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Posts tagged ‘significant details’

Using the sixth sense to enrich your story

In my last post, I discussed how to use the five senses to make your story world more believable—even if you’re writing about real-live gods and the dead coming back to life like author Neil Gaiman in American Gods. But what about the sixth sense of intuition? How can you use what is unseen, what is beyond the five physical senses to enrich to your story?

Contrary to what you might think, your character doesn’t have to be a psychic or a mind reader. You can activate your readers’ sixth sense by using foreshadowing or details that set the mood of a scene. Again, it comes down to using telling details based on the other five senses. Take a look at this passage from “American Gods.” What does it evoke in you as a reader? Read more

Place readers in your story world by noting significant details

One of the best things about reading a gripping book is the way it pulls you into another world where you become so immersed it’s as if you’re really there. One way to draw readers into your story is by using what writer and teacher John Gardner called “significant details.”

Before he died at age 49, Gardner wrote more than thirty works of fiction and nonfiction, including novels, literary criticism, and a book of poetry. He also wrote three successful children’s books, among them “Dragon, Dragon, and Other Tales,” which was named Outstanding Book for Children by the New York Times. Gardner was also a professor of medieval literature and creative writing.

In his book, The Art of Fiction, Gardner wrote, Read more