Friday, October 25, 2013

Painting with Sensory Words

By Maggie

I love the variety of fall weather, especially here in Fort Collins, where we`ve had late spring temperatures to snowfall this month. And most days, the brilliant Colorado sun is the star of the show. My faithful dog companion, Manny, and I love our walks to the beautiful park down the street. Some days he`s on a mission to sniff every inch of grass, other days to taste each blade in his path, confirming for me that he does, indeed, have OCD, Obsessive Canine Disorder. But, whatever his reasons are, I have to say the dog delights in his world by making full use of all his senses. The worlds we create for our human readers should provide a full experience for their senses, as well. I need to remind myself how important it is to paint with words.

The easy one is describing to our readers what can be seen. Most of us need to remember the importance of the other four senses: taste, touch, smell, and sound. I know writers who are expert at this. One of my writing goals is to incorporate all the senses in my fiction without them sounding contrived and deliberate.

Oh, and one final reminder from DESCRIPTION by Monica Wood:
``It`s easy to get lost in the beauty of your own prose when describing setting, but you can`t afford to forget for one moment that you are writing a story. Every beat of the prose must have some bearing on the story you wish to reveal.``

Ah, moving the story forward: a blog post for another day.

How about you- do your words paint description which includes all the senses?


Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Maggie -- I tend to go back after I've completed a first draft and look for places I can enhance the setting or characterization with sensory details. I have to be careful about overdoing it though. My editor is very strict about pacing...and too many descriptive details slow down the action.

Lynn said...

Love the quote by Monica Wood, I jotted that one down. I agree with Pat -- it's too much pressure to focus a lot on the senses in the 1st draft. In revision you can actually scan and ask, "What does the reader see, hear, taste, etc.?" Lately, I'm trying to be aware of words that do double-duty, like verbs that are both active and evoke the scene... a branch that waggles, for example, in a more whimsical setting. That kind of thing. Good post - thanks.

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