I had been working on a key scene in my WIP for what seemed like forever. I wanted it to POP! I wanted people to tell their friends “There was this one part…” Sadly, it was flat. Sure, what needed to happen, happened. There were emotions. There was good dialogue. But something was still missing. I added things. I edited things. I rearranged. I rewrote. I was to the point where I was dreaming about how satisfying it would be to hurl my laptop at the wall. But in the shower (in a house crammed with five people and two dogs the shower is usually the only spot for some peace and quiet) I suddenly got an idea.
Of course, like all writers I have heard – and try to heed – the advice to inject all five senses into my writing. However, in the rush of the first draft and trying to get all the events happening when and where I want them to senses other than sight often take a backseat. During rewrites, when I consciously try to “expand my senses” in a scene I often found myself relying on the sense of hearing by adding sounds. Doesn't that just seem like the easiest sense to add into a scene? Smell, touch and taste were often overlooked.
My last ditch, shower idea was to tackle each sense individually. First, I studied my scene and wrote it making it a mainly visual scene. Then, I did the same focusing on hearing and sounds. In all, I wrote the scene five times, each time I concentrated on a different sense. Well, six if you count my selecting the best from each rewrite and merging them into one scene that finally began to POP!
Naturally, I can’t recommend this treatment for each scene in your book. But for troublesome sections or pivotal scenes you want to jump off the page try the five times treatment.