Evoke the senses with your writing in 3 easy steps
by Shirley Holder Platt
One of the easiest ways to make your stories come to life is to use descriptive words that will let your reader feel, hear, see, taste, and smell what’s happening to your characters.
This 3-step process makes it simple:
Step 1: Read what other writers have written. Make notes whenever you feel, hear, see, taste, or smell something as you read. If you still have nightmares after reading a scary novel, go back and find the words the author used to evoke that reaction. What did the writer do to give you that experience?
- Did the character “turn around,” or did she twirl?
- Did the stars “amaze your character,” or did they twinkle and shine so brightly that your character gasped out loud?
- Did he “hang his head and walk home,” or did he dejectedly trudge back to his stinky house?
- Did she “sit on her couch,” or stagger in to sit on an itchy sofa with her head in her hands?
- Did he “sing off key,” or did your character’s ears ache from the squeaky voice that couldn’t hit the right notes?
If what you write doesn’t excite you, why would it excite anyone else?
Step 2: Make a list of words that evoke your own senses. Then, use those words in your writing. If you know what works for you, and use it, it will work for your readership also. If what you write doesn’t excite you, why would it excite anyone else?
Instead of saying a meal “tastes good,” let your reader smell the pungent spices simmering on the stove, hear the sizzling platter as the waiter walks over with a fragrant steak hot off the grill, or feel the sweet juice popping in your character’s mouth when she bites into a ripe peach.
If you still have nightmares after reading a scary novel, go back and find the words the author used to evoke that reaction.
Step 3: Keep your sentences short and concise. To do this, make every word count. Ernest Hemingway, for example, was a master of this type of sparse writing that still manages to draw readers into the story.
Evocative writing takes practice and study. If you want to make your reader sit up and take notice, you need to put in the effort. Adopt the mindset that you want to improve, and you will!
Shirley Holder Platt is the author of twelve romance, one chick lit, and one romantic mystery novel. She has one crime/comedy novel, Mama Needs New Shoes, that won the October 2018 Most Buzz Award. Several of her now-published novels appeared first on ChapterBuzz.
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