Sunday, June 26, 2011

Writing For The Five Senses

What is the best way to get your reader into your story? The answer is to transport your reader into your story. It sounds complicated but is really quite simple, at least in theory. The term many teachers use is “show, don’t tell.” Basically that means that you need to create a movie in the readers head or make them feel as if they are actually inside the character’s head, hearing, seeing, feeling, and smelling what is happening around the character. Include all five senses, as well as the mental and emotional reactions of your characters when describing what is happening in your story and your readers won’t even notice that they know the setting as well as the character. They can imagine the wind shifting softly through their hair and the smell of the honeysuckle not far off tainted slightly by the manure from the neighbor’s free range cattle talking to each other faintly in the pasture a few hundred yards off instead of merely reading a conversation between mother and son about school grades that are slipping. Readers pick up a book to escape from their world so you need to be able to put them squarely in another world for as long as they read that book. Do it subtly by using all five senses and good description and it will carry your reader through many hours of reading enjoyment.

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