Friday, December 3, 2010

Writing Tip -- The senses - Third book in contest

Before I hit the senses I'll announce the winner of book 2 in this mad contest. Cindy has won The Warrior of Bast. The next book up has a change of pace since it's a contemporary romance that;s actually a farce. A nurse/doctor romance written with tongue in cheek. Remember all you need to do to win is either be a member or post a comment on one of the blogs.

Here's a bit about Shortcut To Love. Zelda has loved Michael for most of her life but he seems to be working through the alphabet in his search for a wife. She's a Z and it will be years before he reaches her. Besides when they're together, strange events occur, usually to him. How can this nurse show the doctor shes' what he ordered to make his life complete?

There is no first chapter of this up as yet. Sometimes my ideas happen faster than I can make them happen.

Using the senses when writing adds depth to the prose. While there are 5 senses, those who write fantasy or science fiction can come up with 6. But I won't get into that this time. Maybe someday in the future I'll look at all the sixth sense encompasses. Think of the senses as the spice added to a soup or roast to enhance the flavor. Try not to get carried away and over spice your fiction though. This is like modifying too much.

Of the five senses, the one most used by writers of fiction is sight but often this is used in a pedestrian way. Such as he saw the old man. What you need to do is to add touches. suck as instead of she saw whatever, think something like this. She jumped back. The creature crawling on the sands reminded her of a giant spider. Gives a picture that could enchant or frighten.

Taste is another sense to use. Not only when the characters are eating food but there are other tastes. The acridness of the air puckered her mouth. This is probably a cliche, when his lips met hers, the bitterness of coffee startled her.

Smell. This is a great sense to use. Smells often bring memories to mind. The antiseptic hospital aroma made her sneeze and brought to mind other times, other hospitals and other tragedies in her life. The aroma of fresh baked cookies wrapped around her and sent her back to the days of her youth. Her nose wrinkled at the odors wafting from the unwashed body.

Touch. Often ignored but think of running a hand over the soft nap of velvet or the crisp stiffness of starched cotton. Think of the softness of a baby's skin or the roughness of a worker's hands. Feeding touch into the story can help the reader envision the characters, the setting and thus the story better.

Sound is another scent that can often be used in a pedestrian way. He heard footsteps. How much better is the scuff of leather on the concrete alerted him. Someone followed. Friend or foe?

So remember to use the senses in both dialogue and prose scenes. The senses can give a character flavor, advance the plot or to slip in a bit of needed information.


Elena Gray said...

Like the concept for Shortcut To Love. I'm curious as to how it's going to turn out. I agree about the senses...I'm able to become more involved in a story if I feel like I'm right there with them.

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Asylumgirl said...

Using the senses to tell a story can definitely pull readers in.

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