Sunday, July 13, 2014

THE BUTTON LEGACY: EMILY'S INHERITANCE/ Writing for the Senses by Ginger Marcinkowski

Think back to a place that was or is your favorite place in the world. Jot down three or four things that make you think of that place.

My favorite place is in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick for simple reasons. As a child it was the only place on earth I ever felt safe and really loved. So I used this setting in my latest release, The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance. I didn’t just describe how it looked; I described how it made me feel.

I visualized with words the falling of a tree, its death in the woods, how the dirt mushroomed up around it when it hit the ground, lifted then settled into the smell of sweet pine. I gave a picture of a Belgium horse tethered to the felled log, its nostrils flaring, the bit clanging in his mouth as he anxiously awaited the command to run. Back then; I felt the power of the hard work that went into foresting the logs from the woods. Now I hope to make you feel it as well. That’s part of the craft of writing. Taking ordinary parts of life and making the reader “feel” like they are part of it.

So how do we do that? We use the senses. We look for words that evoke feeling. Instead of saying, “It smelled outside,” we’d say “the air smelled like licorice, dark and sweet.” With taste, instead of saying “it was sour,” we’d say, “he closed his eyes as the liquid hit his tongue, his face puckering”. You get it!

We “show” not “tell”. Wow was that an eye opener! I think every writer still fights to make their work more “showing” than “telling”, but before I didn’t realize it was part of the many “secrets” to writing!

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