Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blueberry Lemonade (The Taste of Research)

Beth, one of the main characters in Salvation, the book I am writing now, likes blueberry lemonade. I learned this yesterday. Discovery is one of the things I love the most about writing. Every day, every revision, there are discoveries.

I didn’t know there was such a thing as blueberry lemonade. But here was the problem. Beth said that plain lemonade was too ordinary. She is not ordinary.

And she couldn’t have strawberry lemonade because she was going to have strawberry shortcake. And you don’t want to reuse the word strawberry too many times on a page. Not only would it be repetitive, but it’s a three-syllable word, which can be an issue when writing YA. I mean, you want to make your three-syllable words count.

So at this point, I knew I had to do some research. There were raspberries, but this would be two red berries in the same scene, and Beth and I both felt that that was inadequate. We had already determined that this was a very colorful scene.

So I tried searching “flavored lemonade” on Google images. This resulted in all kinds of weird things. Ginger lemonade. Beth is definitely not stuffy enough for ginger. She is all for vintage, but not uptight old-fashioned. And there was tarragon-flavored lemonade. What the heck is tarragon? Neither Beth nor I have any desire to find out. And pomegranate? We don’t think so. And lavender? That is just a little too soap-like for Beth.

So we returned to the berries. And blueberries are blue. Beth is a fan of bubble-gum ice cream, also blue. And we agreed that while we couldn’t get away with repeating the word strawberry, the repetition of the second half of the word wouldn’ t be bad. After all, once we introduce the lemonade as blueberry, we don’t have to again. Because the reader will know.

Plus, Beth is rather fond of blueberry lemonade.


  1. Personally, I am a deep and abiding lover of Blackberry Lemonade!

    Beth sounds like a terrific character - cannot wait to meet her:)

  2. I never drink blueberry lemonade woow!
    Beth is a character so much fun, she is best friends or girlfriend's Salva?

  3. BLUEBERRY LEMONADE! I love it! Beth sounds awesome. Very full of life. :)

    I remember being a few chapters into my story and found out that my character, Arden, absolutely loved Sherlock Holmes. I didn't discover until the very last moment that she also carried a switchblade at her ankle (which she had a license for, by the way) and a Smith & Wesson S.O.R.T knife with a combo blade in her pocket.

    Interesting what your characters can churn out at the last moment.

  4. blueberry lemonade sounds awesome!! yay for your character for choosing it :)

  5. Hi Olive,

    As far as Salva is concerned at the beginning of the book, Beth is the walking disaster area. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

  6. Awesome. :) Though I do personally prefer strawberry.