I'm participating in Arlee Bird's monthly blog project called the A to Z Blog Challenge. Here's my first entry in what I hope is going to be a fun endeavor.
I'm a very descriptive writer. I think it comes from being a storyteller for a live-action roleplaying group for several years. When you're weaving a tale aloud, immersing your participants in your story, the best way to suck them in is give them lots of little details which help them imagine what's going on. I like to focus on the senses of my characters. Every writer understands you must describe what your characters are seeing (after all, they're the lens you hold up to the world and invite your reader to look through), but do you concentrate on every sense your character has? I find myself leaning towards a lot of auditory description in my WIP.
Here's an example from a recent chapter:
"A long silence played out between them, filled with the soft summer song of birds twittering their good-nights and the long, low rush of cars passing by on the street beyond. The twilight deepened, thickening around them like gathered folds of velvet. Shouts of children echoed over the neatly manicured lawns in Jack’s neighborhood. Two yards down, the click-click-click-fisssssss of an automated lawn sprinkler whispered over and over in a mechanical monotone. At the end of Jack’s driveway, the streetlight’s transformer hummed as it began to power up for the evening."
When I wrote this, I wasn't thinking about what I was focusing on, or the fact that every sentence except for one in that paragraph is describing what the characters are hearing. I just wrote it. I was in the Zone, and you know how that is. You dump everything on the page and then come back later to see what you got. (Kind of like panning for gold.) But when I took these pages to writers' meeting, both Gail Gray and Brian K. Ladd mentioned how much they liked the different details I'd offered and it brought them even deeper into the story.
I love focusing on every sense the character has - the color of fistfuls of leaves on trees, the smell of baking grass in the hot summer air, the sensation of a prankish breeze playing cool fingers across prickly hot skin, the sound of insects singing in the reeds by a chuckling river, the taste of metal on your tongue as you drink cold water from the hose. Each sense we decide to focus on as writers gives the reader another map-marker which leads them deeper into the illusion we're creating.
What are some details you decide to focus on to bring your reader closer to your vision? What sort of extras do you weave into your prose?