NaNoWriMo is in full effect. That means lots of caffeine fueled minds pumping out creativity at the speed of heavenly delight. It’ll drip from our dreams, slithering through our blood until our fingers can touch those comforting plastic keys. Then every soft clip-clop gives us a wonderful jolt and each word written is an addictive high that makes even cloud number nine jealous.
As I sit here trying to describe how it feels when I’m creating art in the form of a story, I reminded of when I first started out. My writing wasn’t really all that good. Yeah I had decent stories, and I could paint a decent picture for the reader, but something was missing—well other than all the typos and my issue with switching tenses.
It took a little while but I figured it out. My descriptions tended to stay on the visual side of the storytelling spectrum. Nothing wrong with that, but hey, we’re human and we have more than just one way to identify with things.
We have a total of five senses (six if your story is within that realm of fantasy). They are: touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell. They all have their places and a good writer will know which one will have the most impact. For instance, psychologist state that smell is one of the quickest way we identify with something. A quick sniff can easily remind a person of a favorite summer or even relive a horribly traumatic experience.
So I’ve prepared a few examples of how we can use these types of descriptions.
1. Touch: The parchment felt old and leathery. It had bumps on it much like a fraying fabric and made me think of brail as my fingers examined it.
2. Taste: Marks mouth filled with a putrid copper and he knew at that moment, his life with the angels was over in an instant.
3. Sight: It was the same sun as always, but instead of a ball of golden yellow and red that seemed to swim like lava, it appeared with alien greens and static white tones.
4. Sound: Luke heard the familiar click-click before he even felt the gun barrel on the back of his neck. It was a cold mocking laugh of mechanical death.
5. Smell: He stank like a man who’d rolled dog pooh and bathed in cat urine. It made my nose wrinkle.
As you can tell, I love me some good descriptions. There are plenty of other styles as well. Anyone have any favorites?