Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Tuesday's Inspiration with Henry James
"Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost." Henry James
A bit of conversation over heard. An aroma that triggers some emotion. A scene between two people who appear to be fighting, The feel of a piece of cloth beneath your fingers. A burst of spice in the food you've eaten. That feeling you know what someone is thinking.
All of the above are ways into a story. All of the five senses plus that one we read about but have no idea if ESP really exists but it's something to throw into the writer's imagination.
For some writers in the heat of getting words on paper they forget or ignore the senses. Other writers pile on detail after detail until the reader becomes confused. Then there are writers who put just the right touch at the right time and the reader is sucked into the time and place of a story.
Which writer are you? For me, I tend to be the first kind of writer but I've learned to do more than one draft and the second one is where I work to develop the right amount of sensory stimulation to draw the reader into my world. I don't always succeed. Often as a writer, I get so focused on sight and sound I forget about the other senses. Now the sixth one, I often use especially when I'm writing fantasies.
But to get back to Henry James use your senses when you're away from your desk, computer or pen and paper and absorb those scenes you view. I remember once going to a fabric store, not to buy, but to touch all the different weaves of cloth. Stand in a bakery or a restaurant and absorb the spices. Taste food and let the flavors become a memory you can put on paper in one of your stories.