Today we pick up where we left off yesterday in talking about Exercising Sensory Perception.
When you are describing that Florida coastline, palm trees swaying, consider letting your readers feel the grit of the sand, taste the brine, smell the car exhaust, hear the pounding surf.
I'm not saying that every time you describe something, you have to include all five senses. But, certainly, try to throw in more than just what can be seen. Yes, this harkens back to the old saying of Show, Don't Tell, but it's more than that. I'm saying, yes, Don't Tell, but also Don't Just Show. At least not in the sense of letting the reader "see" everything. There's more to life than what we can see.
You can write about a small girl in an orchard, picking a fresh peach. You can describe the trees, what the girl is wearing, the color of the fruit. Now, close your eyes and go beyond sight. How does the peach feel in her hands? How does it smell? Is the sun hot? The tree shade cool? How does the peach taste? Does it drip down her chin? Is it sticky? How does the wind sound as it ripples through the leaves? Is it loud? Whispering? Does it tickle her skin?
One way to check whether you have Exercised Sensory Power is to take a hard copy of your story or novel and mark it up. Highlight sensory words. Use a different color marker for each of the five senses. My guess is that your work will be primarily the color you chose for sight.
Count your descriptions of each of the five senses. If you're especially weak in one of the senses, go back and find areas or scenes where you could edit. You don't have to go overboard. A little added here and there will greatly enhance your writing, and the reader's experience of your words.
Transport your readers into another world, then make that world real to them by triggering all of their senses. If you use all five senses, chances are you'll also hook your readers emotionally. And once you do that, they'll want more.
So, Exercise Sensory Power.
6 months ago