Today’s guest blog post, on the topic of the craft of writing, is brought to you by M J Moores.
Layering as a Technique for Building Depth
by M.J. Moores, OCT. Author. Editor. Freelance Writer.
But what does that really mean? How can we, as writers, craft that vital connection?
Personally, I find it incredibly taxing to even consider developing that kind of depth in my first draft – characters, setting, and action aren’t fully calculated until my plot is hammered out… even if it’s a character-driven plot. As a planner, you’d think I’d have it all figured out before I let the story flow – but what’s the fun in doing that? Sure, I’ll plan out specific moments that are intrinsic to the story but otherwise my plotting is a sketch or outline of events and revelations that look one way when I start writing and morph as I go along. So, like a pantser, I require several drafts to clean up all that red on the page (and nobody likes to be in the red). I do this in a multi-layer way I like to call the taco technique.
There’s the five layer taco with your ground beef, salsa, cheese, sour cream and onion and then there’s your seven layer taco with all the above and refried beans with any combination of fresh veggies (or fruit) to make it your own. The writing taco technique has six layers: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, mystery (that sixth sense that’s often referred to as the inner-eye).
So, the meal is pretty straightforward but to really make it your own you need that mystery spice.
After the first draft, I re-read what I’ve written looking for where I’m lacking with sound and touch or texture. I only focus on two senses at a time, and rarely do I look at sight – that’s how most writers tend to get across what’s happening in the first place. I look at two senses at a time because I find it overwhelming to do all five at once and if I’m going to single out one of them it’ll be the sixth one, due to its illusive and changing nature.
The reason for reading draft one with a specific goal in mind is to train your thought patterns into recognizing when something is missing or could be improved with the use of another sense. This is pretty straight forward and recognizable by most writers as imperative to bringing a sense of reality for that emotional connection between reader and story.