Writing Senses

Waves crashed against the sand. The sun warm my skin. I turned my head, face against the wind. Salty and wet, it whipped strands of my hair around my cheeks and nose.

Sounds like the beach, huh? That’s the point. Even better with writing is the fact that it can truly feel like you are some place as well.

I have to say that I really like movies. I really like seeing a world dreamed up by someone else’s imagination. But, when it comes to books, I LOVE books. I love them even more because while the world is painted by another person’s words, the images that come to me are uniquely my own. What I feel is uniquely my own too. Part of the challenge as an author is creating these sensations so strongly that our readers feel and envision what we want them to. I know that it will still be unique to them but if I get it close I’m happy. Still, it is something to account for as we think of our readers. How do you awaken the senses the way you want to? For instance, if instead of the first paragraph, I had written this next one, how would you feel?

Waves crashed against the sand. Despite the warmth of the sun, goose bumps popped up along my arms and down the back of my neck. I shivered, turned my head, face against the wind. Wet and angry, it whipped strands of my hair around my cheeks and nose.

The first seems to feel somewhat comforting while the second is cold, maybe even unsettling but we really need to wait and find out. Why is that? A lot of it is description, but touching on the senses (especially ones that are familiar to us) conjures associations and certain feelings in each of us. The difficulty at times is that we aren’t always able to judge in our own writing how we feel about a scene, especially after we’ve tinkered with it for the two-hundredth time. My recommendation? Take a break, come back to it later (even if the break is a week or two or longer). That is why it helps to go straight through at times when you are doing that first draft. Second, work with a critique partner or have a friend read it and then tell you how it made them feel. Does it hit the mark? Let me know if this works or if you have suggestions you’d like to share.

Good luck and happy writing this week!

This entry was posted in A writer's life, Toni Kelly, Writing Topics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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