Monday, May 09, 2016

Smells, Sights, Sounds, Describe

The smell of summer rain on grass after a warm day, seeing the colours of the new leaves in my garden (red maple, crab apple blossom, pale greens) as spring moves forward, hearing the soft breeze rustling the leaves of the trees in a wood, the slightly metallic smell of exhaust fumes on a busy London street, seeing the pollution haze over the city, hearing the sound of a lorry rattling past on a busy London street, the smell of onions frying, coffee brewing, cigar smoke, hearing a helicopter circling overhead, seeing a red umbrella on a grey cold wet London day, a lake reflecting the willows on its  banks ...

It's easy sometimes when you're writing a story to forget smells, sights, sounds.  But they bring a scene to life, bring the reader there - I bet when I mentioned frying onions you could smell them. That's all you have to do, mention them, no long flowery detail and it's like freshening up a room with a new pot of paint.  

And I nearly forgot one of the senses - taste - why are cooking programmes so popular - we watch them and salivate with the celebrity chefs - imagine eating a slice of those beautiful cakes, like works of art  - in Bake Off, light sponges or pastries that would melt in your mouth....

So next time you're reading a book or writing a scene - look out for SMELLS, SIGHTS, SOUNDS AND TASTES.  If you're the writer put them in - just a sketch, a light touch and see how it transforms the scene.  Or if you're the reader, look out for them and how lightly or detailed is the description. What's the effect on you the reader? Try it - describe a flower, the taste of candyfloss, the smell of the sea ...








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