Writing Tips Gleaned from the Web

To bring your scene and characters to life, the reader needs to: 

  • See what’s happening–but only what your viewpoint character can see–physical impressions of the scene. And best to just include relevant information–we don’t usually need a detailed description of everything in a room, for example. 
  • Hear sounds around–anything your POV character can hear. 
  • Smell anything that might be pertinent (bread baking, bacon frying, a dead body decomposing). 
  • Taste (in general, or occasionally) some of the things the character is consuming, or know their reaction to what they’re eating or drinking. 
  • Touch–feel any possible tactile sensations of the viewpoint character. 
  • Know any thoughts the protagonist or POV character might be having.
  • Feel any emotions of the viewpoint character, to help assess and respond to what’s going on in the scene.
  • Be aware of the scene goal and intentions of the viewpoint character, so we know his reactions to what’s going on, and why he’s acting as he is, or saying what he’s saying.

(Adapted from a list by Jack M. Bickham) 

In conclusion, to write compelling fiction, don’t have your readers stumbling around in the dark, wearing ear plugs. Provide them with varied sense impressions of your viewpoint characters, and show them what the characters are thinking and feeling, too–their reactions to what’s going on around them. Then your readers will empathize with and care about your protagonist, and be truly engaged in his plight, worrying about him and cheering him on. 

Resource: The 38 Most Common Writing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them) by Jack M. Bickham. 

stephanie@moodyviews.com       © Stephanie Moody 2011