Nothing spices up writing than focusing on some food! If it organically becomes a part of the story, all the better. I’ve written about researching before in terms of the necessity of it to the fun of it. This time, researching is a true pleasure. So I’m working on my contemporary fantasy piece (I’ve called it paranormal romance before, but I’m not sure if that category fits as well since the love story isn’t the primary part). The setting for it takes place in and around Charleston, SC. This is not by accident. I love Charleston, and I love the sea islands surrounding that area.

Shrimp & Grits


If you haven’t been to Charleston, let me be the one to encourage you to find a way to get there. It’s as beautiful as the pictures show. The historic downtown area is truly gorgeous. The architecture matches the fantasy of Southern charm. And there are restaurants galore in the area with everything from top notch chefs re-imagining Southern cuisine to small cafes offering down home cooking. I love going there on missions to find the best. I’ve done one where I ate every version of shrimp and grits I could eat. I’ve tried everyone’s she-crab soup. Fried green tomatoes – I’ll eat them any way they are fixed!

Okay, even writing this blog is making my mouth drool. So the smart thing I ended up doing was putting my love for the area and especially for the food into my WIP. I find that the food really does help with the feeling of regionalism for the setting. Plus, I added a restaurant with its owner/cook as a major point to the story. Am I crafty or what?

I’m very familiar with the area because I have close family that lives there. Last time I was there, I got really inspired by several places and started cooking up an idea for a novel which is now the basis for my WIP. The fun thing is that I’m on deadline to finish by May because I’m scheduling a longer trip down into the area so I can match details, add what I’ve missed, and get things right. That means I may have to do some real research by eating. Ah, the plight of the writer who researches. My stomach growls in anticipation!

I’m finding that because I added something into my writing that makes me giggle and something that allows for my protagonist to connect with in terms of the setting, it is adding more life to the narrative. I’m not sure whether or not it’s necessary to find something like food to make that connection in every piece of writing. But the more important observation is that if I’m connecting more to the writing, then the writing gains more life – and that can’t be a bad thing.