Have you ever closed your eyes and listened to a movie or sitcom on TV. It’s an interesting exercise for your writing. Doing so gives you a completely different take on what you were watching. Dialogue becomes crisper but the sounds of movement and activity really activate your imagination. Have you ever noticed the sound a shovel makes as it digs into the earth—over and over again? Ominous. Ever thought about how to describe that sound in your writing? Remember, we want to show, not tell.
What about Silence? Remember The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel? Silence can be pretty noisy when we’re completely alone and feeling scared. Or when we’re angry and refusing to talk. How do we write it?
Successfully using the senses in our writing bumps our writing to a higher level; our books and stories come alive for our readers. Sensory writing is probably one of the most important things we can learn how to do. I struggle with it and have to make several passes through a manuscript to utilize all the senses. I’ve read that by using the senses and being descriptive, we’re adding a layer of honesty and believability to our writing. Of course, it has to seem natural–not forced. Painting pictures with our words can be challenging.
Just for fun, don’t watch your favorite sitcom, listen to it. Make note of the different sounds you hear and try to effectively write them. Also, here’s a link that will allow you to listen to the shoveling of dirt, snow, gravel, and glass.
Do you find descriptive writing difficult or is using the senses natural for you?