One of the ways I try to improve my writing is by adding texture to my scenes. One way to do this is enhance my description. Why have someone fix a sandwich with whole wheat bread when they can use a Telera roll? Maybe the character bakes these from her great grandma’s recipe, and it’s a comfort food for her.
Every Christmas, my sister and I make bäkkels from our Norwegian grandmother’s handwritten recipe book. The whole process means we’re carrying on a tradition in our family. That’s one more thing you know about me.
If I have a character who dreams of going to France, maybe she buys a loaf at a boulangerie (It’s really a bakery), takes it home and eats chunks of it on the front steps of the apartement she rents in Milwaukee. She uses the French spelling and pronunciation, which strikes some people as annoying. But, she won’t give up her dream. Baguettes described from her POV involve the look, feel, smell, and taste of the bread as she sits and dreams. Readers learn more about this character.
As much as I’d love to have my texturing done in the first draft, I don’t manage to get it right the first time around. I have to get to know more about my characters as I write their story before I can add texture. I go back and put in those eccentricities that make them unique.
I’ve addressed how to make characters more unique through texturing, but it doesn’t end there. Setting, dialogue, and POV must also be textured into my story to make it memorable.
What is your process for adding texture and layers to your stories?