Writing Tip: “Sense” Your Scenes

I have to agree with this post in so many ways.  Just because colorful words are used, they may not be structured or written in a way that helps the reader get a good feel for the scene or even the character.  This can leave an otherwise great story, limp and lifeless – like Ben Stein’s character from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

What I appreciate from this post are the questions and insight provided to help writers create more sensory scenes – the type that engage reader’s 5 senses and can provoke thoughts.  I’ve always loved books and movies that could do this.

Image: Five Senses – Tomesia Ingram

Stephanie Huesler

I try to read a book a week; it’s usually on a Saturday, when I have time to sit down and read a good chunk at a time.  This past weekend I read a book which prompted thoughts around this concept of “sensing” a scene, and reading it aloud to hear any howlers that might have crept into the writing.  The author of that book obviously did neither, though her editor might have told her to beef up descriptives – so they were clumped all together, staggering me as a reader to a halt while I tried to figure out the context of the pages of descriptives before remembering what the characters were doing there in the first place, and often the dialogue sounded very stilted (e.g. using “vocalized” instead of “shouted” – the latter of the two would have fit into the character’s time and place far better) – a…

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Sounds of Music – Inspiration for the Writing Process

Awhile back, I wrote a post about writing in favorite places and spaces to help with creativity. In this post, I’d like to fuelyourwritingexplore the use of music for the writing process.

Music is one of those wonderful tools that can inspire a myriad of emotions, thoughts, and feelings. In How Music Affects the Writing Process by Nona Mae King, she described how music plays a role in our everyday lives.

Music is used in stores to prolong the shopping experience. In movies, music (or the lack of it) is utilized to enhance the scene. Advertising agencies have invested time and money into music for jingles that keep products in your head or a television series in the forefront of your mind (King, 2012).

King also gives her list of reasons to include music in the writing process – “encourage focus, enhance mood, promote inspiration, and encourage us to seek inspiration”.

There are times when I select a certain genre or song to either go deeper into what a character may be feeling or to help me visualize the setting of the scene. For instance, listening to a jazz song like Diana Krall’s “Let’s Fall in Love” pitchforkgives me a visual of a couple playing in the snow, laughing, giggling, just having fun. At the end of playtime they kiss and realize that they’re falling in love.

Another example, the song “Love Drug” by Raheem Devaughn yields a mellow tune about love on the borderline of addiction. I visualize yet another couple dancing close and slow on the dance floor in a dimly lit club. As for their feelings and emotions, the longer they embrace, the more intense the feelings become leading to the thirst or yearning they have for each other.

Other times, if I’m not in the mood to write, I’ll put on some energetic type songs to give me that push. Like right now, I’m listening to Janelle Monae’s “What is Love” as I type this post. Every now and then, I’ll get out of my seat and do a jig. Good way of killing two birds with one stone – get a post done and exercise. 🙂

All in all, music has been a useful motivator and inspiration to help me with writing. Sometimes I use it and other times I go with the flow that’s in my head.

Do you use music as a source of inspiration or motivators when you write? Do you use it for character or scene development, help keep you focused/motivated or as a distraction from the world? Share your experience.

Photo: Fuel Your Writing, Pitchfork

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