Warmest winter wishes from Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailmartin.com It's amazing how the winter has marched by with warm temperatures in many of the colder states. It makes us anxious for spring, especially those places that have experienced the horrible tornadoes so early in the year. Prayers go out to all of them.
I believe that intimacy in our storytelling style helps us to touch readers in an amazing way. Part I of Intimate Storytelling covered some of the elements of staying in a POV character’s viewpoint, but intimate storytelling needs more than a character’s viewpoint. The reader needs to feel the story through the character’s impressions and experience. This is done by bringing the senses to life and Part II covers this point.
The familiar "showing not telling" comes into play here. Let’s say a scene opens on a hot day. The POV character could say or think he was hot, or he could compare it mentally to the blast of the smelting ovens in the factory where he works. That ties the character to his employment which helps the reader know a little more about him.
But better yet, help the reader feel the heat through his perspective and experience. His palms slipped against his leather car seat leaving a moist imprint. He touched the steering wheel and drew back his hand. "?**#&8!" (You include the expletives that fit his personality, and remember in Christian fiction, curses are not acceptable.) In these two sentences readers don’t have to be told about the heat, they can experience it through the character’s senses—sight, sound and touch—because they have experienced the same thing in their lives.
Use the most appropriate impressions and senses that impact your story. You might show the heat of a day for the reader’s sense of place, but don’t over do it. You could use the first sentence in the example above alone—leaving the hand print on the seat–and you would make your point. Keep descriptions concise when you are using them only to help the reader envision where they are. If you are using the setting to enhance the mood or define the character, then the description can be expanded. More about that later.
Too many senses used in one scene can also kill their effect. Chose which senses are most dramatic or dynamic to your purpose. The overuse of senses can bring the story to a halt rather than add to its quality. If you read your work aloud, or use a text to voice program, many of these problems will jump out at you, and you can correct them. It’s always wise to hear as well as read your drafts. This is using your good sense.