Plunging your readers into the scene
Will you agree with me that writers are artists?
One of my favorite art classes was fine drawing, whether the subjects were live models or inanimate objects. In order to draw a three dimensional entity onto a flat page the artist must look closely to see the lines and contours. All of them. And exactly as they are.
For writers, we travel beyond the three dimensions. Our words must encompass all of the senses—seeing, smelling, hearing, touching and tasting.
Powerful writing will delve into its own sixth sense, that of feeling. To produce emotive writing, we have to catapult our readers into the scene. We use all of our senses to translate our two dimensional pages into living breathing stories.
Let’s go through our senses.
Writers are students of human behavior. We SEE. We observe.
The child is crying, yet beyond the tears and the wailing you see a not-so-innocent devilish glint in his eyes. He’s learned at an early age how to get what he wants.
A glamorous celebrity is out on a shopping spree. She’s drawn a crowd of gawkers but none of them see her tuck the bottle of perfume into her purse. You do.
The C.E.O. facilitates a board meeting. All the members are so worried about what relevant breakthrough idea they have to announce that they fail to see the C.E.O.’s constant scratching. Did you observe his cocaine habit?
If for a second you entertain writer’s block back yourself away from your computer. Go to a public park, the airport, a crowded bar scene or a dark and intimate restaurant. Observe humanity that never fails to reveal their ticks and nuances—both good and bad.
HEARING is a simple one. I can still hear that child crying! Sounds are integral to our writing and effortless to depict. A bump in the night. The crash of the ocean’s waves. So let’s move on. What are you listening to as you write? Unless you prefer library-quiet I suggest you fine tune your music library. It will thrust you into both art and emotion. I listen to Bolero for my spicy sexy scenes and Ottmar Leibert for intimacy. My choice is Christina Perri for scorned love and her Bang, Bang, Bang for a lover’s revenge. Check into your local library. Mine offers three free downloads a week. You’ll soon have a bank of digital tunes and all of the emotions you need. You’ll open up your own bank of super-charged emotions for every scene you write.
The sense of SMELL is another easy one. It’s also often overlooked by writers but will plant your readers into the moment, and fast! Is it an aroma or a scent or does it stink? My opening line for my current manuscript reads: She smelled like Hell’s testicles. Now I have never smelled the testicles of Hell but I am confident my readers will be right there with me and smelling the same imagined and most hideous odor.
TOUCHING. Soft, coarse, oily or wet? This, too, is seemingly an easy one. All up until you try to touch your character. Feel their hair. Their skin. Act as if a blind person and trace your fingers over their face and all of the crevasses of their body so that you have them in full dimension in front of you. Capture what you touch with the magic of words.
TASTING. I had the munchies late last night and I pulled out what I thought was a leftover burrito. I heated it up in the dark kitchen and joined my husband back in our bedroom. YUCK! It was awful! The texture disgusted me. I went back into my kitchen and turned on the light. It turns out it was baked eggs. And darn delicious baked eggs. My mind had the texture wrong and thus the taste went wonky on me. My point is that our sense of taste is often lacking in our writing. Sometimes can’t you taste the air? The scent of pine lands on your lips and the salt of the ocean rides into your mouth. And sometimes there are surprises!
Writers are students of Mother Nature and all of her laws.
Go out into nature. For all of Her plants, insects and animals, earth and sky have a story to tell you. If only you’ll sit with Her for a while and observe.
Write down what you see. Then write down what you smell, hear, touch, and taste.
Then write what you feel.
In today’s technological world sometimes feeling takes effort. And yet it’s the key to crafting emotive writing. Look around you and really see. Observe our world, or one imagined on your own, with all of your five senses. Push yourself and move toward your sixth sense and I guarantee you will send writer’s block packing and your words will blow off the pages!
Award winning author Lala Corriere is published in everything from the Washington Post to regional magazines in the US and the UK. Her writing has received acclaim in the Denver Post, Arizona Star, Washington Post, Tucson Lifestyles, Home & Garden, The Sentinel, and the Trinidad Times.
Since early childhood, Lala has found a passion in all the arts. She is a painter and a former stage performer. Early work careers blended selling high-end real estate in Colorado where she was soon to become president of an interior design firm, Connoisseur, Ltd. Extended university coursework focused on the fine arts, but the lure of writing proved even stronger.
Lala’s fictional work consumes her. She freely says she much prefers ‘lying and making stuff up’. Her fictional suspense writing includes subplots with socially redeeming revelations. This is her moniker.
Her favored acclaim to fame has nothing to do with her success in book sales, but rather the blurb from the Master of Suspense, Sidney Sheldon, and his continued mentorship until his passing.
Lala writes suspense with romantic elements, eager to point out that it doesn’t fit into the confines of true romantic suspense. Available titles include Widow’s Row and CoverBoy. Her third as yet untitled piece will be released later this year and promises to be full of surprises, for truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
He prays for prey. His prayers have just been answered.
Lauren Visconti loses everyone she loves. They don’t walk out the door. They die. The Lauren Visconti Curse.
Her in-your-face magazine, CoverBoy, might have crossed a few lines. Now it appeared the curse had morphed. Now anyone Lauren had any emotion toward, good or bad, was doomed to be slaughtered.
Success came with the magazine’s dichotomy—photos of almost naked men juxtaposed between serious investigative reporting. Her articles ran true stories. Most readers had heard of sex-slave trafficking. Most didn’t know it occurred in their own backyards. Some readers knew about podiatry mutilations—the hacking off of elongated second toes and even the total amputation of little toes, all in order to fit into the expensive designer shoes. Very few had heard about revirgination.
CoverBoy’s articles named names.