I’m going to do some writing prompts for a while on Mondays and see how they go. I’ll be keeping them nice and quick, because we often forget that we don’t need a huge swath of uninterrupted time in order to write. Even fifteen or twenty minutes is enough to get a little done.
Although I’ve always liked the idea of writing prompts, I don’t like it when they don’t feed into my work in progress. I’m going to try to come up with prompts that you can do with your current story in mind, or if you’re not in the middle of a project, you can just do them as creative writing exercises.
This writing prompt is about creating a setting that not only paints a visual picture, but speaks to other senses as well. As I explained in Master Lists for Writers, this can help readers feel like they’re there. I often don’t provide enough description of settings, and if you have the same issue, this will help!
Here are the 3 steps:
1. Think of a setting.
This can be one of the settings in your story, or any setting — a beach, a fast food restaurant, a drawing room in 18th-century France, or whatever you like.
Got it? Okay, next step!
2. Write down 2 visual details, 2 sounds, 2 tactile details, and 2 smells associated with the setting.
For instance, if you were doing a deep forest, it might look like this:
2 visual details — fallen log covered with moss; mist
2 sounds — chirping birds; branches cracking underfoot
2 tactile details — rough bark under the hand; chilly air
2 smells — rotting leaves; wet earth
3. Write a paragraph of description of the scene incorporating some or all the things you just wrote down.
That’s it! In not much time at all, you should have a vivid description of a setting that you can import into a scene.
Let me know in the comments how it works out, or if you have any other thoughts about doing scene descriptions. If you want to, you can even share what you did, though you certainly don’t need to. Happy writing!