It’s in the details

A mistake a lot of new authors make is not including enough details in their writing. They write in the broad strokes of what’s happening, who’s doing what, and where the action is happening but leave out the details that give the story that third dimension, that really round it out and bring it alive.

One way to add texture to your writing is to remember the five senses. Sight is an easy one, what is the POV character seeing? But don’t leave out the details. We notice details in life all the time and probably don’t even realize it. The lines in someone’s face, the different highlights in hair, the many shades of a gray sky, knick-knacks on a shelf, a picture hung off-center. Really think about your setting and include little details like that.

Smell and sound often get overlooked. Include different smells, one’s breath, perfume, hair, burning wood outside, car fumes, gasoline, and so on. And include background sounds too. Birds singing, car engines whining, metal ticking as it cools, wind rustling leaves, joints cracking, shoes squeaking, brakes whistling. You get the idea. Things that are not front and center but add body to the setting, make it believable and real.

Feel is another one that gets left out too often. Write about what the POV character feels: textures, temperatures, the chill of goosebumps, the burn of embarrassment or anger, that tingling in the cheeks and neck when fear is thrust upon him or her, tightening of the scalp, the softness of another’s body. Put yourself in his or her place and focus on the sense of feel, not just in the hands but throughout the whole body.

Lastly, taste. Think it’s not required? Think again. Write about the bitter taste of bile in the back of the throat, the metalic taste of blood in the mouth, the taste of a dry mouth. I would also include here the difficulty swallowing when angry or upset or sad.

Our senses round out our life, they give it dimension. Do the same in your writing, remember the details and include them to make your settings and characters really come alive.


About mikedellosso

Mike Dellosso is an author of wide-eyed suspense. He writes stories that not only entertain but enlighten.

Posted on January 30, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on It’s in the details.

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