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Writing Exercise: Helping Readers to Visualize Your Topic

Updated on November 11, 2016
Jaynie2000 profile image

Jaynie is a published author. She is an award winning poet & has completed two full novels and an anthology. And she is terrified of sharks!

Developing Your Descriptive Writing Skills

It is important for writers to hone their craft. Just like any other hobby, art, or passion, your talent for writing is something that you must develop through hard work and dedication. I have developed a series of writing exercises that I have been outlining in my writing blog, The Elusive Muse, that are designed to spark your creativity and give you the opportunity to engage in meaningful practice. One of these exercises is outlined below.

There’s a scene in the movie, Mask , starring Cher in which a young man must help a blind girl to visualize things such as color and texture. Some of you may remember this scene. Leading the girl through the kitchen at a summer camp, the young man stops before a boiling pot of red potatoes. He scoops one of the potatoes from the pot, tossing it from hand to hand to avoid burning himself, and places it into her hands. She also bobbles the hot potato about as the young man describes the sensation to her as “red.”

He then finds a bag of cotton balls and asks her to hold out her hands once more. As she gently squeezes the light cotton balls in her palms, he explains that they are “billowy.” Through his use of props the blind woman begins to “see” the world around her in ways that she never had before.

Your task is to make your readers share your experiences through the art of descriptive storytelling. First you must select a handful of objects each of which is different in size and texture from the others. You might select things such as silk fabric, pinecones, smooth stones, pumice, sand, rice, M&Ms, pennies, peppers, wool, pine needles, fleece, or anything else that you think would make a great prop. Part of the fun is to select items that you must seek out. You can take a hike outdoors. The fresh air and sunshine, even on a brisk day, might enhance your sense of creativity.

Close your eyes and mix up the items on a table in front of you, or better yet, have someone else do it. Keeping your eyes closed, select two or three different objects to use in your exercise. The purpose of keeping your eyes closed is so that you can’t purposefully select items that are easier to write about. Once you have selected your items, choose one to begin with. Close your eyes again and feel the object. You can take as little or as much time with this as you like. Memorize every imperfection, sharp edge, smooth surface and other features as you trace over them with your curious fingers.

As you sit down to write, imagine how you would describe the feel of each object to someone who could not see it. This “someone” is a reader of your work. Your challenge is to make them “see” the object as if it were laid out before them. Be sure to be descriptive and use plenty of metaphors and/ or similes to liven up the work.

Have fun and good luck!


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    • Jaynie2000 profile image

      Jaynie2000 7 years ago

      Thank you. I hope you enjoy it.

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 7 years ago from USA

      Great tips, I think this would be fun to try. Thanks!