Three Crazy Tips For When You Can’t Describe A Scene

Ahh! Writer’s Block! Or maybe you do not understand what a certain scene looks or feels like. Step one, stay calm. You will find out soon that I take a more hands on approach to these things. When watching my Twitter feed, I notice that this question pops up several times a week. This is a tough situation for a lot of writers since, well, you can not be experienced in everything. How am I supposed to write about being a brain surgeon? Alas, I am just a writer! Unfortunately this is the kind of thing that reflects in your writing. You can tell when a writer has and has not experienced what it feels like (I am a horror book publisher mind you) to walk through a dark dreary basement or what it feels like to see (or think you see) those peering eyes from in your closet late into the night. So what do we do? Here are three things that I do what I am unable to fully describe a scene. 

  1. Take a field trip. We will just jump right into a good one that I use. My next book takes place in a closed store. I have found myself walking through the aisles of my local retailers asking myself, “What are the small details that I see? What do I hear? What would surprise me right now?” It does not have to stop there. You can be creative with this tactic too. This is especially true if you have a good imagination like most writers have. A lot of my books harness the power of darkness and silence. There’s a scene in my upcoming book that uses a dark shed to introduce a powerful character. Off to the dark garage I went asking myself some of the same questions.
  2. This tip adds onto the last one. You will not be able to always have something so convenient close by. If you character is cave spelunking, and there are no caves around, create a similar situation. Sit in your silent basement with the lights off or something similar. You can hold a flashlight if you want for brownie points. You will be surprised at the words and ideas that come to you. No, I am not saying that if you have never broken up with your boyfriend or girlfriend to push your relationship to the edge to find out what if feels like ha-ha (however, it would give you great descriptive words). Try and create a similar situation where you can close your eyes and imagine that you are in that place. 
  3. Finally number three. Talk to your friends who are experts in those fields. There is a wide variety of professions that my and quite possibly your friends decided to take up. Everything from business managers, doctors, fire fighters, construction workers, and farmers (the list goes on and on). It’s a great pool of knowledge that I like to dip into from time to time. No, I have not deep sea dived to look at a ship’s wreckage , but I know people who have. Ask your friends or acquaintances about their experiences. What was the coolest part about it? What scared you? Do you have any pictures from your travels? You get the idea!

Do you have any other tips for writers who need to write content of things they do not know about? Let me know in the comments down below or on my social media!

-ZHanny

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