How to portray an impression

I watch a lot of videos about writing, and I recently came across something that I hadn’t really thought of before. It had to do with portraying feelings – not the abstract, but the physical. More like impressions, really. I haven’t even been working on my prose yet since I’m still struggling with unfolding all the threads of my story and its character arcs – but I couldn’t help but feel intrigued.

This might be obvious to some, while others may find it unnecessary. Think about the words “feel”, “see” or “hear”. All of those words are used to portray some sort of physical impression.

I felt the grass crunch beneath my feet.

The above sentence is pretty normal. It could probably be featured in any young adult novel and so on. It portrays a physical feeling – but this can be achieved in a much more efficient way. Treat the words “feel” etc. like filler words, and remove them. Your sentence will immediately become more compelling.

The grass crunched beneath my feet.

I can’t be the only one who senses a clear difference in the portrayal of this feeling. As soon as I became aware of this, I opened my manuscript and changed a couple of sentences in this way – and the effect was magical. Of course, like all other forms of art, the perception of prose is subjective. Some people prefer long sentences and flowery language, while others are minimalists, getting more pleasure from shorter, on-the-point sentence structures.

Regardless of which type we belong to, I think this lesson holds great potential and would advise any writer out there to try it out.


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