When writing a fantasy novel, is it necessary to describe what the characters eat?

13 Answers

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  • 2 weeks ago

    Only if it's important to the story.

  • Prince
    Lv 6
    3 weeks ago

    It's optional. Roger Zelazny used it to good effect in his novel, "Nine Princes in Amber". Told in first person narrative by the protagonist Carl Corey (Corwin) his telling the reader how good his steak was really drew you into the story in a personal and intimate way. So tragic that brilliant writers like Zelazny and Marion Zimmer Bradley died right around age fifty.

  • F
    Lv 6
    3 weeks ago

    If they were cannibals , yes. If a scene is set in a restaurant is would be strange not to. 

    Also if a character had a quirk and always ate a particular thing (Kojak) or maybe an allergy that had some significance to the plot.

  • Marli
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    If it is essential, yes. Otherwise, no.  Dr. Seuss said that the Whos feasted on "roast beast" on Christmas Day. He didn't say what the beast looked like or how it was cooked.  It wasn't an essential fact.

    If an explorer to America was presented with his first meal of potatoes, turkey, "Indian corn" , tomatoes and vegetables that were not known in Europe, his reactions to the meal would be significant to his relations with his hosts.

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  • 3 weeks ago

    If it doesn't further the actual plot,  it's not necessary.  Is the food pertinent to the storyline,  does it need to be in there?

  • 3 weeks ago

    Generally include things that contribute to the plot, fill in useful background, or make characters clear.  So a passing character mentioned only once or twice there probably would be no point mentioning hair color, but a food allergy might be significant to the plot.

    In my novel coming out late this month there are two main characters, cousins.  One comes across as more intelligent, the other as chasing girls everywhere.  But other than greedy for money their other personal characteristics are down-played.

  • 3 weeks ago

    Of course it's not "necessary". But  most people would be interested in knowing what kind of food people ate in a world different from their own.

  • Huh?
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    Generally there's no need to go into any great detail, although there might be instances where it is useful information. 

    For instance, in the Michael Moorcock novel 'The Knight of the Swords', the hero is not human but a Vadhagh, essentially a Tolkienian Elf without the immortality or religious and mystical overtones. His family castle is destroyed and he is tortured by human raiders but is rescued by other humans and while recuperating has to eat their food, which he finds almost unbearably heavy. It's a way of impressing how rarefied and cultured the Vadhagh were compared to humans.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    You only add details that are necessary to the plot and characters. As an example:  is it necessary to describe dragonriders  eating sheep or fairies drinking nectar from buttercups? 

  • Andrew
    Lv 7
    3 weeks ago

    Yes. Didn't they teach you that in your classes on "literature"? 

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