How Journaling Can Bring Your Readers Into Your Storyworld

How do you make a reader feel like they’re RIGHT there in your scene in the same location as your protagonist?

Go there.

Bring your writing journal or computer–whatever you use to store your writing in, pull up a chair in an inconspicuous spot, and use your five senses. See, smell, hear, taste, and touch your surroundings.

Let me give you an example:

Your scene takes place in a bowling alley. Go to one near your home or where your story takes place. File your entry under Journaling: Bowling Alley. That way whenever you’re writing a scene about that location you’ll have an instant recorded memory describing the sights, smells and sounds.

Close your eyes. After you pull up a chair and sit down, shut your eyes. Listen. What do you hear? Hearing is often heightened by lack of sight. Pay attention to the way people talk, their lingo, and the other noises in the room. What do the pins sound like when they’re struck versus when they’re tumbling down? What strong active verbs can you use to describe the sounds?

Feel your surroundings. Put your fingers in a bowling ball and notice how heavy it is, if it’s too tight for your fingers, or if the texture inside is smooth, rough or slimy from the previous user. Put on a pair of bowling shoes. Are they too big? Too small? Too narrow? Or do they make you want to dance because they’re so light?

Check out the sights. How visually stimulating is the place? Is it clean, empty, monochromatic, or retro? What’s on the floors? The walls? Who do you see? How are they dressed?

Sniff.  What do you smell? Is there popcorn popping or coffee brewing? Beer? Cigarette smoke? Lady’s perfume? Men’s cologne? Are they of the expensive sort? Or the cheap kind? Is there a food grille where they sell hot dogs, nachos, or Coke? Did they just clean the restroom with an antiseptic?

Zoom in, Zoom out. Pretend you’re a fly on the ceiling looking down at the whole picture.  Describe it. Now zoom into your character’s body and give the reader his perspective. As you do, your story will intensify.

Your journal entry can be nothing more than a list of verbs describing the above senses. Although you won’t use every verb in your story, it’ll give you a ready-made list.

STORYWORLD is only a part of making your reader connect. Blending this with EMOTION will help intensify the experience.

Check back with me next Tool Tip Tuesday for a fast fact on how to journal EMOTION.

What did you write in your journal this week?


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