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Painting With Words

February 16th, 2015

white.house-blogImagine you’re working on  story which opens with the view of a white farmhouse beside the sea. In the foreground there’s a beach, and mountains in the distance. How would you present that scene? Before getting in to any kind of narrative, how do you go about painting the picture? Clearly, there’s lots of decisions to make, and lots you need to know. What season are we in? What time of day is it? What’s the weather like? etc.

In her EZee Writer article You Know It makes Sense, Heather Cooke asks five questions: What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell, and what can you taste? Her approach to creating images through words is to call on all the available senses, encouraging us to go beyond what is merely ‘seen,’ to explore the whole range of human perception. With examples from Vikram Seth, Sue Monk Kidd and Bill Bryson she shows how to “Weave this into active writing,’ so that ‘Your readers will be transported wherever you want to take them.’

So, for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s early spring, mid-afternoon on a grey, overcast day. What can you see, hear, smell, and feel? And is there anything to taste? Go on, paint the picture. And …

Keep on writing!phil-blog-sig

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