Many writers use visualizations in their writing very well. Some of us still struggle with describing a room, a piece of fruit, or a sunset. We either go overboard or don’t use the right words. For this exercise, I want you to go through the descriptive word lists and pick out at least ten words that can be used to describe something visually. Choose ten that you don’t normally use. You will go overboard with this writing exercise, just like in all of them. You can go back later and edit if you’d like, but for the sake of practice, get it all out.
Describing things your characters might touch can be a bit difficult, but it’s a sense we all have and most everyone can feel the same textures in the same way. Taste buds can vary greatly from one person to the next, and the sense of sight can be very different from one person to the next. But touching soft or rough textures is basically the same for every human being. Try to capture the essence of how things feel in your writing.
Taste can be one of the hardest senses to capture. We all taste things, but each person likes different tastes over others. You want to use the sense of taste carefully. For some readers, if you’re trying to invoke the decadence of a lemon cream pie, you will succeed. For other readers, the thought of lemon cream pie will cause them to pucker. I’m not saying not to use it, just realize that not everyone has a love for every food or taste.
Using the taste of castor oil will most likely get the same response out of any reader who’s ever had to take the stuff.
Don’t worry about your readers too much when using taste, after all it’s about what the character is going through, their sense of taste and the memories it brings out for him/her. If he/she loves lemon cream pie and it brings out a useful vision or memory that adds to the story, by all means go for it. If he/she hates lemon cream pie and it causes them to contort their facial features, then use that.
Image credit: readingrockets.org
When using descriptions in your creative writing, you want to show the reader what’s happening, not tell them. You want to pull the reader into the scene.
This can be a difficult process for writers. Bringing the senses into your writing can be tricky. Developing a balance between good narrative and straight description is hard, but over time you will get better.
Learning to use the senses in your writing and painting vivid pictures with words is something you must practice. A lot of this work is done in the editing process. When you’re writing your story, you don’t want to be bogged down in getting something exactly right. However, as you learn more about descriptive writing, it will come more natural in the first draft. Continue reading