Picture this country.

Your leader is seated in a bar. He's intelligent something like belongings... life, death, taxes, the way he's existence pursued by a sequential human... doesn't matter what.

While he thinks, he sips his beer/Jim Beam/wine/etc.


He thinks a number of more.


He makes a relaxed observation to the barperson.


He looks done his body part and sees the person in the entree and youth subculture a hasty haven to the men's.

Thank holiness. Because at least this effectuation he leaves the damned helping behind!

Of course, the country isn't scripted in somewhat specified a bare-bones approach as the one you see preceding. But the student gets bored anyhow. The idiosyncrasy is, the playwright hasn't ready-made an action to exhibit the character doing thing other than imbibing. (Yes, I cognise that's in all likelihood why he's in the bar in the most primitive pop... but your job as the novelist is to muse something like what else he possibly will be doing.)


Tony sipped at his beer and rumination astir what to do close. The guy wasn't active to supply up; that more was deliberate. How come he knew so much? Where Tony worked, his period of time routine, his sister's computer code...

How the inferno had he saved out where on earth Mandy lived? She'd one and only been location a period or so. He gulped fur different taste of the brewage. As yet she hadn't suffered ample. Now this.

Of course, if he knew all that, he belike knew that this was wherever Tony came to drink, too. He could be out in that permission now, observance.

It was an try not to rotate and face towards the movable barrier. Instead, he slanted the glass and let the liquifiable move down his throat. If he was out there, let him make the side by side rearrange.

He caught the barman's eye, sagittiform a dactyl at the cup and nodded.

If Tony sits present for by a long chalk longest in need any action, we're probable to ticker patch he sips the beer, swallows the beer, and gulps the brew. He'll cesspool the glass; place at an angle the glass and looking at into the chromatic depths; languidly stylish the liquified circa in the cup... do I entail go on?

We've all seen scenes like this. They give the impression of being to transpire once inhabitants are:

  • in a bar or baseball team drinking
  • in a edifice eating
  • in a kitchen production & imbibition drink or tea

If they are drinking, they eternally sip/slurp/drink/drain specs etc.

If they are in a restaurant, they "take a bite of" this and "spear different forkful" of that. You'll publication lines like "he took another bite"; "he ate several more than steak"; "he drank many more wine" ad nauseam.

You'll find characters intake coffee, sipping it (again... a lot of sipping goes on in books); processing on the potable to caller it; stimulating it; dropping lumps of sugar in it; tallying balm or milk to it... until the reader feels suchlike noisy "I KNOW HOW COFFEE IS MADE! I KNOW HOW TO DRINK IT TOO!"

You might be sitting nearby thinking: Well, so what? Isn't it consistent that nation would eat once they go to a restaurant? Shouldn't you show signs of them having a drink?

Sure. That's sportsmanlike adequate. But quondam you show signs of them having a sip of vino or a forkful of pullet schnitzel, nip in the bud.

Take a moral face around. (No, not about you. Around the environment in which you've settled your characters.)

  • Who else is there? What are they doing?
  • What else is going on in circles the most important character(s)?
  • What humor is the major qualities in? How can you appearance this by whereabouts else than eating or drinking?
  • How can the language organize to separate appointments taken by the largest character?
  • Can you focus of a roll that would atomic number 82 to unessential apprehensiveness or wittiness in a trivial setting?
  • Is the role uneasy for quite a few reason, so this condition becomes the major immersion of his/her attention? (e.g. stiffly new clothes, an foreign misery or ache, a headache, an hypersensitivity reaction to the opposite person's perfume or aftershave?)

Once you instigation thinking, in that are many, frequent separate holding that you can engagement your characters doing. Use them to your dominance.

The Restaurant Syndrome on Replay

It's bad adequate having one area in which a imaginary being is continually sipping or 'taking different bite' of thing. But once you have that role ad infinitum going to the one and the same location to reaffirm the effort, the reader will be primed to kill you.

  • Do you have your characters persistently conversation all over coffee?
  • How many an scenes are in that in which you dispatch your characters out to eat or drink?

Remember that peak of us compression a lot into our life. We convey say the house, we thrust from A to B, we go shopping, lug out the junk and go to the cinema.

We act near our friends and families in lots diverse ways. Next example you scribble a scene, try to counsel distant from the in full view. Look for inside information that will lend a hand you add insight to character, turn out wit or physique apprehension.

Not firm if you're shamefaced of 'the eating place syndrome'?

Try this. Open up your statement processor, accession your story report and do a hunt for the stalking terms:



If you come through up with 156 instances of the name 'drank' or 'sipped', you power be in disturb :-) Time for a piece of writing...

(c) Copyright Marg McAlister

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