One of the foundational parts of writing a novel is building the world in which the novel takes place. Authors have to create the sights, sounds, smells, and what sorts of people and other things will be in this world. What makes the world interesting and believable? How will characters in this world handle situations?
One method I use in world building is to dive into it and learn first-hand. The main character in my current work in progress manages a bar, so I spent last Friday morning shadowing a successful Dallas-area bar manager to learn what happens before the doors open.
Technology has changed almost everything about how a bar/restaurant operates since I’ve been in the business. The most surprising is how precise they can be when planning promotions. Not to go all corporate on you, but even small businesses can use software to do what’s called predictive ordering. If the bar wants to have a Wednesday $1.50 wells special on the same night as a shrimp and grits special, the software helps calculate the precise profit margin and adjust to reach the right mix.
For years now, they’ve used technology to order and receive deliveries almost real-time. Paperless ordering takes away the old-school slips of paper clipped to the wall, so the only reason servers need to go to the kitchen is to pick up an order—or fix one. And the crew no longer hears that recognizable click when they clock in and out.
What hasn’t changed is how the crew and customers create the environment. Alcohol still causes drama, and the later the hour, the more drama there is. It’s the mix of people and personalities that turn the bar into a living, breathing character.
Cheers to Ashley Reeves at Shuck ‘N Jive in Richardson, Texas. People like Ashley inspire me to create smart, strong, beautiful inside-and-out characters that are also very human. Ashley is also a big reader and her son has picked up on her love for reading. Real characters are relatable. We see a bit of ourselves and people we know, love, and hate in them. It’s up to authors to create the characters and their world that makes books fun to read.
When it’s time to learn, dive in!
Tweet this: Cheers to Ashley Reeves at Shuck N Jive in Richardson, Texas. People like Ashley inspire me to create smart, strong, beautiful inside-and-out characters that are also very human. http://addisonbrae.com/?p=1132&preview=true #BeckerCircle #Writing