I know many of us do this already, but lately with the rewriting of areas of my book, my mind drifts to many places. I think people usually take their senses for granted as they go about daily life. Did you ever think about using all the emotions and senses that invade you daily to create things in your writing? We smell, taste, see and hear things everyday and probably pay no never mind to any of it, or to the emotions it may stir in us.
But what if we were deaf, blind, or unable to speak? How does it feel to walk around in the dark bumping into things? We come to expect things in our daily life because it has always been there for us. What if this familiarity was suddenly gone? When you turn out the lights at night, you can still see the room and you know what is there because you can see it in your mind. This is remembering what we have seen earlier and recalling it, the same as a blind person would do if they had sight before they went blind. You can use this imaginary picture to draw upon when writing your stories. How does this room look and smell? Is there a feeling of comfort, or is it sterile and cold.
Do you have a “seeing in your mind” act that you perform daily on a regular basis? In a room you know well with the lights off you can still maneuver across the room, around the furniture, and find the light switch because you are seeing the room in your mind. Can’t you get to the bathroom or even the refrigerator in the dark?
But what if the room is unfamiliar and you have to navigate it in the dark. You walk slowly with outstretched arms so as not to bump into anything, probably still knocking things off as you go, maybe even stubbing your toe as well, or slamming into something causing excruciating pain. This is the difference between seeing something in your mind that you know and something foreign that you don’t.
Visualizing something, seeing your mind, is the way writers write and painters paint. Musicians and photographers may use this as well without thinking about it. We can see the way things will be before we start out. We have to organize everything that flows through our minds daily and make use of these feelings in our writing. All of the senses play important roles in the minds of creative individuals.
If you come upon a fallen tree in the forest, did it make a loud crash when it fell even though there was no one was there to hear it? If you get out of a chair and turn the light off, does the chair still exist in the dark? You can see it in your minds eye and you’ll find it if you walk towards it in the dark. When you run into it and hurt yourself, you’ll know that it exist, even though you can’t see it there, except in your mind.
These things are what we need to call upon in our writing. We need to use all the senses to make the reader envision the way the characters in our stories are feeling. We would use this same technique with anguish and joy. Step back to a place where you are in tune with your character and remember those feelings you have had in the past, so that you can bring them to light through what is happening to your character. In my opinion, this will bring your reader into the story, having them walk alongside your characters and feel what they are feeling, whether it’s disgust, sadness, delight, or confusion. This works the same way for the other senses. If we, as writers, are able to successfully “be” the characters in our stories, it will be much easier to use all the senses in our work through “seeing in your mind” techniques and personal experiences. It’s all about putting you there and staying there for the entire book. To achieve this will take digging deep into your inner self. This is what makes a good writer with a story the reader can’t put down.