Enrich Your Fiction: My Sensory Game

The world around you is rife with inspiration, as long as you are open to it. Even places you see every day can be useful. You just have to learn to see them with new eyes.

Here in KC, spring arrived early – and was briefly buffeted by a surprise cold snap and snowfall. Despite this meteorological setback, things are greening and flowers are blooming and spring herself was about a month early!

One benefit of the weather changing early is that I have had inspiration overload for the Eden-like setting of part of Withered World, and being that I’m in the middle of edits, that’s a very good thing. The farm communities in this story have been healed and the people there live in a lush landscape of flora. Lately, it’s been rough going as far as beautiful landscape writing goes when the world I looked at all winter long is more dead earth than verdant Eden. So the change is certainly welcome (though worrisome from an environmental standpoint).

Looking for some tips on how to bring elements of a familiar landscape into your writing? Try playing my sensory game!

using your senses

Usually, I reserve this game for travel. But, it can certainly come in handy in my very own backyard. The rules are simple and follow a “stop and smell the roses” mentality.

  1. See with more than just your eyes.
  2. When looking with your eyes, see things differently.
  3. Use rich vocabulary to describe what you are experiencing with each sense.

For example, when I traveled to Puerto Rico two years ago, I consciously evaluated the environment everywhere I went with sensing words and phrases, attempting to describe the experience as if I were planning to write a story set there. It turned out to be pretty useful.

I believe that using this game to enhance my writing has made me a better writer and that I have become someone who looks at a scene with a rich perspective, utilizing more than just sight to show what is going on.

Here are some of the phrases that came out of this experience.

  • The stark mangrove in the darkness. The winking of the stars between their branches.
  • The fleeting fairy-like glow of the bio-luminescence. One instant there, the next, blackness.
  • The heat of the sun on my pale skin.
  • The stickiness of the brown-sugar sand.
  • The rush of the waves against my shins.

Okay, so all of the senses aren’t reflected in this little teaser. But I think you get the idea.  The phrases don’t have to be earth-shattering lines of genius or even poetry. They simply function to remind you of the very small moments in a larger scene or experience.

Happy writing!