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Reading and writing are concerned with people. The reason why I have been drawn to literature all my life is because I hoped – through story – to find out about people, to understand them better, to make sense of them where at times there seemed no sense. Sometimes, I have wondered how this works – this quest to connect to humanity. And, it seems to me, it works through the senses. And through the imagination.

As a writer, through sense impressions, you can build up a world for the reader which he can recognise. Sense impressions – visual, aural, tangible, olfactory, gustatory – link the writer and the reader through their common humanity. And, when this linking happens, as a reader, you know you are not alone, not a freak. You know you have something in common. You then take it further. You want to gain the insights which will help you make sense of your life. You want to be prompted to ask the questions ”What if . . . ?’ or ‘Where next?’   And, as a consequence, ‘What if . . .?’ and ‘Where next . . . ?’ are two of the most important questions a fiction writer can have in his or her tool kit.

The process has another important dimension. When you are the writer and the audience – as when journaling – the whole experience moves up a gear. You learn to understand yourself better, to make sense of your own life. You learn what is important to you and what your chief anxieties are. And, in the ‘safe place’ of solitude, you can learn how to express these – first to yourself and then to the world at large.

Here’s a writing game to engage you with your senses!

Settle yourself down where-ever you like to write, relax into your writing state and take up your pen. Complete the following:

On my way to my favourite chair, my desk, my bed:

  • I saw
  •  I heard
  •  I tasted
  •  I touched
  •  I thought
  •  I felt
Now, choose the three complete thoughts that seem to you to have the most potential for you to explore in fiction. Think of a character, give him or her a name, and your three sensations. Write a story of no more than 500 words using this material. Consider what you’ve created. Do you like it? Could you develop it further?
Through this game, you will demonstrate to yourself that you possess the imagination essential to linking writer and reader  in quantities.

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Reading and writing are concerned with people. The reason why I have been drawn to literature all my life is because I hoped – through story – to find out about people, to understand them better, to make sense of them. Sometimes, I have wondered how this is supposed to work – this quest to connect to humanity.

And, it seems to me, it works through the senses. Sense impressions – visual, aural, tangible, olefactory, gustatory – link the writer and the reader through their common humanity. This means, as writer or reader, you are not alone. The reader is seeking a commonality, a sign that he is not an outside – well, not entirely. And he – or she – wants to gain those extra insights which will make sense of his life.

Through these sense impressions, the writer builds up a situation for the reader which – on the whole – the reader can recognize. And the reader wants to be prompted to question ”What if . . . ?’ or ‘Where next? . . . ‘ This is produced by the infinite curiosity about the situation a human can find him/herself in. And the story may even produces the solutions necessary to escape from them. As a consequence, ‘What if . . .?’ and ‘Where next . . . ?’ are two of the most important questions a fiction writer can have in his or her tool kit.

But, when you are the writer and you are the audience, the whole experience moves up a gear. You learn to understand yourself better, to make sense of your own life. If you keep a daily journal, you learn what is important to you, what your chief anxieties are – and in a safe place you will practise the communication of these significant concerns.

Reading and creating literature helps –  in the same way. So, for some reading recommendations – and otherwise – please see my Reading List, on LinkedIn.

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