Friday, July 15, 2011

Lesson 3: Develop that Character (+bonus lesson w/PATTI LARSEN! Sensory)

Hi guys! It's an awesome day today.  We've got the totally amazing Patti Larsen as a guest author.  So be sure to welcome her. Two ultra cool ways to make your book better!  :)

But first, we've got Lesson 3 from me.  

Answer these 20 questions for EVERY crucial character in your book.  You'll be grateful you did! :)

Character Development Sheet: 

1. What is their full name and what does it mean?
2. What's their favorite color?
3. What's their favorite food?
4. What do they like to do?
5. Do they have a favorite TV show or author?
6. What's their favorite type of music/bands/singers?
7. Who's their role model/idol? 
8. What's their family life like? 
9. Do they have brothers & sisters?  How many of each/names?
10. What's their favorite animal?
11. What do they wish for?
12. What do they want to be when they're older?
13. What are they afraid of?
14. What embarrasses them?
15. What makes them happiest? 
16. List 5 good things about them.
17. List 5 of their worst traits.
18. Where do they live?
19. Where do they wish they could travel to?
20. If they could take back one instance in their life, what would it be?  What do they regret most? 


In the comments mention one new thing you learned about one of your characters.  (Fill the rest of the character sheets out on your own. I promise it's really fun to do! :) )  Don't forget to see Patti's lesson too.  You guys are so lucky! :)

Patti Larsen’s Guest Lesson: Sensory Writing

First, let me say a MASSIVE thank you to Jenni for letting me be a part of this amazing process! I love teaching, sharing, imparting, expounding, explaining… you get the point, right? I’ll slap a bit more about me and who I am at the end of this post but for now I’m too excited and want to get going. Don’t you?

Today’s lesson is all about writing from a sensory point of view. We have five, after all and, if you believe in such things or even write about them (hello paranormal!) six.

Like Jenni, I’ve posted the majority of the lesson in the video below:

Example One—Fresco, Chapter Two


Fresco stood on the sidewalk and watched as Justin’s truck drove past into the intersection, hitting another car. The two vehicles spun toward the curb, locked together.

Using Senses:

Fresco had a heartbeat to register he now stood on the sidewalk next to the stop sign. The sun beamed down on him, warming his face. The world was silent, a jolting change from the blaring music. Justin’s black truck roared past in the next breath, careened into the intersection, t-boned by the blue sedan. The impact rippled the air, rushing over, through and past him in a shockwave. He felt it before he heard metal shriek and clash, the deep thrum of humming tires, the sharp bellow of shattering safety glass, the thrum of releasing airbags. The two vehicles melded together with enough force to spin them 180 degrees and come to a screeching halt against the opposite curb. Smoke billowed from the front of the blue car, bits of yellow and red plastic scattered as though tossed with casual disdain. Something within the crippled four-door hissed and sputtered its way down to death, its bonnet compressed, embedded in the passenger side of Justin’s four by four. The truck bent inward where the cab met the box but appeared almost intact compared to the crumpled mess of the family midsize.

This example is obvious and out there, the descriptions fleshed out and drawing on all the senses.

Example Two—Curiosities, Inc, Chapter Four 


Danny walked in the front door.

“Gram?” No answer. Relieved she wouldn’t have to make small talk, Danny headed for the kitchen.

Using Senses:
Danny stepped into the cool, musty quiet of the front hall and closed the heavy door behind her. She kicked off her sneakers, piling them in an untidy heap on the mat by the door. She thought she heard quiet voices talking, but couldn’t tell from where.
“Gram?” She called upstairs. The voices fell silent. Come to think of it, the house felt empty, still. She was pretty sure she was alone. No answer from her grandmother, anyway. Relieved that she wouldn’t be forced to make small talk and lie about how great her day was and passing off the voices as the murmurs of the old house, she drifted through the front living room.

Here, the example is more subtle. Cool implies physical feeling of temperature. Musty speaks to scent and quiet to hearing. Three simple words tell the reader volumes without having to go to deeply into description. Can you spot the rest?

Example Three—Henry


The town sign read Avlin, Texas, pop. 967. Viviana paused there for a moment before driving on.

Using Senses:

The neglected town sign emerged from the rippling heat. Avlin, Texas, pop. 968. No, sixty-seven. The eight was crossed off.

Viviana paused there, far from the interstate, from civilization really, all tumbleweeds and cacti in the Texas sunshine. She dabbed perspiration from her upper lip with a delicate handkerchief, cursing the rental agent who swore the car had air conditioning. Such curses were not to be taken lightly. That false young man would suffer a whole year of hurt because he tried to pull one over on an old lady.

Viviana popped a freshly pickled eyeball into her mouth and hit the gas.

Is it making sense (no pun intended!) to you now?

Now that you’ve seen the examples, ask yourself: are the differences obvious? Which connects you better to the characters, the scene, the story? Is it better to use sensory writing or worse? Is there such a thing as too much sensory writing? Can you go overboard?

Of course! There’s no need to use this type of writing for all five (six) senses in every scene. Choose the one (or two) that makes the most impact on the story. And play with it. Vision isn’t always the best choice, for example.

Using sensory writing will add great depth and vibrancy to your writing. And it’s fun!

Homework HOMEFUN ASSIGNMENT (remember for everyone who comments, there will be a contest later): 

Read the following sentence:

Mary sat in her chair and waited.

Plain, ordinary and boring, right? Okay, here’s your assignment! Layer on the sensory writing! What is she smelling? Tasting? What does the chair feel like? What can she hear? Is she a telepath? Go WAY over the top with this adding as much sensory writing to it as you possibly can. I want to feel like I’m right there next to her.

Now, pare it back. Which are the most important ones to her particular story? What can you cut out and still get across the tale you’re telling? Play around with adding the unusual because it can lead you places in your writing you never expected. Have fun!


Oh and I promised a little about me… I’m a mainly YA author of paranormal and dark urban fantasy, though I dabble in adult thrillers as well. I have several books coming out over the next six months, the first of which is Fresco with Etopia Press. The sequels are right on it’s heels! I also have a YA paranormal series, the Hayle Coven novels, signed with Etopia, a middle grade novel coming Spring 2012 with Acorn Press and an adult/YA crossover thriller called Best Friends Forever also with Etopia. I teach a writing structure workshop, Get Your Book Done 101 and when I’m not writing I’m thinking about it.

You can find me at where I write about my favorite subject—writing. And at where I write about my second favorite subject—my novels.

Twitter I’m @PattiLarsen
Facebook you can find me at

Psst... Isn't she amazing?  Thank you Patti for stopping by.  You so rock! :) --Jenni


  1. SO EXCITED to be here! Thanks Jenni! Looking forward to hearing from everyone! :)

  2. Hi :) love these lessions

    Patti's homefun assignment -
    I think I did it wrong and instead kinda carried on the story (oops) but I should post it anyway -

    Mary sat in her chair and waited.

    She shifted slightly on the uncomfortable seat, and placed her hands underneath her thighs. The warm, sick, clean smell of the doctors filled her as she breathed in through her nose. She could almost taste the unbearable cleanness of the doctors office on her taste-buds. She could hear her mothers sniffles and her fathers voice agreeing with the doctor behind the door that was in front of Mary.

    She looked up and down the sickly yellow coloured corridor which lead down to the exit. She thought about walking out, escaping, running away, but instead she stayed in the uncomfortable chair with her hands under her thighs. Running away would make them think she was even more crazy that they already did. 

    Mary turned to her left - to where he sat. The sweet smell of oranges filled Mary's lungs as she look in his brown just-rolled-out-of-bed hair and bright electrifying eyes. He turned to her and instantly smirked when he saw that she was staring at him again with her deep green eyes. 

    "How could anyone say he isn't real?" she asked herself. "He's sat right next to me for gods sake! I can smell him, touch him, see him! And yet they say he's not here - that he's not real!" she added.

    "I'm not crazy" she whisper to herself so no one could hear.
    "You're not crazy," He confirmed by whispering lightly in my ear.

    Then the door opened, and her parents walked out with the doctor following them, each with grim looks on the faces.

    Jenni's homefun assignment -

    I learned that my charater likes sheep :) cause they were fluffy and cite and she used to spend her childhood with her grandad on his farm with the sheep following her about in the fields :)

  3. Hi! Loved both the lessons! I'll definitley be using that sheet!
    Mary sat on the cool metal of the chair as she stared at the stark wall in front of her. In fact anywhere she stared would be stark white. People in white were constantly walking past, paying no attention to the girl. A scream sounded above the footsteps and Mary flinched. She took in a deep breath, the smell of blood and medicine filling her nose. She cringed but continued to sit there, waiting. IT wasn't long however for a cool breeze to blush against her skin and her head turned, they were finally coming. The ghosts.

    Hope that was good!

  4. Ok here I go:
    For Patti:

    original sentence:
    Mary sat in her chair and waited.

    Sensory version:
    Mary darted her eyes from left to right, a bead of sweat on her temple. In the distance she could hear her parents talking to the doctor, but she couldn’t make out the words or the outcome. The only other thing in the room making notice is the ticking of the clock, which only made her remember why she was here. She didn’t dare speak, the back of her throat pulsed with the same fast pace rhythm as her heart. The chair was hard, cold, reminding all of it’s occupants of the reason for they’re trip. She wondered how many other singers had sat in this car before her, terrified. Her phone vibrated in her pocket, another get-well message. She closed her eyes and the doctor came out. She took one look at his too-young face and knew.

    For Jenni:
    (funny story btw)
    Something I found out about my character, Tyler, is his worst fear is being truly alone, and when he’s older, if he can’t make it as a proffesional athlete, he wants to be a school guidance consoler.

  5. Mary sat in her chair and waited

    Biting her tongue from nerve's, the awful taste of blood ran through her mouth. Mary had been surprised when the doctors left her alone. Thinking about why she was here, she moved her hand down her arm feeling the scars. She felt her nails snag on a scar, she continued to pick at it. She didn't feel anything as she was making her scar bleed again. The doctor came in to check on Mary, screaming at the sight. Mary did notice anything,but the feeling of liquid running down her arm.

    I realized Tim is a hoo

  6. @wishartm trust me, you can't do the assignment wrong! :) I loved that you started with the sentence and moved on... It really added a starkness to the beginning. Fantastic! That's actually a tool you can take advantage of--start with a basic sentence and proceed to fill it in afterward with sensory writing--bravo!

    And I loved where you were going... is this based on a character you're working with? If not, it should be! Great premise--and you really took the lesson and applied it well.

    @havygirl that was great! You really took advantage of the lesson. The stark whiteness almost becomes a character in itself and the ghosts... shudder! :) Does your version of Mary interact with ghosts much? Hmm... wonder what that conversation would sound like... and the goosbumps that would crawl from the tops of her feet to the roots of her hair... :) Excellent job.

    @Tess This was excellent--all that sensory writing really drew me in to Mary's fears and anxiety--and how she wasn't able to do anything about it.

    Keep up the fantastic writing!

  7. Jeni's homefun assignment:::
    I learned that my characters enjoy controlling the story. Once, for some reason, one of my characters decided that he should become a vampire.

    Patti's assignment:::
    Mary's eyes darted from the door to the door leading into Surgery. Her heart pounded nosily against her chest and she new that at least one person in the room could hear it. The door to surgery opened.
    "Mrs. MacEntire?" She sighed. It wasn't for her. Mary wanted to become Pretty an be immune to the Disease, but maybe, she wanted to be different than the rest.

  8. YAY! Isn't Patti awesome? :)

    @wish.. aww, I love that back story! AWESOME! Sheep are so cute. (great job on patti's assignment too! you rock!)

    @havygirl... Yay! Glad you'll be using the sheet. It soo works, I promise. :) Eeep. And I LOVE ghosts!

    @Tess.. aww, I love Tyler! And a guidance counselor is so cool! I love his back story. :) And hehehe! Glad you loved the funny story. As you can tell, I couldn't stop laughing. Lol!

    @Brightlights... eep. your sensory is scary! And tim's a player huh? Well, it's a good thing you figured that out now! lol!

    Thanks everyone. These are so cool!


  9. @Anna... Lol! Vampires can be very fun! *grins* Though watch it, they bite too. Lol!

  10. @Jeni My character, Marissa, is a vampire. Peter and her went on a date, and the next thing I know BAM he's a vamp. XD

  11. @Anna great job! Hmm... she's a vampire. I wonder what the inside of her mouth tastes like after she eats? Is she hungry? Can she sense things around her? Surgery... oohh, so creepy! And intriguing... the Disease... great start--now I need to know what happens beyond those doors! Nice work, Anna!

  12. @Jenni Movies are what makes Classandra (My character) the happiest person alive =] Nice story by the way, funniest thing I've heard in days!

    @Patti Mary sat in her chair and waited. The smell of fresh, home-made bread wafted through the cosy air. She glanced around at the colourful cakes that surrounded her. She just wanted to pluck a frosted treat from the silver stand, to eat. But that would be stealing... And Mary did not want to go though that again.
    Mary closed her eyes and pictured the sugary delight. The colours seemed brighter in her imagination, she could almost taste it. The softness of the pastry, the explosion of sweetness when she would bite into the chocolate. Her mouth-watered at the thought of eating it.

    How was that? I read through the comments and most of them were dark like your writing or at the doctors... I guess I wanted to do something different and lighter.

    @Jenni and @Patti Thanks for the great lessons, they were awesome and helpful!

  13. @BrIgHtLiGhTs21 OMG forgive me--I must have been typing and missed your post!

    OOOhhhh, girl! Nice nice visuals... excellent! Especially since she is so detached from it... hmm... I wonder what the room smelled like when she became aware of what she was doing? Coppery and sharp... ew! LOVE it! :)

  14. @Amelia--LOL! I know about the dark... and I wonder if I influenced that by my poor Todd story... ;) Fantastic sensory writing, I could almost taste the cake. Softness, great touch word, nice subtlety but adds so much... excellent!

  15. @Patti Thanks, I kinda like the idea of her not feeling pain, so she tries to inflict pain upon herself.

    @Jenni I know, I made him so sweet :( I just decided it was for the best with him.

  16. @Jenni I was cracking up to, you're not alone. :P I'm so glad you like Tyler. And trust me, there's WAY more background on why he's so afraid of loneliness........ (Although when I'm reading, I hate them, I love writing clif hangers.)

    @Patti I would've never though this was your first time on this website. Thanks for the feedback. I love how you gave us one simple sentence and there are so many end products are so different. I loved writing about Mary. Maybe I'll continue with her................ and if so, thanks for getting me started with her. :)

  17. @Tess--I hope you do! I love how characters come out of nowhere, like you just met them in the hall and they are right in front of you, fully formed--you just have to talk to them and listen to find out what story they have to tell! :)

    And yes, I agree--I love how everyone is putting such a great spin on such a simple sentence!

  18. Great lessons! Far my favourite, I've been waiting desperately for character Development! So excited to have another author in the classroom (not that your not enough, Jenni! You rock!).

    Anyway, Patti's Homefun Assignment:

    The smell of burning rubber hit Mary first as she sat, her aching back cushioned by comfortable leather, in her favourite chair. By the window lay her cat, his tongue lapping at the sticky fur on its legs. Mary couldn't bring herself to stand up as she heard a soft crying upstairs; her daughter obviously craving more attention. With her leg carefully propped up on the coffee table, she let her eyes flutter then fell into a dreamless sleep.

    Jenni's Homefun Assignment! ;

    I actually do the development chart on at least two or three of my main characters before starting my story, so nothing much surprises me :)Even though I'm sure there is so much more I dont know about my characters, so your chart helped me a lot.

    Cant wait for your next lesson!

    And Patti - thanks for coming into our classroom! It was a nice twist! Hope to be hearing more of your published books soon :D

  19. @Chloe, oohhh... nice! So much here that begs questions and leads the reader to want more... burning rubber? Sticky cat legs? Crying children? And a weary mother with her feet up... do TELL!! Great job!

  20. Great lesson once again! Both of them were fantastic!

    Jenni's homefun assignment:

    I learned that my character Kaitlin has a fear of birds xD

    Patti's homefun assignment:

    Her heart beat loudly within her chest, as the thumping noise mingled with the sound of the incessant ticking of the clock. The leather of the chair she was sitting on annoying stuck to her pale skin as tiny beads of sweat formed on her legs.

    Faintly, she could hear the voices of people approaching the door, causing anxiety to take over her body. She began tapping her foot to the pitter patter of the now falling raindrops, as dew formed on the window.

    The smell of the exaughst from cars outside intertwined with the smell of the burning food of the kitchen made her wrinkle her nose in disgust.

    And suddenly the door opened with a bang, and Mary was given news she wished she'd never heard.

    Thanks again for these great lessons!

  21. @Brightlights... I know, sometimes we have to add those qualities, but it makes the book so much more real in the end. :)

    @Tess... it IS a funny story. My lil happy spot. LOL! oooh... I like cliffhangers too. :P

    @Chloe Yay! I'm glad you loved Patti. Doesn't she so rock? Seriously. :)

    @Soccerstar... So glad you found the class! And great way to catch up to us! :) Birds? Birds... eep. my mom is afraid of birds.


  22. @soccerstar, fantastic! Way to use all those senses. Burning food? Tapping feet and beads of sweat? Doors opening with a bang? Great set up--nice job!

  23. Pattis home fun assignment:
    Mary sat in a chair and waited
    *Mary walked into the room tentitavly and winced as the putrid smell of staleness and mold hit her in the face. She walked across the tiled floor, her heels clacking loudly. She reached the kitchen and pursed her lips, it was empty. She made her way through the house, each room just as empty as the last. Then she came to the last room, where the smell seemed to be coming from and opened the door. She screamed out loud and covered her eyes. The sight was horrible. Her neighbors body was slaughtered an the limbs hanging uselessly and at awkward and unnatural angles. She slammed the door quickly, dialing 911 at the same time and made her way to the front room. She sat on one of the over stuffed, plush chairs that were covered with plastic and waited for the police. Which hopefully would be there soon.

    Jennies home fun:
    My character hates sushi because the smell makes her sick and she hates the way the sushi wraps around the other food
    **weird I know but I like it :)

  24. @hartlei, EEEP!!! WOW, dead neighbors! Great way to make use of those senses... love the overstuffed chairs in plastic--classic! Nice job!

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Firstly, I really enjoyed these two lessons! Both were helpful in their different ways, though the second perhaps dealt more with a particular struggle of mine.
    Now, pertaining to the first part, I actually tend to create a story around a character. What I mean is that I usually think up a character and after I'm totally enthralled with their being, I just have to know what their life story is and the story is weaved about them from there.
    As for the second, as mentioned above, dealing with the senses for descriptions is something I know to be necessary but am always seeming to leave out. Part of the reason may be a result of a personal deficit when it comes to using any sense beyond touch and sight. Thus I seem to focus on both (Though usually just one) of the two...However now that it has been brought back to the forefront of my mind, I will be more conscious for later and more knowledgable about a specific aspect to edit. Thanks!

    Now, on to the second Homefun Assignment!:
    The wood was rough beneath the soft skin of Mary's hands, but she'd rather have a splinter she could see than to have one behind her knees. Still, she swung her legs back and forth as she waited in the Florida heat and humidity for her older sister. Taking a deep, despairing breath the smell of gasoline flooded her senses, almost overcoming the background noise of the people walking past her resolute post, the chime of the metal door as it swung upon its hinges over and over again, and the revving of the engines as they started back up and peeled out of the lot. Closing her eyes to block out the too bright sun and ward off her developing headache, Mary wished again that her sister would hurry up!

  27. @~kuualoha~ I know exactly what you mean. There was a time when I also struggled with this and found myself doing it in edits instead of while I was in create mode. The trick to it is practice. The more you write in sensory the more it becomes natural. And as much as I don't want to encourage you to write deliberately (your creative brain and your logical brain should never cross paths when you're writing new material) the more you include sensory, the more will show up. I find it works the same for editing as well--things I wasn't aware of before that have been pointed out to me by my editor I now no longer have as an issue. That's the fantastic part about this career--you never, ever stop learning and as long as you are willing, your writing can only improve.

    Now, on to your lesson--fantastic. Great job including the senses, love the images, felt like I was there with her. Keep up the good work! :)

  28. @hartlei... Lol! I hate sushi too. I think me and your character would get along well I think. ;)

    @kuualoha... Wow! that's the perfect way to develop a character! Once they're more real than you are, they become so much easier to write. :)


  29. Jenni's assignment: i found out that my character Abby is the antisocial type

    Patti's assignment:

    Mary sat in the chair. The nurse came out and called for a patient. " Mrs. Smith " the nurse said loudly. Mary squirmed. She hated the doctor's office. She would just have to wait.

  30. @shugarkitty that nurse! so loud... ;) I feel annoyed by her already... perfect! And Mary squirming... I wonder what the chair felt like under her when she did? Be nice if she had a distraction while she waited maybe... a chocolate bar she sneaks a bite of that makes her cheeks tingle... waiting suck! Great job!

  31. Patti Larsen's Homefun.

    Original Sentence:
    Mary sat in her chair and waited.

    Mary was sitting at her favorite coffee shop. As she sat in her chair at Starbuck's she watched everyone walk past her. Everyone was doing their own thing. Reading their daily newspaper to reading a book even to sitting at a table on their laptop on their favorite website's. I took a sip of my coffee and let the rich caramel and whip cream dance around my tongue. I closed my eyes and sighed of pure joy. I heard someone call out my name so I opened up my eyes to see Carry walking towards me with a huge smile on her face. As she sat down she excitedly said, "Guess what?"

    I let out a small chuckle, "What is it Carry?"

    "I have a date with this oh so amazing hottie!" She exclaimed quickly.

    "So what's his name?" I asked as a smile slipped across my lips.

    She bit her lip as she said, "His name is Devin. Devin Ortega."

    "When is your date?" I asked Carry.

    Her face brightened up, "Tomorrow at 7PM."

  32. @iwuvjalepino mmmm... I can taste (and smell) the caramel coffee... and being in a coffee shop implies so much sensory input--the sounds of voices, the sight of such a variety of people, smells, tastes and even touch as customers brush past you... great job! Now I need to know about the date... and who Mary is to 'you'!

  33. @Chole, what's your development chart like?

  34. I saw the other dates and I feel so late :(
    Jenni's assignment: I learned that my "I-hate-the-world-character" didn't hate the world after all :\ He just hates his parents and they control everything in his world so he just likes being out of sight.

    Patti's assignment (Clever! My mouth was drooling with all the possibilities!): I don't know how long I've been sitting here but I know it's way too long. The hard metal was slick with sweat and my skin was starting to stick. I could still taste the bitter aftertaste of chocolate cake in my mouth, the reason I was even in this mess.
    There was a buzzing in my ears that even the ticking of the clock couldn't block out. I held my breath. It filled my head and I thought it was going to drive me insane!
    Tick, tock. Bzzzzzz.
    Nothing that even resembled the "" of my initial in code that meant everything would be alright. I even started to wonder if that little brat who brought me here even told the gang I got caught.
    Tick tock.
    WHERE IS THIS TICKING EVEN COMING FROM?! There's no clock on the mottled gray walls and definitely not on this metal chair.
    The invisible clock, the buzzing in my head, and the flickering light bulb worked in harmony to drive me of the edge of insanity.
    I'd like to see even Jay get me out of this one.
    (Sorry, I got a bit carried away.. Jay's a character of mine who leads a group of kids living on the streets)

  35. @Star_Catcher37 that's fabulous! Love the exploration of the environment from a 'where am I' point of view, the edges of insanity fear.... Very well done! :)

  36. Mary shifted in the uncomfortable wooden chair. Her palms were slick with sweat. She could feel her breath turn into choppy gasps as her eyes darted back and forth, up and down. Still no sign of life.

    The old room was dusty, and it was obvious no one had been in this room for some time. Silence to her ears couldn't have been louder. The tantalizing aroma of coffee and donuts lingered into the room and stayed at the end of her nostrils. Her mouth watered.

    Hushed voices came from the room next door. Mary could tell they were talking about her. She stayed quiet. There was no point. No matter how much she screamed or inspected the room, there was no escape. It was only her, and the annoying clicks of the clock.

  37. @LuvsMusic Wicked job! Great sensory use here... I'm hungry too! (love the smell of coffee) Nice tension, leads the reader to want to know what's next... fantastic!

  38. Jenni: ( I don't really have a story written up yet but I used one of my role play characters) My Character Anastasia has a obsessive trait over boys she likes......yeah

    I could barely hear anything, except for the music that is blaring through the speakers in the house, making it impossible to hear my best friend, Lori. She kept on trying to hand me her beer, but I was the Safe driver tonight. She shifted in the uncomfortable seat she is sitting, or in other words, the only seat left in the house.
    I felt so nervous, one drink couldn't be so bad, right? I felt my heart beat in my throat, and it was in rhythm with the beat of the music. Thump. Thump. thump. thump. thump. It was so fast, I needed to calm down, I grabbed for the cold beer glass from Lori and took a big swig from it. It tasted so disgusting, I immediately spit it out, I felt sick. I looked at everyone in the room, they were laughing, even Lori! I felt betrayed, I felt the tears running down my cheeks, I can hear the laughter over the music, how can that be? It was way to loud to even hear someone scream! Maybe it's the voice in the back my head. I wiped away the tears, and screamed. I was trying to drown out the laughter, I kept on screaming, and I didn't take a breathe when I ran out of air. I feel really dizzy, my vision starts to be clouded by black spots. I finally passed out after hear Lori Scream my name.

    1. Great job, @haileyj2mae! Full of sensory descriptive, lots of feeling, seeing, hearing, etc. Fantastic lead-in to a book... ;) Nice work!

  39. Yeah, it's 2013, and I don't know if this will still be read. :)
    [Mary sat in her chair and waited.]
    Mary could feel her eyelids become heavier with each blink. She straightened her spine and leaned further back into the wooden chair, producing a loud creak in the silent room. At this point in time, she could hear the clear ringing in her ears, her skin was three degrees hotter, and the air was so thick with dread that it wouldn't get past all the passages leading to her lungs.
    The sudden chime of bells from a distance made her shiver, despite the heat in the room. This shiver was one of fear-her master would be coming any moment now. Realizing this, she bit her lower lip with all her strength, counting the seconds before he would arrive.
    One, two, three. Her breathing became even shallower, as if the air refused to bring her any comfort.
    Four, five, six, seven, eight. She began fidgeting, trying to break the chains that bound her hands to the back of the chair. She could feel the cool metal kissing her warm wrists, causing her to shiver once more.
    Nine-- Footsteps. Heavy and slow, as if the person enjoyed the suspense. A crescendo... He was coming. Her palms became slick with sweat, and so did her forehead, and all she could do was close her eyes and wait... She no longer felt sleepy, as if sleeping would bring her much closer to death. She lost count of the chimes.
    The door suddenly slammed open, making her bow her head and apply more pressure to her lip. Her eyes were tightly shut, and she waited. It was torture.
    "Happy to see me?" he asked, and she could hear the grin in his voice. "Let the fun begin."

    1. Awesome! What a fabulous opening--to something... you hit it precisely, Teri--a wonderful example of showing through sensory writing. Excellent job :)

  40. Mary fidgeted in her chair, heart pounding faster by the second. The fact that her eyes wouldn't adjust properly to the dim lighting was on the least of her worries right now. Looking around, she could almost taste the nervousness that came from every teen in the room. Her stomach was being trampled by an elephant.
    The door creaked open, and the judges walked back in. The silence that followed was almost deafening. The only sound she could hear was the ringing in her ears, the nervous breathing of the contestant next to her, and the rustling of papers as one judge cleared her throat.
    "We were all very impressed with your performances,"she began, trying to lighten the mood by cracking a smile. "But unfortunately, there can only be one US champion."
    Mary's heart dropped. The heat was suddenly unbearable, and the sweat that dripped from her palms was staining the soft blue fabric of her dress.
    Only one thing was keeping her from screaming in frustration and running out the door - hope.
    Scanning the crowd, the judge asked,"May all the contestants come on stage to receive their awards?"
    There was only one award that everyone cared about - the gold medal that would proclaim them the best pianist in the US from the ages of 13-15. The others were comfort medals.
    They first announced the participant awards - Mary was relieved to find that her name hadn't been called. One girl started crying - and, though she didn't know how it was possible - the nervousness rate increased.
    Everything passed in a blur. Mary listened carefully, expecting her name to be called, and every time it didn't, her hope grew.
    There were only three people left.
    One girl smirked at Mary, lifting her chin. She was sure she was going to win.
    The ringing in Mary's ears grew louder.
    "In 3rd place, we have... Albert Chen."
    The boy groaned and snagged his medal, slinging it around his neck.
    "In 2nd place..."
    Mary eyed the girl.
    "Lacey Drake."
    The girl glowered and reached forward to accept her medal.
    "And, the best pianist in the US, from the ages of 13-15, we have... Mary Stewart!"
    As if she was glowing, Mary bent her head as the judge placed the medal around her neck. Her mom cheered loudly above the applause.
    The room was brightening. A sweet smell wafted through the crowd and managed to find itself in Mary's nose.
    She inhaled deeply.
    The crowd was going crazy - even the girl was clappping begrudgingly, staring down at the glinting silver medal draped around her neck.
    She had won.
    Mary had won.

    1. Nicely done! And a complete story, at that--excellent job :)

  41. Hi Mis. Jenni & now Miss. Patti! I love this lesson! It was so fun!!! As for the Homefun assignments, well...
    Miss. Jenni- I found out that my tough and strong Sasha, my main character, wishes that someone will fall in love with her! I. Was. Shocked. I NEVER knew she was going to be a romantic! And now I think I'll incorporate that in my story! So Thanks!

    Now for Miss. Patti! Well here goes nothing...

    Mary sat in her chair and waited. And waited, and waited. She dimly heard the ticking of the clock as each second passed. She barely noticed the coarse wood beneath her, no doubt leaving splinters. No, all she registered were the words, " Your child has been kidnapped." How could her milk-powder smelling little girl be missing. With her gurgling laugh and carefree ways! No not her!
    Clara felt a warm, and slightly damp hand rest on her shoulder. Looking up she say Matt. Her best-friend and a sort-of adoptive father. It wasn't until he asked if she was okay that she realized she was crying.
    Her fat, sticky tears were running down her face mixing with her mascara and for once Clara didn't care. Not one bit.

    Okay usually I don't write such sad stories ( it isn't even a story I'm writing! ) but I was reading a book and so that's what made me write this! I hope it's okay!

    1. It's wonderful, Tanya! Excellent use of sensory writing :) Well done!

  42. To Jenni James, I had just finish the Sheet, and I learned thing of my character that I haven't already. I also must say, I love your fairy tales on wattpad! I adore them! Thank you for these lessons because with out you I most likely will fail miserably in my first book that I won't delete after a month of not writing. I set my heart to finish and this is helping me so much.

    To Patti Larson. Well here goes nothing.

    Karen looked up at Tristan. She can smell his after shave, and peppermint tooth paste. Or was it her own breath she smelled. Not caring, she stood still, frozen in spot as he leaned closer. Her first ever kiss, going to a boy who she hates with all her guts. What was the world coming to? She tried to step back, but got caught in her silk sleeping gown. She felt the warm touch of his hands at her waist, and have him pull her closer, and fall on him. They fell to the rough carpet.
    "I'm so sorry" she said breathlessly. Could any thing possibly get worse? She thought then realized she was straddling him. Yes, she thought, answering her own question, yes it could.

    She felt his shirt ride up as he went and lend on his elbows. She looked at his arms and drooled slightly. His arms where the most amazing arms she's ever seen. Looking at his eyes, she moaned.

    Out loud.

    she felt blood rise to her cheeks as she got up, only to me pulled back down by those glorious arms.

    And she felt his pink devilish lips smash upon her own. She moaned, but she did not use tongue. A gentleman.

    She then knew that it was his breath that smelled of peppermint, but his lips tasted of honey. sweet oh sweet honey.

    Her heart beat so fast it made her worried for her health, but all worries and thoughts went away as she continued to kiss the hottie with the million dollar body.

    Pushing away, she breathed heavily and stared into his beautiful grey eyes. She felt the warmth of his breath on her face, and he with her's.

    "Now this is unexpected." Said a voice, making them snap their head to she her brother, and his best friend grinning while shoving popcorn in his mouth.

    Oh lord, help her.


    I hope this is good enough, or at least considered good. :)


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  44. Mary sat in her chair and waited

    The cold metal chair underneath her made her back stiff in coldness. If only her mother had chosen another room, one with less darkness in it.
    She could hear them talk behind the thick closed metal door, words that she didn't understand were whispered through the long hall. Words that she so desperately wanted to understand, but it didn't matter how hard she tried, they were spoken in a foreign language.
    She sighed and closed her eyes while leaning back at the chair, her body getting used to the coldness.
    That's when she noticed the smell. The strong smell of oranges burned her nostrils. Like if someone just had sprayed perfume in her face, she frowned and tried to shake it away but failed.
    Why does this room, this dark-metallic room smell like oranges? She curiously wondered.
    "Mary. We're done." The strong, bright voice of the woman calling her name made her almost jump up in surprise.

  45. The Dean's office was small. The dark wood paneling and low ambient lighting emanating from the small green desk lamp certainly didn't help. This room is just crying for a makeover, Mary thought as she surveyed her surroundings. The battered bookshelves on the far west wall slumped sadly under the weight of the ancient tomes it endeavored to house. Thick patches of dust blanketed the trinkets and ornaments scattered haphazardly throughout the room. Crooked frames-wilted and cracked from years of exposure to the afternoon sun-clung desperately to the walls, displaying faded diplomas and other accolades that even the recipient had long since forgotten. A large hooked rug, tattered and unraveling in several spots, ran the length of the floor.
    Mary sighed heavily as she sank back against the Stickley chair-which was also dark. The soft tang of leather, burnished oils and old books drifted in waves around her as the breeze from the open window stirred the air.
    A stately Grandfather clock stood sentry in the far corner behind the antique oak desk. Mary folded her hands in her lap and closed her eyes as she waited for the Dean to appear.


Tell it like it is! :)