I saved this prompt for last because it tends to be the one that we modern writers, raised on TV and movies, reach for first and are most reluctant to demote.
My hope is that, after four weeks of writing in the other senses, you’re a little disappointed to be invited to concentrate on what your characters can see this week. My hope is that you’ll be open to using sight in more creative ways than you might have been last month.
Your character is searching for something…and time is running out.
- I’ve said this so often now that I’m beginning to sound like a cliche myself, but try to avoid using any expressions you’ve heard someone else use before, when describing anything in this story. Find new ways to convey your meaning, ways that only you, and only this character, would use.
- Consider writing a character from an underrepresented group in society. Pay attention to the things they notice. Express them in ways that they might. For example, a woman and a man walking down a street at night might view an approaching figure differently; a group of aliens on their second visit to earth might react differently to the sight of a human pointing a metal tube at them, than they did on their first trip. Listen to this podcast episode to hear writer and teacher Matthew Salesses talk about this kind of thing.
- Remember that the things characters notice are important, not just for their role in the story, but for the character’s emotional state. If they notice a particular vase, it’s because it has some relevance to them. It might be the same as the one their beloved grandmother had. Or it might be the very one that was stolen from their home last week, making them realize they are in the house of a person connected with the crime. What does that do their emotions? How does that show up in their body and their reactions? Their decisions?
If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.
Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!
Discussion: How did you feel being set free to write about what your characters see, after weeks of being encouraged to explore other senses? Was it a relief? What have you learned that you will carry forward into your other writing?
Did you write any stories that you fell in love with this month, or was this just an interesting exercise?