Hands, from top to bottom: D, A, C, and me, all touching the summit of Arthur's Seat. In the background you can see the fields and trees far below.

Just a quick post linking to a great, short article on ways to give texture and depth to your story:

These are always worth bearing in mind, as it’s all too easy to get distracted by the mechanics of moving your characters from one location to the next, or how to develop and enact realistic plotting (the hardest thing about writing, for me).  The single best piece of general advice I ever received was from my PhD adviser (hello, Michael!) that characters should touch things, one another; be it touching an arm in greeting, adjusting their collar against the rain, wiping a smudge away from their child’s knee with a lick of spit and their thumb…any of those small sorts of actions which ground them in the physical. We use our hands so often in daily life that we do so with hardly a thought, and so it’s easy to forget that our fingertips are another way in which we see the world.


Filed under consolations of reading, Edinburgh, Theory

8 responses to “Touch

  1. I haven’t read the article yet, but just wanted to say that I adore that picture and that I tend to go overboard with the touching. It may not be that I go overboard, but that I don’t yet have the writing chops to make it seamless and it calls too much attention to itself.
    That being said, thanks for sharing the link. I’m hoping that helps my conundrum.

    • It was a fun picture, we were all on a tiny ledge on the top of the hill, it’s sort of hard to explain, as there wasn’t a long drop or anything but we had to cling to the marker so we didn’t fall off. Then I added the ‘gloria!’ light effects afterwards on

      It’s quite a short article, and I wish it went into more depth, but the points are helpful, I think.

  2. Terrific post, and I really liked the article. This came at a good time for me, as I’m taking a break while working out a couple of paragraphs of description. I wanted to add that Google Earth has tons of street-level maps, which move you along a real street and let you stop to look around. I’ve been using them for descriptions of places I’ve never seen personally.

    • I’m glad it was helpful.

      I love google earth and I think streetview even more, as there are lots of parts of Scotland (the parts I needed to see for my book) that didn’t have high resolution satellite pictures.

  3. Thanks for the link.

  4. Great bit of advice – looking forward to reading the article when I have a bit more time. Thanks 🙂

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