In this short podcast, I encourage writers to introduce at least three senses into their writing, whether they are working on fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Don’t rely completely on the way things look. There’s also the way things sound, smell, taste and feel. Pick three. Bring your writing to life.
One, two, three … and you’re done.
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The workshop leader I mentioned referenced Flannery O’Connor, paraphrasing a section of “The Nature and Aim of Fiction” from Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose:
A lady who writes, and whom I admire very much, wrote me that she had learned from Flaubert that it takes at least three activated sensuous strokes to make an object real; and she believes that this is connected with our having five senses. If you’re deprived of any of them, you’re in a bad way, but if you’re deprived of more than two at once, you almost aren’t present. (Emphasis mine.)
For a scene to really come alive, include at least three senses.
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