Craving Meat For A Feast --- by Jane Kelley

Full disclosure:  I love eating tofu. I had some last night. If I do eat meat, I prefer it to be fish or poultry. (I adore Charlotte's Web.) But this post isn't meant to pass judgment about what anyone might actually eat. It's about creating a story people will devour.

So, the other day, I was rewriting a middle-grade novel. No surprise. I'm usually rewriting a middle-grade novel. My agent's main feedback was that I needed to raise the suspense. My villain wasn't as menacing as he should be.  So I was adding a scene where he called my young heroine. Then I thought, wait, why am I allowing technology to put distance between them? My villain needs to go to her house! My villain needs to back her in a corner! My villain needs to be a real threat!

That started me thinking. All too often, when I'm writing, I pull back from the blood and the guts. It's like I don't want to hurt any humans or animals in the process of making my story. I don't want to get dirty by gnawing the bone. 

Sure it's harder to describe an intense fight scene. I've written plenty of passages that inspire more cringes than chills. But that's no excuse. I can write a more delectable scene by following the advice of great cooks. Start fresh. Avoid pre-processed foods. Shun pale substitutes. Spice it up. Be bold!

Which plate makes you hungry for more of the story?

Or this one?

Enjoy the feast!

In case you're wondering, the boys who live next door found those bones in our woods. They probably came from a deer. Unless you'd like to think of a better story.


  1. Wouldn't it be fun to think they were from a new species of...? YOU decide what!

  2. TOTALLY agree about face-to-face contact.

  3. I have the same issue. I love my main characters and hate for them to be hurt in anyway. No more blandness, right!?!


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