Throughout my life various people told me I should be a writer, but I was also drawn to art and that was the direction my life took for many years. I married a music teacher and decided to become a teacher myself, and the logical choice was art. I taught that for several years. I finally gave it up, but I didn’t give up my love for art. Now I have my own home-based business called L’Artista bella. I consider myself a portrait artist, but I’ve been branching out more, trying to teach myself new techniques, to grow as an artist.

I never lost my interest in writing, though. It was just put on the back burner for a while because life happened. To say I thought I always had a book in me sounds cliché, but that’s how I finally became a writer. I’ve always had an interest in the paranormal and many books I enjoy reading are paranormal, so I began writing in that genre. I’ve always had vivid dreams and I like
to analyze them. I had one that was so strange I couldn’t get it off my mind so I wrote it down. It finally led me to the idea for my first novel, “Keys Of Childish Scrawl.” The book wasn’t born, though, for several years.

I finally decided to sit down one day a few years ago and start writing that book I’d thought about for so long. It ended up taking a totally different direction than what I first envisioned, but I believe it turned out the way it was meant to be. I also included many of my own life experiences in it. For instance, one day while driving home from work in the hills, I got caught in a freak snow storm. I didn’t have experience driving in those weather conditions, so to say I was nervous is an understatement. While in a deserted area, I came upon a snow owl perched on a fence post, and it was watching me as though it was waiting for me. We made eye contact as I drove by and the scene was surreal. It looked like a ghost in the snow. That white owl was included in my book as an important part of the story. When I began writing my book, I didn’t think about having it published. I just wanted to show myself that I could write one. As it developed, I began to think seriously about having it published, and by the time I finished, I was determined to do that.

Publishing can be a long drawn out process, and sometimes people go through many publishers before their work is accepted. Some people are never published unless they self- publish, and even that never happens for some. I feel my experience isn’t typical and I feel very blessed. On the spur of the moment one day my husband, David, suggested we go to a comic-con in Paragould, AR. Neither of us had ever been to one so we were curious. I had also just gotten a rejection letter from the 2nd publishing company I submitted to. The 1st one didn’t even acknowledge me.

When we walked into the comic con, the first table we saw was Burning Willow Press Publishing Co., and we stopped and talked for several minutes. I was impressed with the owners and publishers, Edd and Kindra Sowder, and they encouraged me to submit my book, and they accepted it. I believe it was meant to be, and as the saying goes 3 rd time was the charm. “Keys Of Childish Scrawl,” was released March 2, and can be found on Amazon.

While waiting for my first book to be published I didn’t stop writing. I’ve written short stories for BWP anthologies that were also accepted. Those stories are “The Light In The Window,” “Highway 93,” and “Grandpa’s Glasses.” I’ve written a spin-off of my novel that continues the lives of two of the characters, and I’m working on a third book now with the same characters. Their story develops, and you get to learn more about the meaning of the white owl. I’ve also gotten story ideas from some of my paintings.

  • On writing, the greatest lesson I’ve learned from it is that I still have a lot more to learn. As I said about developing techniques in art, there’s always room for growth as a writer. I’m branching out with my writing and experimenting with different genres to help me grow.
  • Constructive criticism should always be welcomed too, because it’s a new perspective on your story or your writing style. Revision is extremely important.
  • Your first draft is just getting the story down, but there should be many drafts before you decide you are finished and submit anything. Every time I go over something I’ve written, I always rewrite part of it, add something new, or delete something I decide doesn’t work or is completely unnecessary. It just makes the story better.

I’ve wondered how long I’ll write. Well, who knows? But as long as I have story ideas, I’ll be writing. That could be a while because I keep coming up with new stories, many of which stem from my own life experiences.

Check Cindy Johnson’s Links

www.facebook.com/cindyjohnsonauthor

www.goodreads.com/user/show/69812811-cindy-johnson

/twitter.com/CindyJo…/status/1069584124824956928…

www.facebook.com/LArtista-bella-1390856007846946/

amazon.com/author/cindyj

Some links contained in the above interview may no longer work properly. Images may have been lost over the years as well for some interviews and older content.

This is an older interview being re-posted.


Interesting Reads and Related Content

My name is Katie, and I’ve been an author my entire adult life. I published my first novel in 2006 with a large mainstream publisher. In 2009 my second came out with another. Five more followed, and everything seemed set.

But by 2015, everything had changed. eBooks had been a thing for some time, and book sales were down across the board – even for bestsellers. The big publishing companies had chosen to invest heavily in the eBook market, a move which did not pay off as well as they likely hoped it would, as many readers decided the format did not suit them and for some “electronic books” appeared to have been nothing but a passing fad. On top of that Amazon had cornered the eBook market and few other platforms survived for long. By now hemorrhaging money, the “Big Five” stopped renewing contracts with many of their mid-level authors and many editors and other publishing professionals lost their jobs.

I was one of the many people to lose out. In 2015 both of my publishers told me they weren’t going to publish the next installment in the series I had begun in 2009. I was effectively out on the street with a half-published series, fans asking when the next book would be out and an agent shrugging helplessly as every other mainstream possibility turned us down on the grounds that they did not want to pick up a series halfway through (or in one case, went into receivership before they’d even read the manuscript).

I had no idea what to do, so I turned to my friends. Their advice – go indie.

There has long been something of a class system in the publishing world, which to my regret I must confess I once ascribed to myself. “Real” authors got their books out through big shiny corporate publishing companies and that’s it. Self-publishing was for untalented losers who couldn’t take no for an answer. Indie publishing was for cults and conspiracy theorists. Certainly, when I became an indie author several people I had thought were friends suddenly began acting as if I didn’t exist, or began making passive-aggressive remarks about my “failed” career.

But the landscape has changed and is still changing. If those stereotypes were ever so they no longer are. I entered the independent publishing world hopelessly naïve and unsure of what I was getting into, and as it is in any business I learned a few painful lessons along the way. What I found was a world where many others are still finding their feet, but were, for the most part, everything was less impersonal, and there was far more creative freedom. The companies I’ve begun working with are not owned by faceless bean counters, but by other artists, for artists. There’s less money invested, of course, but in some ways, that’s a good thing. Too much money on the line makes any company overly conservative and averse to taking risks, which is why so much mainstream fiction tends to be rather samey – blockbuster movies even more so. Diversity is encouraged and there is far less preferential treatment shown toward white male authors, which was an issue I had to deal with many times as a mainstream author. The experience is more collaborative, and as the author, you feel less like a supplicant and more like a partner.

Some people are now declaring that independent publishing is the way of the future, and perhaps it is. Time, as always, will tell.  I for one am optimistic.

Check out KJ Taylor:

Some links contained in the above interview may no longer work properly. Images may have been lost over the years as well for some interviews and older content.

This is an older piece of content being re-posted.


Interesting Reads and Related Content

Originally, this blog post began as an essay of what I’ve seen others doing wrong with a different title to help others avoid the mistakes, but when I stopped working on it I realized I had made many of these mistakes myself, even recently! I wanted to step back and start over when I became more educated by some professionals in specific fields of the industry. This mentorship of sorts has enlightened me.

The Word began as a writer’s corner/writer’s stories/advice column of sorts to help others learn from my mistakes, give an outlet to fellow authors, share my knowledge, and try to help fellow poets and writers. One thing I’ve talked about the most is growth and being open-minded enough to learn as much as possible. This means I’m on a journey along with everyone else and I want to share what I’ve learned.


The Problem: Promoting too early

My Mistake: I would drop hints, clues, and teasers to create a buzz, but I would start months ahead of release dates. I wanted to create a buzz. I knew I should. This was poor marketing on my part. Which surprised me, I have written about marketing, but I’m not a publicist nor an expert in this field. Give me a photo and ask me if it’s photoshopped I can usually tell or ask me to write a short story, hold my drink, and watch me pound the keys!

What I’ve Learned to Correct This Problem: Promoting too early is a mistake. Months ahead of time is completely too early. 6 weeks ahead of release is the key number I’ve learned from authors and book publicists.

Promoting too early sucks the life out of the book. Any interest for a book will fade by the time it releases. The most active time is the month of and the months after, the peak time is the day of.

The Problem: Giving Up

My Mistake: Self-doubting myself has always been an issue. It’s led to me wanting to give up completely. I felt like a ‘bad writer’ multiple times and wouldn’t work on manuscripts or would force myself to move forward shakily.

What I’ve Learned to Correct This Problem: NEVER give up! Taking care of yourself isn’t giving up. It’s healing yourself to continue the journey. I know I’m not the only writer in the world with worries, concerns, and the ‘bad doubt demons’ whispering. I used to write every day, but over time I stopped doing this.

I’m changing my course and getting back to the good ol’ spooky writer that I am, as I never left just got lost in the mist. I will also say one nice thing about myself every day to pump myself up.

Today’s Self Compliment: I’ve survived so much, I can survive today too.

The Problem: Self-care

My Mistake: Not taking care of myself better. I’ve talked about being creatively burned out before (Read: The Dark side of being ‘Creative on Demand’). I’ve talked about it in interviews. I wasn’t taking care of myself or well enough which ultimately snuffed out my candle. It’s burning the candle at both ends, eventually it’ll met in the middle and be over.

What I’ve Learned to Correct This Problem: The solution was more self-care. Taking a break more than for a little amount of time. Stepping away from projects I’m working on and declining the ones I don’t want to do. I’m no good to anyone if I’m a mess. Never burn the candle at both ends again.

The Problem: Communication

My Mistake: Not communicating enough was a problem I didn’t realize I had. I replied to people, but never really dug deep into things. I never really commented in communities. I’m very aware of my own introverted nature. I don’t enjoy being on camera, don’t like my picture taken, and if you’ve followed me on Facebook, you’ll see even in a recently found older picture of myself I wasn’t happy about it.

What I’ve Learned to Correct This Problem: Though I would join communities around the net, but mainly to watch, but this year has grown to be a full-blown change. I’ve been responding to comments on other website during the Silver Daggers Book Tour, here on WordPress, and more throughout my social media.

Where did all of this begin for me, you might ask? Well─ in an unlikely way. When I was a child, my imagination was a wild one, and much to my satisfaction, I’ve managed to keep most of it. Living back in South Florida, we lived in a neighborhood filled with other kids, and we spent the majority of our time outdoors thinking up ways of keeping ourselves entertained. As the years went on, I was the one that most kids wanted to come hang out with, because I always seemed to come up with the best games to play. Video games were still in their infancy, so we weren’t as chained to our television screens as later generations would learn to do.

            Much of my imagination stemmed from watching multitudes of films as a child, and I still remember the first time that I watched Night Of The Living Dead when I was around seven years old. I recall in detail being afraid to look out the windows at night because I was sure that I was going to see a horde of zombies staggering toward our house.

            It wasn’t until my brother and I started going to movie theaters on our own that I realized that storytelling was something that I longed to do, whether it be vocally, visually, or through the written word. Not knowing exactly where or how these movies came to fruition, I assumed for many years that it was the movie directors who wrote them. I never really had a desire to be an actor in film, but a movie director? That’s something I could get behind. Well, as the years went on, those dreams of mine began taking a back seat, but my love for the film never subsided.

            In my adolescence, I began having an affinity toward movies that intentionally dug around inside your head; movies such as Fight Club, Requiem For A Dream, Memento, and Seven. Those types of movies began setting me on a path that I would not take for quite some time, because life and other responsibilities take precedence.

            Fast forward to August 2016, the month I took the plunge into this whole writing life. My stepson accidentally pulled his PS3 off his bedroom dresser in the middle of the night, and that was the death of it. So, instead of fighting him over the PS4 in the living room, I took a step back and allowed him to have it. I retreated to the back of our apartment, opened a word document, and started pounding out words.

            Now, I claim to be a fairly intelligent person, but at the time when I started, I knew very little about the actual craft of writing. While we went through school, we had our assignments and whatnot, but creative writing was one of those things that were more or less water under the bridge. I had no real formal experience in writing, and I really wasn’t that big of a reader either. Also, I wouldn’t consider myself to be too much of a horror buff. I mean, I have watched pretty much all the scary movies over the past twenty-five or thirty years, but I never really saw myself as one who would be defined as a writer in the horror genre.

            The idea started out simple. I work in a creepy old warehouse, which used to be a textile mill in the early to mid-nineteen hundreds. I kept getting these feelings as though something was watching me from the dark spots, which felt like eyes everywhere because much of the warehouse is unlit. Some of my co-workers decided that it would be fun to prank me and began tormenting me with elaborate schemes. They even pulled things overusing the fishing line. Once I found out, I was pretty pissed off, but it also sparked something inside of me; a story that brewed deep down that I knew had to be told. As much as I wanted to punch those guys, I must credit them with getting my cogwheels moving. The rest is history for another day.

            If there’s anything that I learned from writing my first book, Passenger, it was to never be afraid to learn or to seek new information, because there are many techniques and methods to getting a novel completed. When I first started out, I wrote my first five or six chapters without knowing practically anything about creative writing. So, to avoid stepping into a bear trap, I took a walk backward and learn as much as I could about the craft before proceeding again. It ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in all my life. This was also the time when all those years of watching film became more relevant because storylines stay relatively the same across the board, regardless. These movies also helped me learn when to dive and when to pull back because it’s a delicate dance of difficulties.

            Here’s the best advice I can give. There are two enemies with writing or producing anything of emotional or monetary value. One enemy is your distractions. The second enemy is YOU. When you sit down to do your work at the end of a long hard workday, unplug yourself from the social media notifications. I would say to keep your phone as far away from your station as possible. In your browser, the only thing that you should have open is the dictionary. As far as enemy number two goes, give yourself a break, and a much-needed pat on the back. You’re doing something that is dreamt of by millions of people who make millions of excuses for never doing it. Take the time to be proud of yourself, because if you don’t believe in yourself, it will be tough getting other people to believe in you. One of my mottos is to be helpful, be humble, and be kind.

            Lastly, within reason, I say that you should be a “yes man.” Have a can-do attitude. If someone asks you for a favor, do your best to be reliable and dependable. Try going out of your way and dip your toes outside of your comfort zone. When the first live show I was ever a part of aired, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and this thing called anxiety was exploding through the ceiling of my apartment. It terrified me, which is strange because I’m an extrovert. After being on a couple more shows, it was like taking the dog out on a walk, and that feeling of dread was old news. Here’s a quote I heard somewhere, and don’t know who it’s from, but I’ll try to recite it as best I can ─ There is no growth in the comfort zone, and there is no comfort in the growth zone. Best of luck to you, and happy writing.

            If you would like to know more about my debut horror novel, Passenger, I will release it in October 2020 with Three Furies Press. I look forward to meeting and talking with each one of you. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about my journey.

https://www.facebook.com/mickferia – Main

https://www.facebook.com/MikeFeriaWrites/ – Author Page

https://twitter.com/MikeFeriaWrites – Twitter

https://www.instagram.com/mikeferiawrites/ – Instagram

thrilliterature.wordpress.com – WordPress

What other genres do you enjoy reading?

Documentaries and biographies

­Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?

Yes.

Fiction or non-fiction? Which is easier?

Fiction.

How many children do you have? Do you see any young writers in any of them?

I have one and yes. He’s shown interest. From what he has shared with me I think is good for a beginner. It wasn’t anything I ever forced on him. I make it very clear to him he doesn’t have to like it or be into it the way I am, for him to be into what he likes.

What advice would you like to pass on to young writers of today?

If your dream is to be published one day work toward that. You won’t always find the support you need so you need to be your own support in that situation. Don’t give up.

Is privacy an issue for you?

I once was super worried about privacy, but it’s not an issue mostly for me. If it’s something I don’t want online, I don’t put it online.

Were you a troublemaker as a child?

I wasn’t perfect, but wasn’t out to cause trouble either.

What time of the day do you usually write?

Nighttime, I’m usually up anyway so I make the most of it.

Describe a typical writing day.

This can change depending. Mostly I handle my responsibilities to my family, grab a cup of coffee, and start working on writing. Whether it’s setting up a draft, purging out my ideas, organizing, or writing. I take breaks and handle chores on those and then get back to writing if I’m able to.

Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?

Yes. Best I can say is breathe. If you’re becoming stressed step away. If you’re becoming emotionally drained step away. Self-care is important and if you’re not taking care of yourself, it will affect your work and those around you.

Even in my younger years the appeal of a pen name entrapped me. Something better than my name. I ran through several ideas, but years later when became something to put into use I didn’t know what to use. By now at least, you should have realized my penname is L. Bachman.  Many people use pennames, it’s nothing new, but the reasons behind using one are vast. Some do it to sort genres they’re writing. With others use one for privacy reasons. For me it was privacy, but almost two years after I began, I discovered I had fooled myself.

I was published in an anthology called Painted Mayhem, to help raise money for post-traumatic stress syndrome survivors and their families. It was in one of the reviews I discovered my name, not penname being used. It wasn’t an upsetting thing for my name to be used, but I realized it was a downsize, would be for someone really wanting to hide behind a name. I’ve gone on to fully accept the use of my penname, a variant of it mixed with my real name, or even just flat out my real name (Lynn Bachman, Lynn Lesher, or L. Lesher).

This is where I share the lesson I learned in order for you to learn from it. It should be obvious by now that nothing online stays private. If you’re using a pen name, make sure you’re comfortable, on some level that eventually your truth comes out. Like mine, it came in the form of a review. I don’t know the reviewer; I do not know who they are, but they knew my name none the less.

I could see this being a problem for many writers in the independent field. I’ve met many that write or were writing in a genre they felt family or friends would be ashamed of. I never figured it to be a big problem for me. I didn’t try very hard to keep my name private; I use a page for business and the L. Bachman name became a business name.

Just be aware someone knows what you’re doing most likely.

I’ve seen it many times before where a writer gets lost in a word count and begins chopping at their story to meet a demand or out of nerves thinking their work is too long to be a short story or novel. I decided to create my own infograph to help with this.

Remember, this is to be used as a guide for a goal and not to measure. So use before you finish! Different publishers and agents will have their own guides of what they prefer, but this infograph is to get a very good idea of length. There are different graphics I’ll be making for genre expectations.

Remember, a story is to be based on quality not quantity. I’ve witnessed long books be complete rubbish and shorter ones be excellent. It’s the story that counts not the word count. (See what I did there? Har har)

Writers seldom write the things they think. They simply write the things they think other folks think they think. So this is my two cents; one man’s opinion – I think.

I follow a fair number of writers and creators on social media and noticed some of them discuss their creative process a lot more than I do. I’m fairly reluctant to talk about the fundamentals of storytelling and the various projects I have in development (mainly because I have no idea what the hell I’m doing, anyway), but I feel it’s healthy to step out of my comfort zone every once in a while. So here we go.

One of the first things they teach you about creative writing is that there are five basic elements of a story: characterization, setting, plot, theme, and tone (these can vary depending on how big of an alcoholic your instructor is). A story cannot exist without any of them. You can try to remove setting by placing the characters in a void…but then the setting becomes the void. You can try to remove plot by just having everyone standing around doing nothing…then the plot becomes them standing around doing nothing. You can try to remove characterization…well, you get the idea.

To construct a story you have to make a decision about what one of those elements will be and then build up from there. I like to think of a story as a tower and all of these elements are your building blocks to create it. The bottom block is the most important as it will answer the question “why.” Why is this story important to tell? Why do you want to tell it?

Personally, I believe the most important aspect of a story is theme. It is the central tenant to which every other element can rally around. It gives my story a purpose. A punch. That said, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of stories that don’t start with a theme at all. Comedies, for example, are more interested in tone, as they want to set up a good laugh. Romance novels might be more focused on characterization, as they want to see their protagonist fall in love or triumph over a heartbreak. Sometimes setting is the most important factor, such as in a period piece or a story built around a particular event.

Now even though this first block might be the most important, it is also probably the easiest to develop. Because it’s your “why”, the work is already done for you. It’s your driving force behind wanting to develop a project. The trick to a good story are the blocks that come after. The ones you have to creatively mold in order to flesh out your tale. And it’s not just what you’re choosing to put in those blocks that matter. It’s also the order in which you stack them in. Since each block is built upon the last, if you realize too late that one of those blocks was a bad choice, then the others that came after it will also be affected. This process is supposed to be fun. Writing is a crazy endeavor. People isolate themselves for vast periods of time while staring at a screen, banging on a keyboard, and wrestling with their own thoughts. But we do it because it’s enjoyable! The minute this painful process starts to become…you know…actually painful…then stop, change out a couple blocks, and see what fits better. Maybe the setting should be in space instead of the Wild West. Maybe it should be a horror instead of an adventure. Maybe the main character should be a boy instead of a girl. Or you could just do what I do whenever a story doesn’t seem to be working: add zombies.

Check out Frank Martin:

Digital Camera

I am from north east Arkansas. After college and moving around many years I returned to the area. My career was in music and music education. It remains a major interest for me. Science fiction and some fantasy tales held my interests from childhood. I got to view many of the 50’s grade B sci-fi flicks as they first came out. As a teen I enjoyed several of the genre’s short stories.

My writing experience is regarding graduate schools and career needs. My preference is the Chicago Manual style. So, I would certainly urge all aspiring authors to learn the fundamentals of writing/language usage.

Next, writers should expose themselves to the wide variety of styles that exist. I think that, as in my chosen field of music, the more styles you can be versed in the better your chances of success. It hurts nobody to read a poem or two, some old/new style novels and short stories, and folk tales of various cultures. I believe everyone should read some of the Psalms in the Bible. David and Asaph were great in that style and knew how to write expressively.

I told myself the stories I have published several times in my head before I wrote them. Inspiration comes from different places for all of us. I have composed two novels that need revising, of course! The first began with a scene that came to mind while on a long walk during a winter night. Colors and sound often grab my attention. I envisioned a snowy scene of a bright blue flag, the image panned downward to a line of people with a primitive and brassy fanfare sounding. Then I began wondering: who were they, why were they there, where were they, and why? The second book built on the first.

Most places and characters I use are based on who/what I know. My first story, “The Night at Amos James’ Cabin”, is rooted in a family story passed to me by my maternal grandmother.

The second one. “Glork”, reflects my interest in what would happen if alien visitors desired to become Christian. Something would surely go wrong, and it does.

Write so that you show what is happening, rather than just telling it.

Study some history like the events you wish to write about. I can’t imagine writing on warfare without knowing about the World Wars and the Civil War, etc.

Write a lot. Consider it as practice, which everyone needs.

Finally, find an editor you trust, as well as accurate beta readers. Edd Sowder of Burning Willow Press has been such an editor for me, and one of our sons, Ben, is a creative writing graduate and helps when needed. My wife, Cindy, is also a valuable “sounding board”. It is often mentioned to not use family in
such projects, but since mine have the credentials, I do not mind doing so.

Check Out David Online:

Amazon Author Page

Many people struggle with writing, I get it sometime it gets hard, but never give up! Here is a list on how to improve your storytelling! These are tips I have shared for years to help everyone wanting to write stories or even improve their literary role-playing and storytelling. It’s time to bust out your thesaurus or your online dictionaries for what they were meant for!


5. Research

The saying goes: write what you know. I agree fully, but what about everyone else that love writing new things, things they may not know? To that I say: write what you know because research will teach you. If you’re unsure of something fully exhaust yourself researching about a subject. Of course, go fully legal in your research and harm no one.

4. Comparing

The best way for a writer to explain something is to compare it to something more familiar. Recently, I wrote a short story and inside of it I described a UFO as a ‘silver donut’ Seems very simple, but you now know exactly what I’m talking about right.

It’s good to be descriptive, but sometimes simple gets the job done. If you’re writing descriptively enough throughout the story comparing something unfamiliar to something that is recognizable is a great way for the reader to see in their mind what you’re trying to convey.

3. Know Your Characters/World

The best way to write a character or world is to fully flush them out. It may be tedious, but it can help very much during writing. This is also where the jokes authors make of ‘my character wouldn’t let me’ or ‘they told me how they felt’ come in. It’s from, I hope, them flushing out personalities, histories, and all of that before hand.

Ask yourself questions and answer them. Who is this man or woman? Did they overcome what they went through? Did it damage them in anyway? This is also good for world building.

Fully flush out everything, enough of everything at least. I’ve met writers that have gone above and beyond creating interesting worlds and some that have done enough.

2. Pull From Your Own Emotions

This seems easy enough, but sometimes isn’t utilized properly. I have become well known for my ’emotionally driven writing style’ and the secret is this. If I’m writing something more horrific than what I’ve been through I use how I felt to write what it is and try and add upon it.

For example: I’ve never been possessed, but I’ve written about it (Human Ouija, The Blasphemer Series: Harvest, and The Painting of Martel depict different styles of possession). I imagine the worse possible feelings I’ve gone through, wrote them, and then thought more about the character’s situation. Feeling invaded, feeling overwhelmed, and perhaps confused.

1. Remember Your Five Aristotelian Senses

The key to really pulling someone into your story and improving your own writing is remembering the 5 ‘traditional’ senses (also known as the Five Aristotelian Senses). These are touch, taste, hearing, seeing, and smell.

Ask yourself questions.

Touch/Feeling – Is it cold? How does this character feel about that? Can they feel the warmth of their coat or perhaps they feel the chill because they’re not properly dressed. Perhaps your character has picked up something, how did that object feel. You can even describe simply if it was heavy or lighter than expected.

Tasting – Is the food salty or sweet? Did that cause them to moan enjoying the flavor? Say they were hit in the mouth, what did the taste of the blood against the taste buds of their tongue taste like? Perhaps they expected something to taste delicious because it appeared that way, but sadly it was disgusting. You can describe the disgusting flavors, why it was disgusting to that character. How did the food look before they tasted it?

Hearing – If the scene is ‘quiet’ can the character hear the buzzing of the air against their eardrums? Perhaps they do and it’s interrupted by a sudden noise. How did they react to it? Was it a familiar sound of another character coming home or a stranger breaking in? Did they hear glass shattering of a window or a door’s wood breaking when it was kicked in?

Seeing – So much of the story can be based on what is seen or describing a scene in such a way the reader can see it too. Things can be bright, blinding bright, or dark and dim. It is, for me, one of the first descriptors as it puts color to the moment.

Smelling – Smell is said to be the strongest of our senses linked to memories. They can take us to our grandmother’s house because she baked a lot or even to a sad memory of losing someone. For example: After a funeral many bring food to the family that has lost someone. Perhaps in this situation your character cannot stand the smell of pies because they remember losing their mother.

There are all kinds of scents. Sweet, nasty, or something that reminds me of our favorite memories. Apply those to your writing. Did the apple smell delicious or has it rot? You can even mix smelling with feeling and go the route of the air smelt clean and cold. You see? Mixing the senses creates a dynamic surrounding for your character and will add to the world they’re in.

You can even go into how the smell made your character feel. Did the burger joint’s smells make your character hungry or sick because it was overpowering? Use this!

There are more senses, you can learn about them here and here. I recommend this as it can help even further!


YOUR TURN

What did you think? Did this help? Have anything to add to the list above? Do you want me to do more examples? Perhaps show these tips in action?