MONDAY CREATIVE WRITING EXERCISE because it’s a good way to start the week – making description stand out for all the right reasons
Good description never just tells you what something is like. It also does something else.
Very often the something else adds to the emotional atmosphere of the story or helps to create tension.
It is what “show don’t tell” is all about.
In this exercise I suggest that you focus on smell because I think it’s neglected in literature.
Description is nearly always visual – how something looks – but if we can introduce another sense we’re injecting a degree of reality that will trigger the reader’s imagination.
Here’s three things that smell quite a lot: jot down a few words or phrases that go some way towards capturing what they smell like, but you’ll see that I’ve given some details so you can put the smell in context and you can heighten the reader’s experience of that moment.
A wet dog —
A puppy delighted to see you —
A snarling vicious dog ready to attack —
In a warm, welcoming kitchen —
On a camp fire —
A hostage smells it through the cell door, it means a guard will come soon and that could mean another beating…
Ready to be put out —
Left in a washing bag for days —
Pin down that smell in that particular context and the reader will be standing shoulder to shoulder with you, seeing what you them to see, feeling what you want them to feel, wrinkling their nose….