Today, Monday, I am waiting for the electrician to arrive to complete a job begun last week. (Pleased to report that I can now use the toaster without it putting all the lights out.) Doing essential work in the house involves a lot of waiting for appointments. I am not good at this - I can't completely settle to anything while I am listening for the door bell. Writing the blog is fine, because I can save it for later and it won't spoil.
This got me thinking about the everyday things that you rarely read in books. How many times do you see the hero wrestle with the recycling or put out the rubbish? (Actually one of Greg Hurwitz's Orphan X series has the hero doing just that, for a young woman he's rescuing from a couple of thugs - if my memory serves. I know it amused me when I read it. Good for Greg.)
How many heroines have sat waiting for the gas man to knock on the door, rather than the hero? (And yes, sometimes the gas man would be more welcome!) I have written a waiting for the gas man scene - it was Cassie, in A Wedding on the Riviera, whose job as a concierge meant that she waited in for tradesmen professionally for clients. And it moved the plot along, so it was necessary.
|I like cooking, although I don't often make bread. |
I know that reading about the ordinary stuff is not very exciting. Characters in books live in a special place and we probably prefer that, but maybe I'll think about putting some more real life in the next book? Cleaning windows? Changing the battery in the clock? Folding towels and putting them away? My characters often cook, so that's something, I suppose, but then that is something I enjoy. Cleaning anything? Not so much. Of course there is a lot of gardening in A Villa in Portofino, so that's work - but restoring a neglected Italian garden isn't quite the same as turning over the compost heap on the allotment.
Thinking more about it, maybe right now we don't need too much real life? There is plenty of that about at the moment. Too much, in fact.
I'm an unashamedly escapist writer - for myself when I'm writing and for my readers when the book is finished. Sunshine, beautiful surroundings, suspense and romance - that is what it's about. A different lifestyle - and much better weather! That's the world I run away to, but maybe I will find a small space in the next book for cleaning the cooker or watering the plants. Contrast might make it more interesting?
Something to ponder.