As a writer, your job is to engage the reader into the world you have created, and keep them entertained. Words are your tools, so use them to build images in your reader’s mind.
The way to create an image is to use the five physical senses – sight, touch, taste, sound and smell. Depending on what genre you are writing, you can even use the sixth sense.
Take sound, for instance, if you hear the screech of car brakes and metal smashing into metal, you don’t think, “Oh my god, an accident” in words. An image of an accident springs to mind instead, and you relate the image to the feelings of pain, distress, fear, dying etc.
You could flesh this out further with images of someone in a wheel chair, sympathy, crying and, or a funeral.
So instead of saying, “they were distressed” or “it was a sad situation”, tell the reader about the the smell of blood, people screaming, the confusion, the shock, the stillness of a body or bodies, the mangled vehicles etc. In short, show instead of telling.
Using sensory details can assist with setting a mood; evoke feelings and trigger emotion for your readers making them feel as if they are right there, in that very scene and in that moment.
Writing this way further gives your writing rhythm and pace making it engaging.
© 2009 Cherry-Ann Carew
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