During the long winter break before the spring semester, I gained a few new books on craft that have me learning how to become a better writer. The Art of Fiction by John Gardner is my newest book on craft. It was recommended to me by Widener University’s visiting writer Amina Gautier. Here is a tip for young writers like me to look into when writing a short story or novel.
When writing fiction, you want to make sure that your reader is in a “vivid and continuous fictional dream” as John Gardner stated in the book. This means you want to give signals in your book that your reader can see as if they are in your story. These signals not only let us see the setting but the character and the events that take place in the story. By doing this you don’t want to tell us about the characters in ways your reader would not understand or think about too critically but make sure that you appeal to the reader’s senses (sight, hear, touch, taste, and smell).
Sometimes writers will do something to make us fall out of that fictional dream that they have set up for us and cause us to think about the text. As John Gardner has said in his book “It is as if
a playwright were to run out on stage, interrupting his characters to remind us he has written all this.”
Next time you go about writing your stories make sure to appeal to all five senses to keep that reader in a fictional dream
By Ciana Bowers