Friday, September 7, 2007

Using Your Senses

How do you use your senses when you write? Let's take music to start off with. A lot of writers have play lists to go with each of their books. I'll be listening to a song in the car and get an inspiration for a scene. What I do is play the song over and over again until I know the words. Yes, I'll sing along in the car like one of those crazy drivers. I even find the lyrics and print them out. Now, you might say because I'm inspired by music to write that I'm an auditory writer, but you'd be wrong. I visualize the scene in my head and can even see the words written on the page, but what I can't do is write while the song is being played. That I need to do in complete silence.

I'm a visual writer. There are other visual things I do to inspire me. I print out pictures of old paintings and photos of natural wonders while I build my otherworld. But not everything comes from external visual inspiration. I dream very vividly and awake about 3:00 AM, then put myself back to sleep to elaborate on the dream. When I wake in the morning, I write down everything I've dreamt. I wrote about seventy percent of my last book this way.

I also can be found, to my family's dismay, to be physically acting out a scene. My husband might walk into our bedroom, where my desk is, and I might be gesturing with one eye brow quirked, or dashing about the room wildly, or smiling in a coy manner with my head tilted just so. And you all know he thinks I'm nuts, but you don't. Do you? In the end I'm a very descriptive writer.

So, how do use your senses when you write? Are you more visual, like me? Or are you auditory? Tell me what your quirks are and what kind of writer are you?



  1. I write in total silence. In fact, although I love music, I don't listen to the radio in my car even for long trips. Instead, I plot scenes complete with dialogue. Like a movie only in 4D, I just sort of "watch" and write what I see, hear, smell, is all crystal clear to me and keeps expanding until I have a full story. God, I love writing!

    Sandy :-)
    Sandra Barkevich - Romance Author

  2. I have to have white noise, even to write term papers or study. But from writing plays I've learned how important it is to consider all the senses as a writer.-debralee

  3. I definitely speak my character's conversations aloud, but I need it to be quiet when I'm writing otherwise...challenging with 2 kids at home!

    Jody W.

  4. I am auditory writer. I don't "see" my characters until after the fact but BOY do I hear them. And I do have songs that help inspire me.

    I am curious about the 3AM ritual. Did you set an alarm or is your internal clock set for 3 AM? Did you write down part of the dream then aand fall back asleep and finish writing in the morning?

    Interesting process.


  5. I need total silence, but then it helps me to read a scene out loud once I've written it. Sometimes, pictures can help me visualize a character or scene better, but I usually just close my eyes and let my imagine paint the picture.

  6. I like having music playing in the background while I write. It helps me to get/be in the mood. In particular, if I'm writing a love scene I listen to love songs and sexy love songs. As to dialogue and stuff, I often will talk to the walls as if I'm my characters. Anyone looking in my windows would think I was a nut case. :-)

  7. Music-wise, my process is very similar to yours. I get very inspired by certain songs, and will play them repeatedly while fleshing out the scene in my head. However, I'm kind of, um, distractable, so I need it quiet when I'm actually writing. No talking out loud for me, but I have discovered I make faces sometimes along with my characters. It's weird. I can't seem to help it, though:)