I'm looking forward to the weekend. The AWP (Association of Writers Programs) conference is going on in Chicago through Sunday. Professors, students, and alumni of MFA writing programs are flocking to the city to mix and mingle. There are a slew of readings happening in bookstores, coffee shops, and bars. I went to a poetry reading on Wednesday night. To be honest, poetry is not my forte, but I still enjoyed being around other writers. I'm planning to go a fiction reading sometime this weekend. Since we spend so much of our time alone staring at a screen, it's nice to meet other
I've also been revising every single day this week. I'm not hitting my chapter-per-day goal, but I'm still proud of myself for keeping up this daily pace. I thought I would dread revisions, but I quite enjoy having a base to go off of.
In my descriptions, I've been adding more sensory images, especially smell. We take smell for granted, opting to use visual and tactile description. But people have a strong attachment to their sense of smell. You can evoke a feeling or memory or setting quickly and effectively with sense of smell. You see, the sense of smell is our only sense that's connected directly to our brain, making them more vivid. The sensations don't have to be transmitted and translated like they do with the other four senses. That's why when I smell Cool Water on a guy, I'm instantly taken back to 7th grade sitting in front of this kid Jason who poured it on. Whereas if I see an old picture of him, it would take a little more thinking to picture the classroom. Try to intersperse some olfactory descriptions into your WIP. If you have a minor character, maybe you don't want to spend time describing his/her appearance, giving your reader yet another person to remember. Instead, describe how they smell and distringuish said character immediately.
In book news, I lent my copy of Small Town Sinners to a friend who's a youth minister. She loved it! She really appreciated how the protagonist questions her faith, how organic her development felt, and how the book doesn't put down religion. She's going to recommend it to her kids. I love when people love books I recommend. It's like a job well done...I'm currently reading Stephen McCauley's The Object of My Affection. Yes, I'm breaking my rule about reading the book after seeing the movie. And yes, I keep picturing Jennifer Aniston as the main character, even though in the book she is very different and not as glamourous. But I am enjoying the novel, especially its datedness. (It was written in 1985) The main characters are debating whether to invest in an answering machine. At least it's not a pay phone.