Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Breakfast Special

I'm resurrecting something I posted last spring over at the Romance Writers Unlimited blog. I think it warrants a repeat performance (sorry, Wordtryst, you saw this before).



She shuffles across the worn tiled floor and plucks her pencil from behind her ear. "Hi, I'm Belinda. What'll ya have?"

You pluck a laminated piece of cardboard from between the ketchup and the chrome napkin holder, and notice the All-Day Breakfast Special. For only $3.99 you get three eggs, bacon or sausage, toast, potatoes and juice, accompanied by a bottomless cup of coffee. Sounds good. "Gimme the Breakfast Special."

"Fried, boiled or scrambled?"

"Scrambled."

"Bacon or sausage?"

"Brown or white?"

"Hash browns or home fries?"

"Apple or orange?"

"Decaf or regular?"

In about ten minutes, you have a satisfying plate of Coronary Club for just under four bucks.

Let's mosey down the street to a high-end bistro.

A carefully coiffed waiter approaches, handing over a leather-bound folder.

"Good morning, my name is Alphonse but you can call me Al." Your new best friend slides into the booth and leans forward with a friendly smile. "Our special this morning is the Petit Déjeuner a la New Orleans. It consists of fluffy, mouth-watering scrambled free-range Omega-3 eggs, three crisp slices of grain-fed pancetta, artisan bread toasted to golden perfection, sautéd sliced Yukon gold potatoes, fresh squeezed organic orange juice and a steaming cup of cappuccino made from Fair Trade coffee beans, roasted on the premises."

"Sounds great. How much is it?"

"Only $13.99."

Hell, when you describe it like that, it must be worth the extra ten bucks! Imaginative copy writing has raised the lowly breakfast to a culinary delight.

In case you don't know where I'm going with this, let's discuss one of the Cardinal Sins of the Novel Writer: Telling instead of Showing.

Telling: The barn was burned down.

Showing:
All that remained of the century old barn was a jumble of smoking, blackened lumber surrounded by a low foundation of mottled gray stone. The singed bricks forming the silo stood alone at the rear of the mess, a few forlorn bits of insulation flapping in the cold breeze at its severed summit.

Telling:
He missed his wife.

Showing:

He felt the old, familiar ache lurking around the corner. It advanced until it became a sharp pain. He balled the socks in his hand and gazed at the photo, concentrating on Marion's smile and the warm look in her eyes. He looked at the socks. Normally he would have just left them on the floor, but thinking of Marion, he took the trouble to place them in the hamper.

Can you think of a way to jazz up a menu? Let's try putting a hamburger or shepherd's pie into the Hamptons bracket.

Excerpt One is from my Romantic Suspense, Bad Ice. Excerpt Two is from my WIP, The Yearbook.

8 comments:

Bernita said...

Good one!

BernardL said...

Two great examples.

The Anti-Wife said...

Well done and good points. What can you do with meatloaf?

ORION said...

"I'll have what she's having..."

circa Harry met Sally

Chumplet said...

I LOVE Harry Met Sally! I have the DVD.

Meatloaf. Hmm.... let's see...

"Today's special is an individually formed loaf of minced Angus beef baked with diced root vegetables in a savoury tomato sauce."

How's that?

Kanani said...

I'll have the omlet, --leave the cheese on the side, and the bacon? Crisp, but not so crisp that it breaks up all over the plate. Toast -sour dough with margarine, not butter, on the side. Raspberry jam, but if you don't have it apricot will do. And don't forget coffee with cream on the side, but make sure the cup is hot before you pour in the coffee. Got it?"

Chumplet said...

Kanani, your Sally is showing...

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