Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tips Along the Journey: How to Capture Readers

Happy Wednesday, my writing friends,

Today we’re jumping back into those little tidbits I’m so grateful to have learned along the way. First, we looked at too lee do, then, the imaginary reader, and now the five senses.

For years as a reader who dreamed of writing, I was drawn to books that captured me into the tale, those special novels where I felt transported into the story’s world. I knew if I ever became an author, I’d want to replicate this experience in my own writing.

Early on, I uncovered a key to accomplishing this in a random writing book I found at the library. The author (I don’t remember his name!), recommended using the five senses—hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste—as the way to drag readers in.

Ding! Ding! Ding! I knew I’d hit on something. Previous to this tip, my descriptions mainly consisted of the visual. Since then I’ve seen a lot of beginning authors make the same mistake I made. Here’s an example.

Mary traipsed to the meadow. Tall grass and rows of foxgloves met her, as did Doug. His green eyes narrowed in a glare, not welcoming.

Here’s the same bit done using multiple senses.

As Mary traipsed to the sun-kissed meadow, a clammy coldness gripped her hands despite the warm breeze whispering through the tall grass. She inhaled the foxgloves’ gentle scent, but couldn’t enjoy it, not with Doug’s rough hand grasping her shoulder.

I used touch, hearing, smell, and sight. Four out of five. Isn’t that better? Do you feel more drawn into the scene?

As with most writing tips, it’s easy to go overboard. I try to sprinkle these descriptions throughout action and plot. A whole paragraph would be too much. Have fun with this!

What “five-senses descriptions” can you come up with? I'd love to hear. 

God bless and happy writing!


Photo credit: <a href="">JohnGoode</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

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