Monday, March 21, 2011

A Sense of Place

So, if you ever wonder what people get up to at a writers' circle, then the picture here should be quite revealing! Actually, the group's Vice Chair, Julie Phillips, produced an interesting workshop at our meeting on Saturday. Having worked with children at her daughter's school, she'd been inspired by the amount of creativity the children exhibited during play, so to inspire some creativity in us adults, she brought along a range of toys to play with!

Some played Twister, whilst others reacquainted themselves with Lego, and Play-doh (I'm particularly proud of my palm trees in this image) and we had a great laugh. When the time to stop playing arrived, we behaved like 5-year-olds and cried, "Oh miss!" and some even progressed into a full blown tantrum. But eventually, we returned to our desks and began writing.

When it was time to discuss the exercise, one key word kept cropping up - senses. The aroma of the Play-doh sparked off many memories, as did the feel of the lego bricks and the sound of squealing and laughter with many of the board games. Julie had even rigged up a few boxes containing some unusual textures for us to feel and guess. (The Strawberry Jelly produced the most squeals.)

Our senses are important to our writing, and if ever you find it difficult getting started with your writing, then the following exercise may prove useful:

Exercise 1
Write a paragraph describing your favourite place (a holiday venue, a room at home, meeting place) using your sense of sight only.

Exercise 2
Now, write another paragraph or two describing the same favourite place, but this time you can only use your senses of sight, sound, smell and touch.

Read both paragraphs and see which one provides the most powerful description. If you want, you can try merging the two exercises together, to provide a fully-rounded description of your favourite place.

Use more of your senses in your writing and you'll invoke memories of those senses in your readership too. Oh, and don't forget to have some fun from time to time!

Good luck!