Quote of the Month

Quote of the Month
Quote of the Month: Jan. 2018

The Highlighter Exercise

Pick or write a scene, any scene at all. If you're working on a novel it could be the opening scene, a death scene, something else important, or just a sideline scene to fill in space. Or just choose something you've written in the past, or one you want to write now. But it should be a relatively complete scene.

Now get 5 highlighters. They can be any color at all, though I chose 5 specific colors for this exercise. Now color coordinate those colors in advance matching one color to one of the five senses. For example here's what we did in my class today:

yellow - visual (sight)
orange - olfactory (smell) 
green - auditory (sound)
pink - gustatory (taste) 
blue - tactile (touch) 

Go through your scene that you've chosen whatever it may be, and highlight any of the places where you find any of the senses listed above and highlight them.

Note: At the end of this exercise you might find some of the following is true about your scene:

  1. You don't have much highlighted
  2. Yellow is the main color you used 
Don't worry if both 1 & 2 are true of your scene. When I first did this exercise I noticed I only had two lines highlighted (1 green and 1 yellow). So I went through the scene again and put an asterisk (keeping true with the color code of course) in every place I believed could benefit from sensory usage, or places where it could have gone but was absent from (like when Kat's brother takes her hands in his I realized I could describe how his hands felt, or like when Kat was flipping through pages of her book I realized I could add auditory, tactile and even olfactory senses there.) 

Now you try! And keep in mind that a writer needs to engage at least three sensory experiences withing an entire scene to bring their reader into it. But also remember there is such thing as sensory overload. 

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