Your writing stinks are probably the last words you want to hear from a reader, I know they are not what I wanted to hear from an editor when I was submitting a freelance piece for publication. When we dig a little deeper, they are exactly the words we should be striving for in everything that we write.
The sense of smell is 75 times more effective at triggering the memory than sight or hearing. What are we trying to do when we write is to take the reader back to a place that is familiar to them; to stir memories of events they have experienced, and or relate them to something new.
We all have memories of favorite foods from our childhood; remember how the kitchen smelled when Mom made those special cookies?
- If your audience includes CAPS Manitoba President, John Hindle, and you can take him back to the smell of leather in a new baseball glove, you have a winner.
- If Kate MacKenzie of Surefire Fitness smells the grass of a new mowed lawn in the opening of your piece; you can bet she will read it.
- Or if you’re able to have CAPS Manitoba’s webmaster and chocoholic, Anna Coleshaw-Echols’ mouth watering over the description of a new chocolate dessert recipe; you have done your job to the best of your ability. So try to make your writing smell.
Now, I don’t mean soaking your paper in perfume as the romantics of past generations did (but maybe they had something there). But try to appeal to all the senses when you write.
Create the situation, as realistically as possible, whether you are taking your reader back in time, or giving them a new experience. Allow, no make… the reader experience the situation with all their senses.
This does not mean endless descriptions of every situation. Rather this means a careful choice of the descriptive words that you use. In most cases, this can be done with fewer words than a long visual description that will not trigger as much response as a description of a sense of smell or hearing.
How do you write descriptively of the other senses?
Take the time to put yourself in the situation when your are writing. Take a few minutes to think about what your senses would be uncovering at the time your are in that situation.
One of the best pieces I ever read was written by a long time friend, Bonnie Stephenson, and it described the auction at a purebred cattle sale. When I asked her how she achieved the feeling in the story she said, “I wrote it sitting under the grandstand at a sale.” She was able to take the reader to those seats weeks, months and even years later. Can you now smell the manure that Bonnie smelled, and hear the lowing of the cattle?
Try to do that with your writing. Try to take your reader to that spot, and make your reader smell your writing.
This guest blog was written by:
Global Ghost Writer
Les Kletke Communications
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