Sunday, August 31

Writers with Good Sense

Visualisation is a significant part of writing. Authors want to immerse readers in the surroundings of their story. They emphasise the hues and vibrancy of colours, the shapes of objects, and the human form. They use similes and metaphors to bring movements to life, and personalise their characters with physical descriptors and unique expressions.

There is nothing inherently wrong with romanticising the things we see. The problem lies with too much focus on the visual, and not enough on the other senses. In the stories I read – and even in my own writing – the primary focus is on what the characters can see, with audio coming in second, usually tagged on to dialogue. Taste, touch and smell are too often an afterthought, with coincidental appearances.

I'm not going to suggest that writers drown their work in descriptors of any sense, but we need to be mindful of these things. It is fine to write whatever comes to you in a first draft, but in rewrites it is important to curl your toes into the earth, roll your tongue against the sour burst of citrus, and inhale the nose tickling scent of a dusty library.

I know that my descriptors squeal and grind from ill use, and I don't want t be over slick with their application. Still, I hope to practice and improve until a reader can step into my story, eyes closed, and not be displaced in their surroundings.

What are some of your favourite works/quotes that utilise good sense?

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