Lois Leveen

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June 7, 2012

The Mouthfeel of Fiction

Is the sexiest writing about food, rather than, well, sex?

If you’ve ever participated in a writing workshop, you’ve probably heard the mantra “Show, don’t tell.” Rather than declaring that a character “is” a certain way, we writers are charged with describing a detail or, better yet, an action that reveals something about a character — the more visceral, the better. Showing allows a reader to experience something along with the characters, to recognize some aspect of character for themselves.

Maybe because my best writerly procrastination involves snacking, when I’m looking to show rather than tell, I often create scenes that involve cooking and eating. Passages that appeal to the sense of taste, and to smell and touch as well, draw readers in. Done well, such passages show more about characters than merely what they’re having for dinner.

For some examples, include an incredibly erotic poem that's about pie baking, check out this article at Culinate, one of my favorite foodie magazines.

BONUS!!!! Post an example on Culinate of a literary food scene that draws you in, and you could win a copy of The Secrets of Mary Bowser.
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