Friday, January 24, 2014

How Writing Blind Improved My Descriptions

By
Regina Jennings
Blame it on Mary Ingalls. Ever since reading the Little House Books as a child, I’d always wondered what it would be like to be blind. How would I find my way around? How would it change my relationships? How would a character describe the world when she can’t see it?

When I first heard about the novella collection A Match Made in Texas I started thinking about creating a blind heroine. I knew that writing from a sightless point of view would be challenging, so a shorter story was the perfect chance to try something new. Enter Grace O’Malley. When the book opens she has already lost most of her sight and is limited to what she can catch through a very limited tunnel of light. Expecting that she will soon lose even that, she is trying to prepare both physically and emotionally to live in total darkness.

So, the obvious challenge I faced was describing the setting so that readers could picture it, even when the heroine couldn’t. In Grace’s case, she would rely heavily on her memory.

It wasn’t cheating to let her describe a room as she remembers it. Another fix was to have her mourn the loss of the beautiful scenery of the canyon surrounding her, giving the readers a chance to picture it, too. And while getting accustomed to her new cabin, Grace shares what she hopes it looks like, allowing readers a glimpse into her preferences even if the description might not be accurate. Another help for setting the scene was to use other characters to describe something to her—a realistic solution as her friends help her adjust to her new situation.

So there were several options available for describing her surroundings. The real challenge came where I didn’t expect it—describing the action and dialogue.

Currently, it’s the fashion to use action beats instead of tags when writing dialogue. Instead of “he said/she said” we’d rather see our characters conversing. We don’t need to hear “he teased” when we can see his smile, but what about Grace? If someone is with them, then maybe they could comment on his physical reaction, but at some point Grace and our hero Clayton definitely needed to be alone! What do we do for beats then?

Let’s look at an example. In this scene, Clayton has insisted that Grace allow him to cook for her. If Grace had her sight, the scene might be written like this:

Grace washed her hands and face as Clayton stoked up the fire. Once the flames danced, he closed the iron door and reached for the skillet. By the time the ham was charred, Grace’s stomach grumbled. She pinched a piece of cornbread from Emilie’s tin.

“I saw that.” Clayton pointed a fork at her, his eyes twinkling.

Grace shrugged and popped the stolen bit in her mouth. “I wish my rolls would’ve taken. They’d go perfectly with that delicious ham.”

“Stop your belly-aching,” but his smile softened the order. He slid the iron skillet across the table, wrinkling the tablecloth in the process. She only had time to smooth it before he passed her a plate and took his seat.

Of course, this won’t work for Grace. Clayton’s twinkling eyes won’t be visible across a table, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know what’s happening in the room. And how boring would it be to read “She heard him sit…” “She heard the plate hit the table…”? There had to be a better way. Better verbs. Here’s another stab at it using Grace’s true POV:

No longer needing to count her steps, she hung her bonnet on its peg. The pump groaned and water gushed into the basin.

“Your turn.” Clayton handed her a towel.

While she washed her hands and face he poked at the fire until it crackled and soon the ham sizzled in the skillet. Grace’s stomach grumbled, so she pinched a piece of cornbread from Emilie’s tin.

“I saw that.” Clayton slid the bread away from her.

Grace popped the stolen bit in her mouth and sat at the table. “I wish my rolls would’ve taken. They’d go perfectly with that delicious ham.”

“Stop your belly-aching,” but there was a smile in his voice. The table groaned under the weight of the iron skillet. The heat rolled over her face like the ripples of a sun-warmed stream. A plate slid to her.

Can you hear those verbs? Groaned, poked, gushed, crackled, sizzled, slid? Even though Grace can’t see anything in the room, she knows exactly what is happening, which is natural. We instinctively know what’s going on around us, even if we aren’t looking in that direction. For instance, right now you can tell what’s going on in the next room—unless you have unusually stealthy children—in which case you might want to go check on them.

So instead of worrying about all the descriptions I couldn’t use, I made a cheat sheet of noisy verbs to help me.


How fun are those? And you know what? I found myself going to this list even after I finished writing Grace’s story. Why? Because noisy verbs talk to us. When writing in deep POV, we often hesitate to describe anything out of sight for the protagonist, but these verbs free us up from that limitation. They pull double duty. Not only can you hear them, but they also create a visual image of what is happening, and the more senses you can involve, the more immersed your readers are in the scene.

Although I’d thought that writing through a blind person’s eyes would limit my descriptions, it forced me to dig deep into the tool box and come up with a broader range of verbs and that improved my writing. 

I guess I owe Mary Ingalls a thank you, after all.  

Look at your own work. Find a sentence and spice it up with a noisy verb then post before and after in the comment section. Leave any comment to get your name in a drawing for a copy of A Match Made in Texas.
Also, if you've already got the book, I will substitute a Post-It Note Cube with a picture of A Match Made in Texas on the side. The winner gets to choose, book or Post-It Notes.
by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Carol Cox and Mary Connealy

There's a secret matchmaker at work in frontier Texas!

In the small town of Dry Gulch, Texas, a good-hearted busybody just can't keep herself from surreptitiously trying to match up women in dire straits with men of good character she hopes can help them. How is she to know she's also giving each couple a little nudge toward love?
Regina's book--An Unforeseen Match
Hoping to earn an honest wage on his way to the land rush, Clayton ends up on Grace's doorstep, lured by a classified ad. He may have signed on for more than he expected though--and he may have found the one woman who can keep him from moving on. 

Regina Jennings is homeschooling mother of four from Oklahoma. She enjoys watching musicals with her kids, traveling with her husband and reading by herself. When not plotting historical fiction she plots how she could move Highclere Castle, stone by stone, into her pasture and how she could afford the staff to manage it.

Regina’s novella An Unforeseen Match is included in the collection A Match Made in Texas. She is also the author of Sixty Acres and a Bride and Love in the Balance. She loves to hear from readers at her website - www.reginajennings.com and on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

About A Match Made in Texas:

73 comments:

Tina Radcliffe said...

OKLAHOMA!!!! Home of my heart for 17 years! T-town!

This is a wonderful post. I love the noisy verbs. Thank you.

Will come back with an example in the am.

Just wanted to say hi and bring in a couple of Okie treats. Banana bread with pecans and chunky oatmeal cookies with pecans.

Marianne Barkman said...

Regina...which of Grace's other senses are sharpened by the loss of her sight? I just finished reading Kim Vogel Sawyers WHAT ONCE WAS LOST and found it amazing how much Tommy could tell by smell. I am itching to read this novel. Thanks for gracing Seekerville with your post today.

Terri said...

Regina, I just finished reading An Unforeseen Match and loved it! You did an amazing job showing the trials a blind woman would face in 1893. Thanks for sharing the great list of noisy verbs. I know they will be a big help in my writing.

Piper Huguley said...

Noisy verbs talk to us.

What a wonderful way of discussing "show don't tell." I think I just had a breakthrough! Thank you for including your chart. I would love to be in the drawing, but if I don't win, I will go to Amazon myself.

I love that you made this exploration of a blind woman at this time. Was it your way of giving Mary Ingalls an HEA? I always wondered about that. Have a great day Regina and thanks for visiting Seekerville!

Cindy W. said...

Loved the post this morning Regina. I love it when authors share their expertise to others so that we can grow from what their know.

I'll have to come back later today with examples. It's off to work I go!

I have been pining for a copy of A Match Made in Texas for weeks now. I would love to win a copy.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Sally Shupe said...

Love that list of noisy verbs! Thanks for the great post today. Would love to win A Match in Texas. Have heard wonderful things about the book, but haven't gotten to read it yet!
tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

Regina Jennings said...

Wow! Y'all are up early...or maybe stayed up late. :)

Tina - Thanks for breakfast! Cookies and banana bread hit the spot.

Marianne - You are right, eventually she would learn to rely on her other senses, but in this story Grace's blindness has come on recently. In fact, part of her arc is learning to rely on her other senses, like touch, which is a fun sense to have with Clayton around. ;)

Terri - Thanks so much for the endorsement! Maybe I'm just a noisy person?

Piper - Mary Ingalls never did marry but lived with her parents and then her younger sisters after Ma and Pa died. I'm sure she was a huge help to them, but I wish she would've met someone, too. Great thought about giving her a HEA, though. She definitely deserved one.

Cindy & Sally - Good luck in the drawing and have a good Friday.

Glynna Kaye said...

Welcome to Seekerville, REGINA! WOW, what a challenging book to write, but sounds as if you did extensive homework and found a way to bring the story alive by putting the reader in your heroine's shoes, letting them experience the world as she "sees" it through her hearing.

Regina Jennings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Regina Jennings said...

Glynna Kaye - I'd always wanted to try a blind heroine and I felt better about the challenge doing a novella-length instead of full-length, but it wasn't as hard as I'd feared.

Naomi Rawlings said...

I LOVE it! I'm totally stealing that list of noisy verbs, and now I totally want to read the novella as well. Thanks for the suggestions about improving our descriptions. I'm off to add a "thwack" or two to my novel. :-)

DebH said...

unless you have unusually stealthy children—in which case you might want to go check on them.

LOL. that line worth the price of admission here alone. i love this post. i also happen to be a big fan of the Ingalls - had the complete set of books in my childhood and read through it at least three times. i also have wondered about writing from a blind person view point, so this post is awesome!!!!

i will go look at some of my work and return later with a noisy verb sentence change - but i just wanted to write something now. this is so cool!!!!!

oh, and i so want to win a copy of the book - so throw my name in please.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Noisy verb list is a stroke of genius, Regina!!!!

Oh my stars, this could be useful when using older characters... suspense novels.... mystery....

What a wonderful asset this is and I'd never thought of it!

Regina, thank you and goodest of mornings! So nice to have you here. I read Match Made in Texas on my ten-hour trip home from North Carolina, and LOVED IT!!!!!

So nice to have you girls with us to chat about it these past couple of weeks.

What a beautiful job you did of engaging the reader through the "eyes" and ears of a sight-challenged heroine. Kudos!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Coffee is here!!!! And a new little machine friend has joined Ruthy's kitchen (and Mary Virginia Munoz has the VERY SAME MACHINE, WE ARE CLEARLY MOTHER AND DAUGHTER!!!!)

Mr. Coffee Latte Maker is now living on my counter!!!!!

Psyched! Who wants a latte????

Audra Harders said...

Regina, what a challenge to write a blind heroine. I loved your examples of sights vs blind writing. Very descriptive to the point where I thought I smelled ham sizzling in MY kitchen, LOL!

Marianne raised a great questions about the other senses intensifing. It must have been an interesting adventure relying on the other senses to get your character's point across.

Thanks for sharing!

Oh and since it's Friday, I brought some breakfast burritos to share. Dig in while they're hot!

Audra Harders said...

BTW, I loved your noisy verbs. LOL! Thanks for compiling the list and sharing with us.

Regina Jennings said...

Naomi - Steal with a clean conscience! I also pinned the list on Pinterest if you'd like to have it there. Glad to be of some help.

Deb - My dad is from Mansfield, MO, and my great-grandpa was Laura and Almanzo's neighbor there, so I enjoyed an Ingalls-enriched childhood as well. Makes me wonder how much of that influenced me to write in that time period. :)

Ruth - Thanks for reading our collection! My sister read my section aloud coming home from a skiing trip with her family and had to tell me how my nephews were grossed out by the kiss! Hopefully, your car didn't have the same reaction, LOL.

Mary Hicks said...

Loved the list of noisy verbs and the interesting post! Thank you, Regina!

Would love to have my name in the pot for the drawing! :-)

Jeanne T said...

Regina, what a great list of noisy verbs! I've made synonym lists for other words I find myself using a lot (like walk), but I haven't done it for something like noisy verbs. LOVE IT!!

I'm thinking on a sentence to contribute a little later on. :)

I'd love to be entered into the drawing!

Oh, and I laughed out loud at the thought of checking stealthy children. With two boys, i always peek in on them when it gets quiet.

Meghan Carver said...

Love this, Regina! Your example is so telling, and now I'm really looking forward to reading the book. Thanks for sharing your discoveries, and please enter me in the drawing.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Love the focus on noise. That is the sense I forget to add the most. The chart is great!

I must confess to having a thing for blind heroes. They are vulnerable. But I also have a thing for Helen Keller. So blind heroines are intriguing to me.

Put me in for the book!

Courtney Phillips said...

A blind heroine--I've never read anything with a blind heroine, but you've made me want to.
Descriptions are something I really like to write. They seem to test me to see how creative I can be.
That novella has my interest!

Jackie said...

Hi Regina,

What a fun post. I love those verb. I have issues smelling, lot of allergies and many smells stop me up or give me a headache. Some things I just can't smell. I frequently Google a scent and see how others describe it. So I probably could never write from a blind person's POV.

Thanks for sharing with us today.

Regina Jennings said...

Audra - Breakfast burritos and bacon in the same post. Awesome!

Mary & Meghan - You are entered!

Jeanne - I love the idea of a list of "walking" verbs. I'd refer to it all the time! Please share if you have the inclination.

Julie & Courtney - I read "The Blind Contessa's New Machine" for research and enjoyed how she did her descriptions.

Jackie - I wonder if we could make a list of "Smelly Verbs"! Maybe not as inspiring. ;)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Regina! What a cool post! :-) Congrats on all your success! I enjoyed meeting you a few years ago at ACFW. Keep up the good work!

Debby Giusti said...

Regina, what a great blog. Love your list of noisy verbs.

Verbs are so, so important. For suspense, I believe they make the action work. Cut the details. Pick the right verb and the action zings!

I lead a writing group at my church. Your writing blind process might provide a good exercise for my "class." First they write a scene featuring a hero and heroine and plenty of action. Then they rewrite the scene as if one of the characters is blind.

A good exercise for all writers!

Thanks! Stay warm! We're in the teens in GA.

Mary Connealy said...

Regina what a great list. You should probably publish it and sell it for $0.99 on Amazon.

Mary Connealy said...

And this is such a great reminder to us not to always use sight, the five senses are always important and by taking away the most obvious one, the one we go to first, it makes the story really rich.

LOVE IT!

Myra Johnson said...

Love your list of "noisy verbs," Regina! Writers can become so focused on the visuals that we forget the other four senses, and hearing is certainly an important one. I also try to incorporate smells, tastes, and textures wherever appropriate--if not in the first draft, then as I'm working through revisions.

Great reminder, even for our fully sighted characters!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning REGINA, What a delightful post. Thank you for joining us in Seekerville.

MARY I've so enjoyed the posts from your anthology friends. smile

Like MYRA, I like that list of noisy verbs. Great resource and reminder to use our senses.

Have fun today.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Regina!! Thank you for the excellent post and the list of noisy verbs. Definitly print worthy and something I will refer to often!

I have A Match Made in Texas on my TBR pile. Can't wait to dig into An Unforeseen Match, what sounds like another delightful novella!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Tina, thanks for the yummy banana bread and oatmeal cookies!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Regina, I loved Little House on the Prairie and remember crying that Mary was going blind. A wonderful series of gentler times.

Janet

Julie Lessman said...

REGINA!!!

Love, Love, LOVE this post, my friend!! Like you, I have often thought of what it would be like to write a story through the eyes of a blind person where beauty is in the soul instead of one's looks. And you DID it!! WOW, I am totally impressed. :)

And I am printing that fab list of words off RIGHT NOW because those are sooooo GREAT!!

I actually included a list in Romance-ology 101 of appropriate bleep words/derogatory words for the Christian market, so I ADORE lists like this!!

I also have my own emotion list where I list tons of words/phrases for actions like swallowing hard, flirting, how the heart beats, etc. SOOOOO helpful!!

Hugs,
Julie

Janet Lee Barton said...

Great post Regina! I love your list of noisy verbs!

Helen Gray said...

Wish I had had this list long ago. I have a manuscript with a blind heroine.

I loved writing it, but by the end I was very tired from always having to figure out how to handle each scene differently than with an "ordinary" heroine.

There's fresh coffee.

And I'd love to have a copy of A Match Made in Texas.

Jennifer Smith said...

I've seen "A Match Made in Heaven" everywhere, and now I'm more curious than ever to read it! I actually just bought a copy as a gift for a friend, but I'd love to win a copy to read myself! :)

I'm sure writing from the POV of someone blind or deaf really stretches you as a writer. Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

DebH said...

whoa... your Great-grandpa was neighbors with Laura and Almanzo? How cool is THAT???

haven't found anything for rewrite for blind hero/heroine in my stuff here at work, but I want to try this and post in the comments.

still in awe of close proximity to my childhood favorite hero/heroine...

Missy Tippens said...

Regina, thanks so much for sharing your chart! You're so right about how using those verbs can spice up our writing.

I loved how you changed the scene in your post. Great job!

Missy Tippens said...

Piper, you're right! Using the noisy verbs is definitely a good way to show a scene (and not tell).

Stephanie Landsem said...

I stole your list, Regina. I don't have a blind heroine, as you know, but I could use some help with a MUTE character. Hope you have some tips for me :)

Heidi said...

I was anxiously awaiting the release of this book to read Neill Archer's story by Karen, and I always enjoy a Mary Connealy story. As much as I loved their stories, yours is my favorite! I loved the moments between Grace and Clayton, and how he enabled her to keep her strength in humbling circumstances. I am so excited to read your full-length novels now!!!

Regina Jennings said...

Melanie - Good to see you, ACFW-Sister! Thanks for stopping in.

Debby - That sounds like a great exercise. I actually wore a blindfold for a few days around the house and was amazed at how I knew what was going on even when I couldn't see it. Conversations were the hardest, especially in groups when you didn't know who was talking to whom or if they were talking to you!

Mary - I think I'd need to make it a book to sell it for .99, righ? One word per page, maybe.

Myra - Exactly. I'm finding the list helpful even on my current WIP.

Sandra - I always have fun here at Seekerville! Y'all are the best!

Missy Tippens said...

Regina, that's so true about the sense of touch! :) Fantastic for a romance.

Chill N said...

Regina, what a wonderful term -- "noisy verbs." The list is a super resource I'll be sharing with others.

Fascinating what you learned from a blind heroine. Don't you love it when our characters teach us? :-)

Nancy C

Regina Jennings said...

Janet D. - Thank you! I hope you enjoy the novella.

Julie - I love your insult list! I have a printed out list of Shakespearean insults that my family has bandied about for year. Now we have some new material! Thanks for having me.

Janet B. - Thanks for coming out and encouraging your fellow OCFW member!

Helen - Grace was perfect for a novella. Just the right length. :)

Jennifer - You bet! Good luck on the drawing.

Missy - Thanks, Missy. It was a good exercise that I hope stays with me.

Stephanie - Always trying to one up me, huh? Yeah, mute is going to make dialogue difficult. My advice, have your kids be mute for a weekend to give you practice in describing how they communicate. You owe me if they fall for that.

Heidi - I'm so glad you liked Grace and Clayton's story. And thanks for looking up my other books. BTW, Love in the Balance is only $3.99 on ebook right now. ;)

Connie Queen said...

Regina,
I love when other people take the time to write words lists. I struggle to think outside the box. I'm copying this off right now.

Okay, I really need to go buy Match Made in Texas. I've heard such good things about the stories.

Robin Patchen said...

How interesting, Regina! I have A Match Made in Texas, but I haven't read it yet. I think it's time to pull it out. Well done.

Regina Jennings said...

Nancy - Exactly. I was intimidated to try this, but I learned something so I'm glad I did.

Connie - Copy away, and I have it on Pinterest, too, if you'd like to share there. BTW, is that a Harlequin Dane in your picture? We've had one of those. Right now we have a female Boston Dane named Esther. She's curled up on the couch. :)

Connie Queen said...

LOL. He's a fawnequin dane. (brown and white spotted.) Boston's are gorgeous.

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Regina!

What a great concept for a heroine! That's a huge obstacle for her, and I can hardly wait to read the book to find out what happens.

Here's my "before" sentence: The storm was over and from the sounds of things, the snow was melting already.

Here it is after: The storm was over, and the steady drip of water hitting the rain barrel told him the snow was melting already.

And I'm another one who thinks it's so cool that your great-grandfather lived near Laura and Almanzo. Wow.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

My son has a fawn Great Dane. Cooper's "aunt" was the Eukanuba champion a few years ago, a gorgeous Fawn dane that draws the eye. And Cooper is "old style" Dane, the broader-chested, thicker legged variety Just a gorgeous animal, a lot like having a small horse living in the house!

I love dogs.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hey, Regina, Almanzo's original home was up here in Malone, New York. I set my first series of books up there in the North Country, and it's amazing when you read the account in Farmer Boy, how anyone could pull a living from an area with such a short growing season.

But they did!

And when the boys moved West, they brought a lot of their mother's homespun Northeast wisdom with them.

Great stuff!

Tina Radcliffe said...

I'm baaaack with food! I brought corn bread and chili as I know our blind heroine loves it!

Missy Tippens said...

Sounds yummy, Tina! While up in NE Kentucky, right on the Ohio River, we got some GOOD Cincinnati style chili. We ate at Gold Star, a chain we don't have around here. YUMMO!

Pam Hillman said...

Loved The Unforseen Match. Just finished all four books. Such fun!

You did a great job with Grace and Clayton. :)

Regina Jennings said...

Robin - Thanks for coming by!

Connie - Now I see! How beautiful.

Jan - Great example. Thanks for contributing.

Ruth - Wow, what a great bloodline. And I think Farmer Boy is one of my favorites. I love imagining Laura and Manly talking about his family together as she wrote the book. So sweet. One of my favorite treasures from Rocky Ridge in Mansfield is a CD of music mentioned in the books...and it's played on Pa's fiddle! It's great inspiration as I'm writing historical novels set in that time.

Pam Hillman said...

Love the noisy verb list. Must steal! lol

I had a blind character in Claiming Mariah and readers keep begging for her story. Hopefully, Amanda's story will be in print some day.

And Marianne, I'll have to get a copy of Kim's book, too. Thanks for the suggestion.

Andrea Strong said...

I asked for this book for Christmas, but received other wonderful stuff from my list instead. So last weekend I took my daughter to the nearest Christian bookstore to redeem her free birthday gift from the kids club there. Well that's the story I gave her and her daddy.

Really I was hunting up this book!

I've read the first two stories and I didn't want either of them to end. That's the problem with novellas--they just aren't long enough.

Regina~
In a strange turn of events, a friend of mine on Facbook shared a picture of this book apparently posted by your sister originally. I got very excited that I knew someone who knew your sister. I did some poking around on FB and discovered that your sister lives, or has lived, in the town where my dad grew up, and where my husband and I attended college. And I guess she is friends with some people I've known all my life. Small world.

I loved An Unforeseen Match. Your noisy verbs were wonderful, and I had no trouble envisioning the surroundings, or Grace's point of view. I love the brief moments when things became clear for her, and that she treasures those moments.

When she woke up in the middle of the night thinking she'd finally lost all of her sight, my heart broke for her even though I was pretty sure it was just night time. When Clayton lit the lantern, I breathed a sigh of relief right along with her.

I'd love to be entered for the post it notes. One can never have to many of those.



Natalie Monk said...

Hi, Regina! Love these noisy verbs!!!

Here's a before sentence:

Valor took soggy steps toward a giddy Lacey, who climbed back on her “horse.”

Here's the after:

Valor sloshed toward a giggling Lacey, who sputtered and clambered back onto her "horse."

Oh, P.S. I love your author bio. Too cute. ;)

Tina Radcliffe said...

These words are so good I want to use them all at once.

The ladder gave a crack as the old wood split. Fanny squealed as her feet began to slid. She reached out her fingers scraping against the house in a useless effort to save herself.

Airborne, she screeched.
With a swoosh and a grunt she landed, into Bradley Cooper's arm.

His voice reverberated against her. "Are you okay?"

"Yes," Fanny croaked.

Tina Radcliffe said...

I am hoping Mr. Cooper reads this and notes my undying love for him and invites me to dinner. As friends of course.

Crystal Ridgway said...

Regina,
Wow, you should get an award or something for writing 'blind'. Please enter me for the drawing! I would love to receive a copy of match made in texas. Plus I have got to get a better look at that list of noisy verbs.
Blessings

Erin Taylor Young said...

Regina, you just rock. I love your list of noisy verbs. I'll use them when I write about how my dog stole the box of dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts that came all the way from Hawaii, 'cuz yes, I HEARD him in the next room (he's not very stealthy). : )

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

I'm going to keep this list of noisy verbs. I have a friend who's blind and he's developed an acute sense of hearing. I've heard the advice that if writers imagine their reader is blind, they'll do a much better job of showing. In one workshop the instructor passed out dark glasses with tips to give our blind reader 3D vision. One tip was take your reader there. There can't be any better way to do that than writing as a blind person. Great post.

Cara Lynn James said...

Regina, what a great topic! I never considered the challenge of writing about a blind girl and how you'd have to use the senses differently and creatively. Thanks for the noisy verbs!

Regina Jennings said...

Pam - You should do a spin-off. That sounds really interesting.

Andrea - Are you talking about Bolivar? It is a small world, isn't it? And we have other family there, too, the Ingolds. P.S. I'm so glad you found an excuse to go to the bookstore. I use the "research" excuse often now.

Natalie - Thanks for being brave and giving us an example. Sloshed! Love that word.

Tina - Of course Mr. Cooper will call if he has any sense at all! I don't know what he'll think about catching Fanny, though.

Crystal - Consider yourself officially entered into the drawing! Thanks!

Erin - I'm pretty sure Henry could add a few noisy verbs to the list. Not all of which would be appropriate for a romance. Sorry about your chocolate. :(

Pat - I learned a lot. I also spent some time with a blindfold on and I quickly realized that my house was noisier than I thought. I didn't have to count my steps in the kitchen because I could hear the refrigerator humming and the wind rattling the window. I always knew where I was.

Cara - You are welcome! It's amazing how God gives us ways to compensate for losses. Writing this way helped me understand that better.

Sharon Srock said...

Regina, It has always been my intent to write at least a part of Karla's story(book 6) with her blind. Thanks for the insight. I'll be asking to borrow those noisy verbs when the time comes.

Casey said...

I'm reading this book right now--in fact this very novella as well! I loved Regina's examples. And the list of noisy verbs is awesome and what a GREAT word to describe it! Glad I stopped by this post tonight. Thanks, Regina! You really made that scene come to live. Hoping to finish your novella tonight. :-))

((btw, no need to enter me :))

Mary Preston said...

I had so much fun reading through the list of NOISY VERBS. They are very visual.

Regina Jennings said...

Sharon - Any time. You know where to find me.

Casey - Thanks for the reading update. Hope you're enjoying the stories.

Mary - Noisy verbs being visual...isn't that ironic?

Rina S said...

I just finished reading the whole book this weekend! I really enjoyed Grace's story and when I got to the next story in the book I had a hard time remembering the heroine wasn't blind. :-)

sharonholly said...

What a great idea for a writing exercise!

I think I will go back to some of my lackluster scenes and pretend that my MC can't see. Hopefully that will challenge me to be more precise in what's going on around her, making each sentence more satisfying.