Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting to know your senses.

I didn't get a chance to write something for the Rainy Day Blogfest hosted by Christine H. Sorry but go and check out the entries. I will be.

Part of my new schedule is to learn something new and apply it to my writing. I remember a post by the lovely Erica Mitchell Spickard from Chapter by Chapter and Chimera Critiques. She posted about the senses. That's right-- sight, smell, touch, taste and sound. I know some of my chapters need more of this. In her post, she performed an interesting exercise.  She blindfolded herself for four hours while exploring her house to tap into her senses. Quite clever and interesting. Erica rocks. She is awesome at discussing this exercise.

Technically, I wouldn't need a blindfold. I could just remove my contacts and everything beyond eight inches in front of me becomes a blur.I'm also clumsy so blindfolding myself and walking around my house would be quite comical. My kids would be running around like they were just let out of a cage, I would wind up tripping over the cat then tripping over the other cat, walking into a wall, falling down the steps, you get the picture but I wanted to try this in some form.

So, here is what I did. When I think of it and I have even two minutes of silence, I shut my eyes and tap into my senses. For example, pumping gas into my car. I shut my eyes and tap into the sounds, the touch, the smell. There's not much to taste so I didn't get into that one. When I sit in the middle of the night while my son goes back to sleep. I listen, touch, smell, taste (my mouth is usually dry, so again not much else.) You can do this anywhere-- although I wouldn't recommend it driving or using some sort of equipment. Keep it safe people. The public may give you a few stares but --hey this is research.

If you can write down your findings with detail descriptions, do it. This has helped me tremendously. I could feel my MCs before and now when I write a scene I can really feel them. It is helping me open my mind and forcing me to not only write but to feel. I also approach writing a scene differently than I did before. I write the dialogue and set myself into the scene, thinking about what my MC's senses are going through.

Have you tried this exercise?

Has it helped you?

That's all I got today. The photo is there for you to think about what sights, sounds, smells, feelings, tastes you might experience in that setting. Okay, I had trouble uploading a photo. Have a great day!

17 comments:

  1. That's a great idea. I'm always trying to include more sensory detail into my scenes. Obsessed with it, nearly. :)

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  2. I love that idea. I'm always trying to add more sensory detail into my writing and this is an easy way to slip it into my daily routine.

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  3. What an interesting idea. I know I tend to write with visual description way more than anything else. Occasionally I describe smells but almost never touch. I need to work on that!

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  4. What a great writing exercise - I will definitely try that at some point - thank you. (I would also trip over the cats should I try to walk blindfold around my house!)

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  5. I do insert the senses in my writing in the second or 3rd drafts...I try to imagine what the character's senses register, and how he or she describes it in terms of the person he or she is.

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  6. Aha, so you were the lady I saw sleeping at the gas pump. ;)
    I think the public will only give us a few stares if we start humming, chanting, or deep breathing - otherwise we look like we're taking a cat nap.

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  7. This is a great exercise! I actually have a scene in my latest book where my MC teleports to another world, and I have his senses temporarily disappear, then reappear one by one. It was quite eye-opening (no pun intended!) to pick out each scent, feeling, sound and sight that he was experiencing. So often we mash all the senses together instead of looking at them individually.

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  8. Very interesting tactic. I'm always amazed at the insights I gleam from a writer's POV.

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  9. I prefer your version, as I'd just injure myself walking around the house blindfolded.

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  10. Nice! I like this. I didn't think this way when I wrote my first draft but when I did my rewrite, I thought of all the senses more. I think typically I pay more attention to sight and sound but with this new project I'm going to try and think of all of them equally. Great exercise!

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  11. I have done exercises like that before and they are helpful if only to make you more aware. Great post. I have to remember to use the senses more.

    CD

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  12. ...the blindfold idea was pure genius. In my case, it would lead to a broken bone, my kids passing out in laughter after not informing me of the rocking chair's menacing presence awaiting just around the corner:)

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  13. I haven’t tried the blindfold thing, but often when I’m writing a scene I’ll sit back and close my eyes and try to get a feel for sounds, smells, etc. that might go along with the action.

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  14. I like your excercise better; not so bruising.

    .........dhole

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  15. hi miss christine! one time my doctor did a thing with me for all the senses i could see, hear, touch, taste and smell. it was for relaxing when i was sick. now it helps for writing stuff cause sometimes its important to say what something smells like or tastes like or other sense stuff.
    ...smiles from lenny

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  16. I think this is a brilliant idea. I am totally going to do this the next time I'm struggling. (and it would help me when I do mu setting posts, too!)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  17. Great exercise. I love to close my eyes whenever I can!

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