Tip of the Day: Keep a journal where you can write down certain details about something you notice that might come in handy someday when you are writing a scene.
I went for a glorious walk last night. It was warm with a slight breeze, the sun was setting in the distance creating a canvas of pink and orange, and Mt. Hood was a sight to behold in the distance. But you know what I noticed the most? All of the wonderful smells. One minute it was lilacs, the next it was barbecued hamburgers, and the next it was laundry softener.
So often in our writing we simply describe a scene visually. We forget that there are other things we might experience at any given moment. The sound of birds chirping, the smell of dinner cooking, or the feel of a cashmere sweater on the skin.
In my revision presentation tomorrow, I'm going to talk about the need to go through your manuscript when the first draft is done and think about adding details that will ground the reader in your scene. There should be a balance of sights, smells, and sounds. It should seem natural. What would you be likely to notice MOST in a restaurant, for example? The sight of people around you, the smell of the food, or the clanking of dishes? Perhaps it depends on what kind of restaurant it is?
For some people, the details come easily. I'm not one of those people. Some writers can go on for three pages describing the scene. I'm lucky if I can come up with two sentences. Which is probably why I'm so drawn to writing in verse. So in my revisions, I'm always thinking about how I can make something more clear. More crisp. More real. Other writers often go on too much, and have to take out the chain saw and hack away so the reader doesn't throw the book down in despair because nothing is happening.
What about you? Are you a pro at setting the scene, or do you have to work hard at it, like me?
~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I'm Pubbed