Good writing draws the reader into the story by engaging all senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Recently, I submitted the first chapter of my work in progress—my sequel to Crooked Lines—to my critique group. My crit partner said, “I’m not hearing anything.”
I returned to my WIP and considered what Rebecca would hear, standing near the shore of the Indian Ocean, days after the tsunami hit. Having been there, it wasn’t difficult to recall sounds.
Going back to my debut novel, Crooked Lines, I returned to a scene with Rebecca on the Lake Michigan shoreline to check how well I used senses.
The whoosh and trickle of the whispering waves beckoned me to the shoreline. (sound) Gulls screeched and circled around dead glittering minnows. (sound, sight) Chilly water rolled over my feet and lapped my ankles. (touch).
I could have added the smell of the dead minnows to that scene.
Crooked Lines goes back and forth between America and India, so let’s pop over to India, where Sagai is returning to his native state, Tamil Nadu:
After days of bumping, jostling, and elbows jabbed into his ribs on buses and trains, Sagai arrived at the station to a buzz of traffic jammed up and pressed against a lowered train gate. Petrol and diesel fumes left an acrid taste in his mouth. Women on backs of motorcycles raised the corners of their sarees to their mouths.