Write Wow!

Writing tips and techniques from the publisher of Swimming Kangaroo Books. Send your 3-page writing sample to be critiqued to dindy@swimmingkangaroo.com with the word "critique" in the subject heading. Your submission will be critiqued on the blog, but your name will not be used unless you give permission.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Color in between the Lines when You Write

I tend to think of the art of writing as being like a coloring book. Beginning writers give an outline of the setting. Experienced writers fill in the colors. Successful writers pull the readers into the scene and make them lose themselves in the story by placing them right smack dab in the middle of it. To do this, remember that you have five senses and you need to use every single one of them to create atmosphere.

Imagine a harbor cruise on a clipper ship. Now of course, you will see water, boats, buoys, shore, birds, maybe even some fish or dolphins. But what will you smell? Dead fish, for one thing! But you may also smell tar from the boat, water-soaked wood, and moisture. You will taste the salt spray in the air, and you will feel the damp breeze cooling your skin, rustling through your hair and spattering drops of water on your face. You will hear the waves lapping against the sides of the boat, the creaking of the wood, the sound of the birds, the light splash from a fish jumping out of the water, sounds from other boats, and the sail flapping in the breeze. You may hear
the ropes groaning as the sail is pulled tight. When you write about your cruise, you need to include all of these, and more.

Read some of Ray Bradbury's early work. He was a master of description, of putting readers into his world. Close your eyes for a few minutes. Then pick a sense and write down everything you smelled or heard or felt or tasted while your eyes were closed. Beginning writers tend to remember the importance of visual description, but the successful writers remember that there
are five senses.


Anonymous Christina Francine said...

This is a great description of the difference between successful writers and the not so successful writers, and why. You've made it plain to see. Thanks!

6:03 AM  
Blogger Swimming Kangaroo said...

Thank YOU for reading and commenting.

7:12 AM  

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