A splendid thunderstorm began as I finished my words last night. I listened to the rain and watched the lightning through the blinds. It was calming and invigorating, an experience to file away in my mind in case I have need of them in my current novel.
There have been times at parties when I have sat back and watched. Sometimes I try to capture the feel of a party through listening and close my eyes. I do this, not to use it against anyone or make a caricature out of them but to hear the rhythms of conversation, the clinking of silverware and the taste of certain foods.
I have done this at other places as well such as malls, baseball games, the forest, anywhere that might help my senses take in an entire experience.
One night, years afterward while at home in Grand Rapids, I had a dream about being there and it was shocking. I cannot share what happened now because it is a plot point of my novel, but it was something that was so vivid it was if I was transported back.
I don’t think I would be writing this novel had I not been paying attention to the atmosphere of Keuka Lake. It is incredibly valuable as a writer or artist to get the “feel” of an experience through all of our senses. If you have a scene in your novel that happens at a play, go to one. If you have a scene in a mall, go to one. Sit down, soak in the sounds and sights and tastes.
Some writing is about making stuff up. Some writing is about relaying an experience people have. What better way to learn about an experience than to actually have it yourself?