Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Routine Chores by Morgan Mandel

Today I've been busy doing routine chores, starting with fixing breakfast, letting the dog out, checking email, cleaning house.

When you're writing a book, it's a good idea to add some routine chores to make a character seem real. The trick is not to add to many of them, otherwise your book will slow down and become boring.

Another fun thing to do when writing about routine chores is to somehow give them a special significance, such as, by changing one small factor in the process.

A character could be fixing breakfast and the stove would blow up.
Letting the dog out and it starts growling because there's someone lurking in the yard.
Checking emails and finding a sinister message.

What other scenarios can you think for putting a twist on routine chores?



Morgan Mandel



http://morganmandel.blogspot.com/
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17 comments:

P.I. Barrington said...

Well, I like the stove blowing up. It immediately made me (& others I'm sure!)think murder! What a great way to introduce a murder or major plot point--I see exactly what you mean--someone doing something totally innocuous and getting blown away while doing it!

Lucille said...

How about cleaning the carpet and finding a stain that turns out to be the blood left over after you kill your husband. Now the forensics experts will know who did the man in. :) Those are great ideas. In your next story, use the open the door and dog growls idea. Do you mind if i steal this idea? :)

Mona Risk said...

I like to have the interesting conversation--spilling the backstory-- over breakfast or dinner.

Little Pickle Press said...

How about while you are vacuuming in your robe and fuzzy slippers your Prince Charming rings the doorbell. LOL. Thanks for the technique and the diversion, Morgan.

Lucille said...

Little Pickle has an excellent idea for a romance story. However, I did read a romance once that started out with Prince Charming knocking on the door, although the woman wasn't in her slippers and housecoat. But you can always use a twist like, he turns out to be a dud, but his friend, brother, whoever is connected to him, turns out to be the hero. Talk about some conflict in that situation.

Bob Sanchez said...

Just the concept of a person doing (or not doing) routine chores can reveal character traits. The stove doesn't have to blow up necessarily, though that's a nice touch. What about the stove's layers of grease dating back to Herbert Hoover?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Baking a cake while the conversation of two characters escalates. (I used this, although no cakes blew up in the process.)

Morgan Mandel said...

Lucille, I'm sure the dog growling would be common in many books, so go for it if you want it.

All of you have some great ideas!

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
http://facebook.com/morgan.mandel

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Routine training mission interupted by enemy spacehips!
Okay, not everyone will be able to use that one...

V.R. Leavitt said...

Very good advice for spicing up any story. Having the character do something routine also helps the reader identify with the character. So when that crazy thing DOES happen, the reader is even more swept into the story.

Deb Larson said...

I like the procrastination approach. Putting something off til it can no longer be ignored and that task catapults into something significant - silly or serious!
DL Larson

Lucille said...

My cakes burn when I'm one of the characters. :)

Lucille said...

Yep, you're right about that. Probably used to be more prevalent than it is today which would explain why I've never seen it. Usually the dog will growl or bark before the knock comes on the door. Not a good idea at all. Too common place.

Lucille said...

That's a great idea! I'm thinking of using that one, ok?

Anonymous said...

How about having them do something ordinary in a new and different way? That's always fun :).

liana laverentz said...

That was me, being anonymous...

Morgan Mandel said...

Who'd know that routine could be fun! When I try to think up a blog topic, my mind goes to what's been happening lately, so that's how routine got to be in here.

Morgan Mandel