Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Touchy-feely, pt1

I admit that I am an oral creature when it comes to writing. I need something in my mouth a good deal of the time.

Beverages are usually good. Hot in cold months, cold in hot months. Diet Coke at room temperature year round. Diet Ginger Ale goes in phases. When I go for my Monday morning write-ins, I arrive early so I can get in a cup of tea and a bagel before my colleagues arrive, then treat myself to a hot chocolate. If served by the charming gent with the UK accent, who puts my beverage on a tray and with artistic squiggles of chocolate syrup atop the whipped cream, I feel an extra need to earn this exgtravagance.

A reasonable amount of nibbly things are good as well. I am a gummi bear addict from way back but seldom actually get them. Which is probably good for my figure. With the Christmas season upon us, mini candy canes are good. Altoids are usually within reach and I have been known to get up for the sole purpose of brushing my teeth or a quick swish of mouthwash. Note to self; see if there are any of those funky cinnamon or licorice toothpastes on the next grocery run. Salty thing of choice recently has been Wheat Thins. Lunch usually happens at desk, though I'm equally as likely to be websurfing or Simming as I am writing during that time.

If I spent all my computer time shoving stuff in my mouth, I wouldn't be able to fit in the chair, so frequent applications of lip treatments are the next best thing. Anything that comes in a tube from Bath and Body Works has my immediate attention. I will also put in a plug here for their body lotions, as I always have a small bottle (or dregs of a big one) on my desk for frequent application and smell and taste are linked senses.

All of this comes to mind today because my focus for this week is to go over passages of my time travel ms and make sure I have enough sensory input. The most detailed plot outline won't connect with readers if they can't feel what things are like for the characters. What are Summer's senses going to tell her are the differences between life in 21st century NYC and 16th century Scottish Highlands? What about the Highlands is going to scream HOME to Angus in all caps?

I like to approach my stories in a layered manner. Characaters, what happens to them, and how it feels, both emotionally and sensually. Ahem. That's as in what their senses tell them, though there are bits of the other meaning as well. If I can connect with the way a scene feels, then I can write it. The stimuli that get me to that point can be interesting at times, and family and friends have learned to accept that things like playing the same Sting song all...day...long is par for the course. Which is probably why I have received headphones as a gift more than once.

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