Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Exciting the Senses

Senses can excite!

Creating a world that is richly laced with the senses is what your reader wants. Have you ever read a story with none of the senses used? I bet it was a pretty boring story, eh? Senses bring your story to life in ways generic writing never will.

When we talk, we use our senses don’t we? When we communicate what we saw today, or heard on the radio, or ate for lunch etc. etc., we use our senses also. So why when you write wouldn't you want to leave the reader with a rich frothy taste in his mouth and weave your images into his mind like a finely crocheted afghan?

The best lesson I learned in writing was making use of the senses. It livened up my work like a fourth of July fireworks display and made my words dance to their own lively tune. This is what I want YOU to accomplish in YOUR writing.

When I was young, I remember my mother telling me to, "Act like you have some sense." If she only knew, I write like I have some sense, six of them to be exact.

Senses ~ Sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, and the unknown.

Sight ~ The light shone through the window. The rays danced on the floor. The mountains basked in the glory of the dappling sunshine.

Sound ~ The drumming of my heart was enough to keep me awake. The shrieking car peeled out of the parking lot. The church bells played a somber tune.

Smell ~ Ahh the fresh aroma of newly cut grass. The scent of grandma’s apple pie wafting through the open window has me wanting some. The tang of vinegar tickled my nose.

Touch ~ The hairbrush was rough on my scalp. The stucco wall left dimples in my hands when I fell into it. The cars hood was scorching hot!

Taste ~ The dill pickle was bitter after eating pretzels. The lemonade was sweet to my tongue’s palette. Grandma’s apple pie tasted delicious after it finally cooled down.

Unknown ~ I wonder if the sun always does a pirouette across the waves?
I’m wondering if Grandma is thinking about me up there in heaven.

The unknown is the tricky sense that we use to bring home our thoughts. The unknown can be as exciting as the rest of the senses if used wisely. Use it in your writing so the reader can touch base with you, the narrator. It gives the reader a glimpse into your thoughts.

Can you see what is in front of you right now? On your desk?
Can you smell the pans that you left on the stove from tonight’s dinner? Old coffee sitting in the coffeepot?
Can you taste the leftover spaghetti in your throat? A lit match might leave a sulfuric taste.
Can you hear your computer humming? A fire engine racing by?
Can you feel the stiffness of your chair and how it is making your butt hurt?
Do you ever wonder what it would be like if you won a million dollars? Can you imagine what life is like on other planets?

Bring it home for me. Take advantage of the six senses in your writing. Make your writing jump out and speak to me. Go ahead, I know you can do it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very inspiring, Joni.

I think you've done great bringing out the importance of the senses. Now, are there five, six or eight senses?
Always get them mixed up. lol

Be good.