Monday, February 7, 2011

Creating Sensory Experience

I have a dear friend in one of my critique groups that just finished a novel for us to read. She’s from South Africa and has written a story about her homeland. It was breathtaking to travel down the coast with her protagonist and see the beautiful vegetation growing along the sea shore. I loved looking out into the ocean through her eyes – to see whales chasing a pod of dolphins or watch the waves crashing against the rocks. There was a great lighthouse near a precipice where a wonderful couple dug clams and made delicious chowder with corn bread.
So I say to myself, I live in a boring place. I don’t have anything like that to describe in my book. I haven’t been to any fancy far-away places. But as I look around me at the frosted snow-capped mountains, the drama of the kaleidoscopic sunsets, the delicate lacy snow-falls of winter, I know my world is breath-taking if I will just look. I can hear the sounds of frozen snow crunching under my feet, the dripping of crystal icicles, and the wind whistling through the pines. My fingers feel numb against the cold; my nose turns red and drips. The taste of hot chocolate lingers on my tongue and the smell of bread in the over warms me through & through.
Well, you get the idea. I just have to stop, look, feel, taste and smell the wonderful world around me. If I put myself into the scene, I will take my readers with me. I can do that if I just let myself experience the scene I want to read about.
What kind of memory jogger do you use to remind yourself to add sensory experiences? What kind of sensory experiences do you like to add? Give us an example one of the great sensory passages you have written.
Let’s all have a great getting-in-touch with our surroundings week.
You can find me every Saturday at Prophets in Person for unique stories about the lives of pioneer prophets and daily at Connections for a quick daily thought or scripture to keep your day positive and peaceful.


Shari said...

I try to surround myself with the character's world and compare it to things that I have experienced. It's a good idea to pay a little more attention. Thanks.

Linda Garner said...

I just looked out my window. It's breathtaking. The trees are frosted with diamonds and pearls. Fluffy cloud boats are sailing on a sea of blue. A flirty sunbeam is coaxing me to come out and play. I think I'll grab my coat. Linda Garner

Christy Monson said...

This is good for us all to remember. Sometimes I forget to stop and smell the roses. I guess we all need a memory jogger.

Drienie said...

Loved your blog, Christy! Of course I did, you wrote about my book :-) Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback--all the great suggestions too!

But, getting back to what you enjoyed in my book--the exotic South Africa! It's all in the eye of the beholder. I love it when family and friends come visiting from South Africa and I can show them MY America! For I am now an American!

I love to see Utah again, through their eyes--the softly falling snow, the towering snow-capped mountains--the frozen Pineview Reservoir, the frozen waterfall in Ogden Canyon. And oh! How excited they are to see a Moose in our backyard and a fox running down the road and a bald eagle circlling above the valley!

And how they love Utah's National Parks! Zion, Bryce and the incredible, awesome Grand Canyon and spiritual Monument Valley and the list goes on.

To them, my South African family and friends, Utah is incredibly exciting and awe-inspiring and where they live, in South Africa --in the Cape Province close to the Atlantic Ocean, and in the cities, like Johannesburg and where they go on vacation in the bush--surrounded by animals such as elephants, girafe, rhinos and where baboons like to raid their fridges--all of that is totally old hat to them.

They long for what we now have, here where we live in Utah, snow-filled winters and white Christmasses.

Thanks Christy, for a great blog!


surfwriter said...

It IS what we choose to see and how we appreciate beauty in every situation. I'm fortunate to have a view over my monitor of the mountains. Today they are cloud wrapped, though still visable. On a recent clear blue, but windy day, snow blew from the peaks like downy puffs, creating a beautiful image. In fall they're red, green and yellow and in summer the view of the pines helps remind me of a cool breeze. There's something to smile about everyday, with every view.
Great reminder Christy.