1. Anybody who takes a writing class from me knows I harp on sense of place–the details that make the physicality of where your character is seem real.
Quick exercise: Using your senses, describe where you are now. In the background I hear my daughter chatting about superheros and what insignia the one she has drawn needs to wear on his chest. A cool breeze comes in through the open window. The chair I use is old and not so comfortable and the room, it’s a little dark because I don’t want to open the curtains and let all the light in. I don’t want my office to get too hot. There’s the left-over smell of toast and I can taste the butter still.
What about where you are? Where your character is? It’s not a bad idea to use ALL the senses (yes, all five!) while writing.
2. Here’s something from NaNo about sense of place. It may help you improve. http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/node/512584
(Hey, hey, hey! Are you planning on joining me for NaNo?)
3. Using this paragraph from my fifth novel, My Angelica, add the five senses to make things feel more real.
This story is about a girl–Sage–who wants to be a writer. She wants to write a best selling novel–and lands upon this character.
Here’s the bit to play with:
The mist hung heavily over the water, thick with the smell of fish and whiskey. Angelica stood on the dock in her alligator pumps. Her blue sequined dress reflected the patterns of the Milky Way to a T. Her auburn tresses hung loose and straight down her slender back. Her dark brown eyes flashed with intensity.
The smell of death tickled Angelica’s sensitive nose. On the night of her nomination for the Democratic candidacy to be the first female president of the United State of America, on the night her lover of thirteen months proposed marriage, Angelica smelled a murder mystery brewing like Folgers Coffee Crystals.
This time she would be ready for it.
Pulling herself to her highest height, Angelica remembered her life as a battered child. She had beaten the odds like her wicked stepfather had beaten her. She wiped a loan tear from her cheek with her gloved hand.
A fisherman cast into the dark, still waters eyeing Angelica from his casual sitting position. He wore a black eye patch. It covered one very brown eye.
PS Tomorrow’s my birthday!