Friday, October 8, 2010

If You Could Describe For Me...

So, I'm posting on Thursdays :P Let's pretend today is Thursday.

What happened yesterday?

The Guy put on a computer game. Stuff had been brewing for awhile (it's part of my process ;) and I've had a few "false starts" on this project already. For the School Daze Blogfest I tried a scene from Karryna's POV. It worked. Far better than anything from stubborn Lara's perspective has.

So on went Pandora, in went the Earbuds, and out poured the latest start of the project. Starting new projects always teaches me something new. And while I'm not quite 2k words into this draft, I noticed something I want to work on.


Ok,I've always felt this was hard. Why? I could describe something till blood oozed from under my fingernails and I don't think people would feel it's real. Last night, after folding my laptop and tucking it away, I realized why.

I rely on describing what Reader should see and hear. Smell and taste is hard. I mean, really. I should have not merely described the large entryroom, the wheeled luggage grating against tiles. I should have added the faint scent of lemon circulating on the draft caused by the open door. The whiff of flour and cooking oil on Isa the Maid as she comes to take Kari's bags from Madre. And perhaps, those scents made Kari taste bread.

Smell and taste do not have to be related to food. Our mouths taste dry, metallic (or as a friend's status read the other day on FB "minty fresh") and this is related to scent, memory, emotions. In actuality any of these things can trigger scent, taste and in response, memory.

Certainly makes flashbacks easy, or background information relevant. Also this deepens Reader's experience. Reading has been more "3-D" than movies ever have, because we can feel what the Main Character feels. We can watch the characters put puzzle pieces together that a) we've already figured out b) we haven't figured out. We develop a richer understanding of character personality, which allows for greater individual complexity than a 2 hour movie permits, or a series based on stand-alone episodes can imitate.

So describing a scene isn't about...well,'s about tricking Reader's mind into thinking, for a moment "I am there." Transcending the real world and landing smack-dab into the dream world, while awake. Full use of imagination. That's what it's about.

That's why I read. To love the characters, to see things I never could. So, I hope that some day my writing can create the same experience for others. Here's to improving description!


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