Adding a Sense of Place to Writing
|A picture may be worth a thousand words, but without an emotional connection, it's difficult to develop a sense of place.|
But lately, as I've been reading, I've noticed a lack of connection in some pieces. Those adjectives and adverbs fluff up the piece, but I don't see a marriage between story and the people or places written about.
What's missing? A defined sense of place.
Without a strong sense of place, a piece of writing lacks a certain rhythm.
What's the remedy?
We writers need to do more than merely observe. Instead, we should be savoring flavors, colors, and textures. We should be noting the fine details that weave through a story and in reality, add more information about a person or place than any darn ol' quote will.
When I taught high school English, I developed a sensory detail web for students to use to create concrete images. It focused on these questions:
- What would you hear?
- What would you smell and taste?
- What physical sensations did you note?
- What else do you see beyond the immediate range?
- What other details do you note that are important?
- What emotions do you have about this place or the situation?
Yet, without that emotional connection, writing falls flat.
A strong sense of place maps the invisible landscape and adds the fine points of a culture, a person or a spot on the globe. And, it makes your story a place worthy of visiting.
by LuAnn Schindler. Photo by LuAnn Schindler (the view from my deck on a frigid January evening in the Nebraska Sandhills). Read more of LuAnn's work at her website.