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Show don't tell: 6:20 33% writingmyselfintoanearlygrave leave-her-a-tome Follow scribbledwriting "Show, Don't Tell!": Using the Five Senses in Writing This is an extended piece to my 'Show, Don't tell' post. When writing the senses, I like to imagine the scene as if I were watching a movie. It's the simplest way for me to picture and write when it comes to descriptions. You don't want to overload the reader, but you do want to paint the picture instead of telling them. Staying aware of the five senses in your writing will dramatically improve your skill. It not only helps the reader be a part of the story but helps the writer set important scenes, without having to outright state what is happen- ing. In this post, I will explain how I use the five senses in my writing. As always, my advice is subjective and only to show what I personally do. Whether you keep the senses in mind as you write, or you edit them in later, making sure you pay attention to keywords will help eliminate the stress of going back later to figure out what (maybe!) went wrong. SEE: On Sight One of the easiest ways to go about elaborating sight is to eliminate words related to vision (look, saw, gazed, peek, etc). It also helps to stay aware of items, colors, sizes, etc. Do the same thing you'd do with words related to sight, eliminate them. Of course, don't erase every word or phrase, but being proactive, keeping them in mind, and avoiding them will help you avoid overloading your reader with too much purple prose. (Granted, I would die for purple prose, but I understand that's not everyone's thing) Examples: Jill saw Jack running. He carried a silver pail. He tripped and fell down the hill There are a lot of sight-words in this example. As the writer, it is your decision to choose what you want to elaborate on, whether it is one thing, or all of them. How much of the story you want to paint is up to you Jack's feet blurred against the green grass as his toe caught his ankle. He rolled on his side, his silver pail flying into the air and reaching Jill first. Jill craned her neck to find Jack staggering down the hill. Water sloshed from the sides of the bucket, swinging and glistening in the sunlight. He stumbled and grabbed for the handle with his second hand as the pail threatened to leave his grasp, and then he slipped, toppling down the hill In both of these scenarios, the reader can "see" that Jack is running and tripped without specifically stating that Jill saw it. They also "see" he had a silver pail and dropped it. Being more visually descriptive is also very important for facial expressions. It takes a simple mood and elevates it. Describing the expression also gives the reader the chance to "feel" that way too, almost like a mimic, which helps them visualize and empathize with the character. Example: Maxine made a disgusted face. Think of what a disgusted reaction looks like; usually, it involves frowning, pinch- ing your nose, sticking out your tongue, etc. Sometimes, it can help to look in a mirror and write what you're seeing, too. Maxine flared her nostrils and stuck out her tongue. In the latter example, the reader is able to infer that Maxine is disgusted by how the writer described her reaction. HEAR: On Sound Describing sound can be tricky. It's also hard to remember when to use it. We tend to think of sound in terms of music or voices-okay, okay, sometimes we sprinkle in animals howling or the wind blowing, too!-but sound can be incredibly important in setting a scene and is often under-utilized. Sounds let the reader know their surroundings without pulling from what is going on and adds intensity! Examples: Manuel sat nervously at the coffee table. Again, as the writer, you can decide where to incorporate the use of sound. Here are a couple of suggestions, based on the above example: Manuel's fingers drummed against the table and drowned out the low whistle escaping from between his teeth as he exhaled. All around him, there was cheerful chatter, through which the barista's loud voice occasionally sliced. Manuel's thoughts whirred and hummed, a dull grinding and the clinking of glass broke through the constant thump of his knee against the underside of the table. In both of these examples, the reader was able to gather that Manuel was ner- vous (tapping knee, drumming fingers, low whistle). They are also able to gather he is in a coffee shop (or a restaurant of sorts) without explicitly saying so. TOUCH: On Sensation The best way to handle touch is by imagining whatever it is you are describing and what it feels Ilike. If you don't know how something feels, google it. Don't describe a snake as slimy just because its scales are shiny and gives it a slime-like effect. That said, touch doesn't just deal with what your character is physically touching. It can also deal with emotions and help to express them without saying outright how your character feels. Example: Opal touched the silk blanket. She felt sleepy and closed her eyes. Here we can elaborate on what the blan- ket feels like when Opal touches it and how she feels to indicate she is tired: The supple fabric slid between Opal's fingers like water. Her tired muscles sagged and sharp, tiny pinpricks pressed against her heavy eyelids as she lay back. The reader knows the blanket was very soft and also that she is tired without specifically stating she was sleepy. TASTE: On Flavor Taste is a fun sense to mess with. It can show the reader so much more than how delicious the bread is (or how gross dirt is). I like to play around with taste in the weather/air, the taste of fear, the taste of cat hair in your mouth because there is always cat hair in your mouth... all right, maybe that's a personal thing. Example: The sun rose over the city . What do you use for taste here? A city can't taste, the sun doesn't taste, but your character does! Yellow light spilled over the streets, soaking the grit from the rainbow puddles into the air. The bitter grease lingered and settled in his mouth, strengthening every time he scraped his teeth against his tongue. Experiment with taste in your writing Describe things you wouldn't normally think to taste, like crude oil*. The internet is a good resource when it's something you don't want to try yourself, like crude oil*. Chances are, someone out there has already tried it and explained what it tastes like online. SCENT: On Smell Ahhh, smell. Smell lets the reader figure out where a character is, what they're know so much: they can doing, where they are, etc., just from a few scent-related descriptors thrown around. Smell is also useful in triggering memories or past events. Danny walked through the forest. You can use so many of the five senses here! But since we're focusing on scent, let's zero in on that: A crisp hint of pine lingered in the air and blended with the pungent decay of the brown needles underfoot. Without stating anything about a forest, the reader has an idea of where Danny is You can also use smell to show emotion! Danny was in love. . How do you smell love, K? Well, you've got me there: you can't. But as a writer, you can think of what love means to you and of things you associate with love, and work from there. Personally, l imagine it would have a sweet smell, maybe too sweet. A rush of flowery sweetness filled his nostrils as the handsome young man walked by. There you have it. Of course, there's a lot more to writing the five senses, as there is with anything, but this is to give you a basic idea of what I do when l'm writing. Being proactive and keeping the senses in mind while writing can be tough and exhausting, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. And you don't leave it all for editing! Remember: the most important thing is to keep practicing. Happy writing! Please do not taste crude oil. I can't be- lieve I have to type this, but some people want to eat Tide Pods, so here I am. Do not taste crude oil. You will die Source: scribbledwriting > 7,866 notes writingpromptsbot The rebellious swim teacher excitedly kidnaps a man #writing prompts #writing prompt #writer's block Show don't tell

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This is a photo of me breastfeeding Pal while marching at the protest a couple weeks ago. Two things about this photo: 1. When I was struggling to learn to breastfeed after my surgery and while recovering from eclampsia and anemia and all manner of other craziness, I couldn't have FATHOMED breastfeeding my son while marching in a crowd, both of us in jackets, and him weighing in around twice his birthweight. I'm very glad I am able to do this. We've come a long way. 2. Considering DT's disgusted reaction to a pumping mother, I consider this act as a form of public protest within a public protest. But mainly I consider it a necessity to comfort and feed my son while simultaneously engaging in peaceful dissent. Also the sign behind us says "men must end sexism." 👍 littlepalindrome: MAIT 1 1 This is a photo of me breastfeeding Pal while marching at the protest a couple weeks ago. Two things about this photo: 1. When I was struggling to learn to breastfeed after my surgery and while recovering from eclampsia and anemia and all manner of other craziness, I couldn't have FATHOMED breastfeeding my son while marching in a crowd, both of us in jackets, and him weighing in around twice his birthweight. I'm very glad I am able to do this. We've come a long way. 2. Considering DT's disgusted reaction to a pumping mother, I consider this act as a form of public protest within a public protest. But mainly I consider it a necessity to comfort and feed my son while simultaneously engaging in peaceful dissent. Also the sign behind us says "men must end sexism." 👍 littlepalindrome

This is a photo of me breastfeeding Pal while marching at the protest a couple weeks ago. Two things about this photo: 1. When I was stru...

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