Sensory detail

In IDS on October 17, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Let’s talk about dialogue and detail. This story by Biz Carson ran in the IDS before Writer’s Block existed, so it’s only appropriate that I post it for a little conversation about sensory reporting. Here is my favorite part:


It’s just after 2:40 a.m. when it finally happens.

A guy pushes through the crowd to the front of the bus and grabs the trash bag before disappearing back into the throng.

Suddenly, shouts erupt from the middle of the bus, and the crowd squishes to the sides. A victim of the highlighter party pukes red juice into the small white bag.

Half of the bus leaves, disgusted at the sight of the small amount of vomit sloshed onto the floor. The smell is absorbed into the vodka and perfume saturated air.

“The bus ends up smelling like The Bluebird at 2 a.m., but the bus starts out smelling nice where The Bluebird doesn’t,” Dan says.

As you procrastinate doing homework today, think about this: Can you write about the drunk bus without describing the smell?


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