Courtesy of by ullrich

Reading good books help put the writer voice inside the mind. Great prose has a rhythm and flow to it. More than that it evokes the mind to visualize the experience. The setting feels real and one expects to see it somewhere, some place, some time. The characters become fleshed out with vices and virtues. Most of all the relationships connect to the reader’s relationship and one begins to put themselves in the characters place. How does that happen? How does writing suspend reality to the point some books become more real than real life?


One way a writer makes a scene realistic is to create specifics. Much of what a writer does becomes observing life and making mental notes. Then when one sits down to write one takes all these mental notes and visualization and converts them to words. Humans have six senses– smell, sight, sound, feel, taste, and touch. Describing these connects with a reader’s own senses.  Sensory detail puts life into a fiction or non-fiction story. It makes it real. Some writers keep small journals or index cards of phrases they have read or things encountered in life. The goal comes as creating a vivid scene, an engaging place or a moment in time. A writer literally creates a world in every story.

Language Choices

Via by Koryakov Yuri

Words categorize into specific or general and both have a purpose in writing. General words give a framework to work off of. At times in a story because it would not move the story forward or make the book too long general words let a writer give a bit of information without taking much space. Words such as fine, great, pretty give some idea of what is going on or what something looks like but does not delve in deeply.

Specific words give exact meaning. A cake described by size, color, texture, smell and taste names a specific cake. For example, a nine by thirteen inch rectangular cake with white icing and dark umber brown mix finely crumbling as the knife slices through releasing an aroma of ginger and cocoa tells a reader exactly what kind of cake it is, A good exercise to try to improve descriptive writing is to take a general word such as “cat” and specify it. For example, calico cat, tomcat, crooked tailed cat, a Persian cat, tuxedo cat with a white chest and coal-black body and feet shows how to transition from general to specific.

How to Begin

Take an experience such as kissing. Focus in on the moment. How do you feel before a kiss? What senses heighten? What does a person anticipate? What goes on in the mind’s eye? Now how does it all change as lips touch. What did it feel like? How did the two lips merge? Was it pleasant? What sensations happens in the body besides the lips?

Take any moment in an ordinary life and ask questions. Find words to describe that moment. Write it down. Then take a thesaurus and see if a better word can more fully explain what you have observed. Leave the writing alone for a day or two. Come back and read and adjust to create better flow or clarify  phrasing.

Much of writing is playing with the images, conversations, phrasing and words that surround you. Do not be afraid to play. It is part of the process. Writing really is not about perfection but about conveying a message or communicating in a way that makes a reader respond. Enjoy the playing and then use it to create a serious piece of language art that says what it needs to say in an unforgettable way.

Until next time enjoy many grand escapades in September and make sure all the changes in the season, people and routines get recorded in the mind.