Writing Secrets: It might feel magical – but it’s not a mystical process

 In Jo-Anne Richard's blog, Tips for Writers

“Wow, that was like watching a movie.”

This was the response of a participant in my Creative Writing Course to the writing of a fellow – and it came as a revelation to her.

They all wrote successful and dramatic scenes, which I’ve come to expect from the fifth week into the course. But one of them gave us a little something more.

Writing is magical. It can carry us into different times and different places – even different worlds – and we experience those times and places as though we were living through them.

I know that from my own life. There were times when, unhappy in school, my favourite forms of refuge were books and day-dreaming. With either, I could completely forget my current situation and become immersed in another, which had the power to absorb me completely.

What was it about my participant’s scene which drew the comment from her peer? It wasn’t something elusive or mystical. It was something that anyone can achieve with their writing.

She included more in terms of textural detail. She gave us specifics, rather than generalities: the smell in the kitchen while the conversation took place, and one or two details of what could be seen and heard, from which we could conjure the setting.

Use all your senses: not just the visual details. Smells and sounds are extremely evocative.

When you begin to write like that, it’s even more immersive and imaginative an experience than watching a movie. That’s what you’re going for. You want to transport your reader, and you can do that by mastering a few principles of writing practice.

Read Richard’s latest blog: ‘Monday Motivation: Total dedication to the craft

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