Author of Middle Grade novels about friendship, family, and figuring out where you fit in.

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Characters Now Eat Seafood (Re-Post)

I'm going through old blog posts from the archives and have decided to re-post a few. Here is one from 2010:

I hate seafood. It's unfortunate, because I live in such a seafood-loving area. I've never been able to stand the smell and the texture of the food. Luckily, I married a man who doesn't like seafood either, so I'm not forced to be around someone else eating it in the house.

Because I find seafood so repulsive (no offense to those who enjoy it, which is most of the world, I think), I never wanted to make my characters eat it. I couldn't stand to write something like, "the waiter brought them their food, the smell of FISH wafting through the air..." because, ick, I don't think I could finish the scene. My characters aren't me, and thus, they don't have to hate seafood too. But it was much more convenient for me if they did hate it, so I wouldn't have to write about it.

But unfortunately for my sad, picky-eating self, I wrote a story in which the main characters love fish, and for a reason. My latest story (well, back in 2010... remember, this is a re-post) is about pets who can communicate with humans. There's a scene where the human protagonist eats lunch with a group of animals. The dogs are eating chicken or some other meat, the birds are eating seeds, and the cats... are eating fish. Of course.

I wasn't going to make the cats allergic to fish, or not in the mood for fish, or plain don't like fish like their dear author over here, but I had to be authentic. (Well, actual authenticity would involve everyone eating bland pet food, but I wanted it to be a little more interesting than that.)

So, I detached myself from my central characters and gave them permission to like things that I really don't like. Sure, I've had my differences with my characters before -- how boring would it be if I only wrote about a bunch of Shelleys? -- but I'd never made them love a food that I totally hate. The mark of a picky eater and picky writer, I guess.

Any readers find it hard to read about something that you really can't stand? Any other writers find it challenging to make your character like something that you definitely do not? Anyone else hate seafood?


Tiana Smith said...

I'm not usually a huge fan of seafood. But it's always interesting when my characters like something I don't!

Lisa Shafer said...

My characters don't eat seafood either!

The most interesting "food writing" I've had to do, though, came from using first person POV with my half-vampire character. Obviously, he enjoys the taste of blood, and I had to find multiple ways to describe this. And, as you might guess, I'm not a big fan of the taste of blood.
I guess if I can write this realistically, I should be able to write about seafood enjoyment. After all, it is FICTION.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I LOVE seafood!! I also love books that have people eating. Eating is such a part of life, and I like to know what food the characters enjoy.

Misha Gericke said...

I don't hate seafood, but I'm not particularly fond of it.

I have had characters do stuff I wouldn't. None of them are exactly like me, so it wouldn't make sense for them to share my interests and dislikes.

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