Thursday, June 11, 2020

Are You Hungry? By Patti Jo Moore

Chances are if you grew up in the South, many of your memories are associated with food. Even if you grew up somewhere else, this could also be true. But since I’m a lifelong southerner who writes stories set in the southern states, much of my writing is based on personal experience over the years. For example, if someone has a baby, has had surgery, or lost a loved one, the neighbors prepare a meal and deliver to that family’s door. So many events in life seem to be connected to food, whether it’s happy or sad times.

For southerners, some of our best conversations take place over a meal. I have fond memories of taking breakfast to my Daddy when I was eager to tell him I was expecting my third child (who would be named after him). Mama already knew my news, so she played along. 😊 You likely have some special memories of your own that were shared over a meal, and some of us even favor certain foods because we relate them to a happy time.

With this being said, I personally enjoy including meal scenes in my stories. A lot. Sometimes too much! I’ve read articles about limiting these scenes, and I know that’s important. After all, we don’t want a character to consume enough meals in one chapter to gain ten pounds. 😉 This is where a good editor comes in handy, as s/he can let you know that you’re overdoing the food scenes. Note: If your story is based on a food establishment (bakery, café, etc.), then you’d certainly need more of these scenes, of course.

There are other details we need to be careful of when mentioning food or drink in our stories. For example, I read a wonderful story a few years ago that featured a scene in a coffee shop. A woman had ordered a cup of coffee and was waiting for it to be brewed. As she sat at a table waiting, she took a sip of coffee. Wait---what? I don’t mention this being critical, but when a reader is visualizing your character, even a small detail can snap the reader out of that moment.

We also need to be careful when we give a specific name to our fictional eating establishment. In my first series, set on the Florida panhandle coast, I featured a delightful seafood restaurant named The Happy Fisherman. I had to be careful, because a time or two, I’d typed The Hungry Fisherman. Oops! Maybe a small detail, but we don’t want our readers to be pulled out of our story or be confused.

Something that might influence your mention of food scenes is how you are feeling as you write. Are you sleepy? Tired? Hungry? If my stomach is growling as I write about a couple’s date in a restaurant, I could easily get carried away in describing their meal. I tend to do my best writing if I’m not hungry, but also not stuffed from a big meal (nap, anyone?). As in so much of life, moderation is the key. I’ll continue featuring my restaurant and other food-related scenes, but will try not to overdo. Now if you’d care to join me, I’m going to have some southern fried chicken, biscuits, and banana pudding. Just come on in and have a seat! 😉

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8

Sadie's Dream

In a coastal Georgia town in 1900, a young woman prepares to serve as a missionary in Africa.

After being jilted the previous year, she's certain she's meant to remain single.

When she meets a handsome businessman from Savannah, she begins struggling with doubts.

Over time she learns that the Lord's plans are best, and dreams really can come true.

Patti Jo Moore is a retired kindergarten teacher and lifelong Georgia girl. She loves Jesus, her family, cats, and coffee, and is blessed to be published with Forget-Me-Not Romances. When she’s not spending time with her family (including her two sweet grandbabies) or writing her “Sweet, Southern Stories” Patti Jo can be found feeding cats—her own six and local strays.

She loves connecting with readers and other writers, and can be found on Facebook at Author Patti Jo Moore or her personal blog at