. At the very least, I have a bottle of seltzer that I keep chugging from. You know how they tell you not to go grocery shopping when hungry? Well, it seems I have the same reaction when writing on a barely full stomach.
- Like many people, I grew up in a house where meal times were when you discussed things. If it wasn’t time for a meal then you and your friends had a fast food joint involved in the daily adventure. Maybe you just hung out at home and made sure there were snacks and drinks. My point is that for many people interactions in real life has a ‘food/drink’ factor. This can range from making a plan to track down the ice cream man to putting out the ‘good cheese’ for guests. There’s no reason that fictional worlds shouldn’t have this aspect of reality.
- Favorite foods and drink are a staple of being a three-dimensional character along with any other quirks. On the opposite end of the spectrum is if they hate a food or have an allergy. We tend to overlook them because they rarely make an impact on the overall story, but they can be essential to making a character relatable. For example, Delvin Cunningham in Legends of Windemere loves coffee. He has been drinking it since his second appearance and even went out of his way to buy a collection of ‘coffee rings’. This is a set of enchanted rings where each one has a different flavor and he can mentally determine the temperature. At some points, he pours the drink directly into his mouth, which helps make this a memorable quirk of the character.
- On a larger scale, you can reveal parts of a culture or region with food. More fruits and vegetables than meat shows where agriculture is. Local delicacies can show if a people enjoy spicy food, dishes that others find gross, or a total lack of spices. It’s like in the real world where one of the first things we think about when it comes to many cultures and countries is the food. If I say Jew, you might think Matzah Ball Soup. Japanese sushi, Italian pasta, Germany sausage, Irish beer, and the list keeps going, so you can create the same for a fictional world. If you’re using Earth then this is simply something to keep in mind.
- Characters have to eat. Seriously, you have no idea how often I see readers asking when characters eat and go to the bathroom. At least the dining thing is clean enough to show without feeling sick.
- Tone can be set by having a meal because the food and drink can be used as atmosphere. Whether I do it consciously or not, I’ve used them to set a specific stage. Consider three of the most common drinks in fiction, especially fantasy. Water is casual and can show a moment where simplicity is more important than taste. Ale tends to be found in taverns where guards are let down and there is a casual friendliness to the scene. Finally, wine denotes a fancy event and raises the expectation for manners and etiquette.
- To be completely honest, I find food and drink actions to be some of the easiest ones to interject into scenes. People will naturally stop talking to take a drink or eat some food without losing too much of a step in a conversation. We probably all know somebody who will take their time drinking in order to gather their thoughts. These bring about a much more visual picture than using nothing more than facial expressions and voice tone. Also, I write adventures that require my characters be on the move, so food and drink are top of the supply list.
Again, a big thanks to Karen for hosting me while I promote Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age. Hope to see people in the comments and please feel free to check out the finale.
Author Bio & Social Media
Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.
All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN
Dear friends and readers,
thank you for reading my blog in 2017.
I am looking forward to seeing you again in 2018. 🙂
Happy New Year!
Peace, coffee, and a cheesecake. 🍀🍀🍀