What’s peeking through the grass? What is he/she/it looking for?
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Chardonnay, root beer, lemon soda, or water… what are you drinking right now? Exercise your sense of smell by turning off your tastebuds for a few sips and trying one or both of these prompts:
- Using only your sense of smell, and without telling what you’re drinking, see if you can write a description that would make anyone instantly know what’s in your glass.
- Does the smell tell you anything about where the individual ingredients came from? Does it take you to a lush vineyard or a refreshing spring? What about a noisy factory or a flavor lab? Spend five minutes freewriting about this, starting with smell and then going wherever your imagination leads.
Think of a voyage, whether it’s one you’ve taken or an imaginary one. Describe it in detail, making sure to include key sounds that help place your reader in the setting.
One of your primary characters knows exactly where he’s going. Or does he? Does he tighten his grip on the wheel when familiar terrain suddenly looks foreign? Does he stomp his foot on the brake pedal as he approaches an unexpected roadblock? Explore an obstacle or a case of bad directions, not forgetting to use the sense of touch to ground your character in his setting and heighten emotion or tension.
Today’s challenge: Brew a pot of tea and savor it until you’ve come up with 30 words or phrases to describe its flavor or the feel of it on your tongue. Now that your creativity is warmed up, use your list to create a full-bodied description that will make your readers crave a taste.
Consider twilight. What feelings and moods come to mind? Do they differ if you place yourself in Paris’ bustling Place de l’Opéra or at a remote Eastern Washington cabin surrounded by trees and no electricity? Tell a story that takes place at twilight, using the setting of your choice. Or, if you’re writing a novel, could thinking about twilight in this way add color and texture to a chapter that otherwise seems stalled?
Grab Bag Bonus:
The most brilliant of stories–fiction or non-fiction–come from nothing more than a seed. Devote at least part of your writing time today to pulling out your collection of writing ideas and see if you can find new potential in old seeds. Does time give you a new perspective on a topic, making a previously disregarded idea now seem bursting with life? Does a character sketch you never fully developed suddenly fit perfectly in the story you’re writing now?